Is social media evolving into an antisocial medium? Days after one of its former execs argued that the answer is yes, Facebook published a post addressing the issue.
“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” Chamath Palihapitiya, who once served as vice president for growth at Facebook, told an audience at the Stanford Graduate School of Business last week.
“The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he maintained.
There is a lack of civil discourse and cooperation on social media, as well as widespread distribution of misinformation and mistruth, according to Palihapitiya.
Good and Bad Social Media
“According to the research, it really comes down to how you use the technology,” they said.
“For example, on social media, you can passively scroll through posts, much like watching TV, or actively interact with friends — messaging and commenting on each other’s posts,” Ginsberg and Burke pointed out.
“Just like in person, interacting with people you care about can be beneficial, while simply watching others from the sidelines may make you feel worse,” they explained.
Wellness Through Better New Feeds
For example, it has started demoting clickbait headlines and false news, and prioritizing posts from people users care about to foster more meaningful interactions and reduce passive consumption of low-quality content.
It also added a “snooze” feature allowing users to hide posts from a person, group or page for 30 days.
Facebook has invested US$1 million toward research to better understand the relationship between media technologies, youth development and well-being, they added.
Still, “it’s a sign their awareness of bad PR has started to rise,” he told TechNewsWorld,.
“Many people think these steps are largely cosmetic. I don’t see a lot of newfound enlightenment in Mark Zuckerberg these days”, Carroll added. “He’s in a position of influence and importance in the world that he doesn’t want to face up to”.
Two Sides to Interaction
“It can extend out social interactions to times and places when we wouldn’t otherwise be able to interact with each other,” she told TechNewsWorld.
“Usually to interact with people, you need to be in proximity to each other,” North explained. “Social media allows us to be together even when we are physically apart.”
However, social media interaction differs from proximity interaction because it’s done through a device and involves content creation.
“That can interfere with people interacting more personally,” North said.
Avoiding Social Media Blues
There is a connection between increased depressive symptoms and the increased proportion of social media friends you don’t know in real life to those you do know, he noted.
“We also found that your mental health is better if you report that a higher proportion of your friends is what you would consider ‘close’ friends,” Primack told TechNewsWorld.
Limiting the number of social platforms you participate in can be beneficial, as the number of platforms a person uses can be a predictor of poor mental health, he observed.
Establish strict guidelines for when and where you use social media, may be helpful, Primack ventured.