COPENHAGEN (Web Desk) – Facebook can make users ‘lonely and angry’ because they are constantly comparing themselves to other people’s seemingly perfect lives, a new study has found.
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Checking the social networking site provides members with instant gratification in the form of ‘likes’ and friend requests – but it also gives an artificial impression that others are happier than they are, researchers have claimed.
Denmark’s Happiness Research Institute conducted an experiment on 1,095 people in Denmark, who gave an average ranking of their current state of happiness at 7.6 out of ten.
They then asked half of them to stop using Facebook for one week, and the other half to continue as normal.
After seven days, those who had not logged onto the site reported their happiness at 8.12 out of ten, while for those had, their happiness remained unchanged, the Mail Online reported.
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Those deprived of Facebook also reported an increase in real-world social activity and were significantly less angry and lonely than the Facebook users, researchers said.
Happiness Research Institute CEO Meik Wiking said that the experiment’s results were ‘largely down to people’s tendency to compare themselves to others’.
He added: “Facebook distorts our perception of reality and of what other people’s lives really look like. We take in to account how we’re doing in life through comparisons to everyone else, and since most people only post positive things on Facebook, that gives us a very biased perception of reality.
“If we are constantly exposed to great news, we risk evaluating our own lives as less good.”
Mr Wiking likened Facebook to ‘a non-stop good news channel that paints false pictures of edited lives’.
He said: “I hope that the experiment’s results will get people to think about their own Facebook use, or to at least remember that not everything is as it seems within one’s news feed.
“There can also be positive benefits from Facebook and social media, but I think the thing to always be aware of is the effect it has on our perception of reality.
“This constant flow of great news we see on Facebook only represents the top 10 percent of things that happen to other people. It shouldn’t be used as the background for evaluating our own lives.”