In Brief

Facebook’s cure for social media ills? More Facebook

Online giant says posting more can improve low moods

Facebook has finally admitted that social media can harm mental health - but suggests that its two billion users can improve their well-being by posting more updates and comments on its site.

Studies “have raised concerns that intense use of social media is linked to depression, low self-esteem and feelings of isolation, particularly among the young”, The Times says.

In November, former Facebook vice-president Chamath Palihapitiya told students at Stanford Business School: “It is at a point now where we have created tools which are ripping apart the fabric of how society works - that is truly where we are.”

Facebook has been reluctant to admit a link between the platform and psychological harm. But in an article entitled Hard Questions, the company has acknowledged that there is scientific research linking social media to a negative impact on well-being. Facebook users who watched their friends’ status updates “from the sidelines” might suffer low moods, the social media giant admits.

Facebook argues, however, that social media users could be happier if they become more engaged with content in their news feed, rather than just “reading but not interacting with people” .

Technology website Recode’s Kurt Wagner says Facebook is walking a fine line: “Telling everyone that using social media makes people feel bad is potentially terrible business. Which is why Facebook is simultaneously pushing its solution: More, better Facebook!”

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