Facebook Related to Positive Well-Being, New Study Says

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Contrary to popular belief, new research from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII) suggests that Facebook use is linked to positive well-being. 

Co-author Andrew Przybylski explains, “We examined the best available data carefully – and found they did not support the idea that Facebook membership is related to harm, quite the opposite. In fact, our analysis indicates Facebook is possibly related to positive well-being.”

The data was collected from Meta, Facebook’s parent company, from 2008 to 2019 when the social media platform exploded in use globally. After examining three markers of well-being across 72 countries, the researchers concluded that, “In sum, then, for the average country in our sample, Facebook adoption positively predicted well-being. This association describes that all else being equal, years with greater Facebook adoption tended to be those with greater levels of positive experiences for the average country.”

The authors criticize previous research that found Facebook has caused mass psychological harm: “Although reports of negative psychological outcomes associated with social media are common in academic and popular writing, evidence for harms is, on balance, more speculative than conclusive.”

Co-author Matti Vuorre says, “Our findings should help guide the debate surrounding social media towards more empirical research foundations.  We need more transparent collaborative research between independent scientists and the technology industry to better determine how, when and why modern online platforms might be affecting their users.”

1. In your experience, is Facebook (or other social media) use linked to positive or negative well-being? Explain your answer.

2. Do you think social media use is good or bad for society in general? Explain your answer.

3. What (if any) regulations should be put in place to protect young people on social media? Explain your answer(s).

Mack DeGeurin, “Maybe Facebook’s Ruthless Ascent Didn’t Make the World More Depressed, Study Says,” gizmodo.com, Aug. 10, 2023

Andrew Przybylski and Matti Vuorre, “No Evidence Linking Facebook Adoption and Negative Well-Being: Oxford Study,” oii.ox.ac.uk, Aug. 9, 2023

Matti Vuorre and Andrew K. Przybylski, “Estimating the Association between Facebook Adoption and Well-Being in 72 Countries,” royalsocietypublishing.org, Aug. 9, 2023