back to article Facebook confesses: Facebook is bad for you

Facebook has just publicly slapped itself upside the head, admitting that its very existence is often detrimental to the wellbeing of its users. An analysis today from Facebook's research director David Ginsberg and research scientist Moira Burke serves as a mea culpa of sorts from Zuck and Co about the emotional and mental …

  1. elDog Silver badge


    Good for you, El Reg - you got me in your quest to capture my little mouse droppings.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So as people wake up and smell the coffee you tell them about the coffee.


  3. Notas Badoff Silver badge


    So unless you are perfectly well-balanced mentally and with a completely fulfilling life, reading other people's postings who pretend to the above, makes you sad. Umm.... yeah.

    (Kids get taught simple math like 1 + 1 , why aren't they taught simple "life skills" somewhere/somehow? Is introspection akin to Calculus or Topology?)

  4. beep54

    Re: Tweeter-totter

    "Is introspection akin to Calculus or Topology?"

    Topology, most certainly!

  5. Tim Seventh

    Re: Tweeter-totter

    (Kids get taught simple math like 1 + 1 , why aren't they taught simple "life skills" somewhere/somehow?

    It's because both the teachers, the parents and most adults haven't learned them / know them yet.

  6. Lysenko Silver badge

    Facebook is depressing?

    In other news, bears, Popes, woods, Catholicism.

    This isn't about smelling coffee, it's about noticing you've been living next door to a malfunctioning sewage works for a decade.

  7. Mark 110 Silver badge

    Re: Facebook is depressing?

    Have an upvote.

    Its not so much the site is always sewage. Its not. I'm not a very active user but I do get made aware of some stuff going on that I need do something about on there. Bereavements and break ups particularly. Times when People I don't see very often need my support. I also like to be able to say well done on the good stuff.

    Its good that they are implementing some things to help people protect themselves when things go a bit pear shaped. Probably better not to live your life through your computer. Check in once a week not once an hour. But each to their own.

  8. Chris G Silver badge


    My impression from the couple of times I have actually seen a FB page is that everyone seems to be brought down to the lowest common denominator in terms of posting content so I'm not surprised that people feel worse. 10 minutesof moronic drivel is enough for anyone let alone the hours a day that some seem to indulge in.

    Given that FB is social media and the comments section of El Reg could be considered similar, what are the effects of ten minutes of comment reading for most people?

    I don't think I feel worse but that may be the wine.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: LCD

    10 minutes of commentard reading leaves me in a peaceful state of Zen and laughter.

    I as an AC post a combination of stupidity/insight/questions/sarcasm/humour however as I learn daily there is always some bastard smarter and funnier than I could ever hope to be, that said I enjoy my position immensely and have a good laugh.

    When people downvote my opinion I take that as a compliment as it allows me to question myself and whether my opinion is right or wrong. Sometimes I admit I am wrong and accept this. Sometimes I think fuck you. I never take it to heart or feel any disappointment because I know that there are some commentards with a lot more wisdom and experience than myself and there are some idiots, it's all about balance.

  10. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: LCD


    10 minutes of commentard reading leaves me in a peaceful state of Zen and laughter.

    And the beauty of this forum is, @AC could be someone who escapes to over here now and then from FB. Who knows, @AC could be...

    Mark Zuckerberg,

    Stephen Fry,

    Tim Cook...

  11. Mark 110 Silver badge

    Re: LCD

    "I never take it to heart or feel any disappointment because I know that there are some commentards with a lot more wisdom and experience than myself and there are some idiots, it's all about balance."

    The only ones I take to heart are the downvotes just because its me. I disagreed with someone once and they are looking for me to downvote me even when I am just telling an anecdote. Anyway - preferable to posting as AC when I want to be controversial - which I could but never do.

    I'm sure that people on here faff about logging out to post their controversial opinions. Thats just weird. Put your name on it. Its your opinion.

  12. soulrideruk Bronze badge

    Re: LCD

    Actually, above every post you write is a tick box giving you the option to post anonymously....

    I don't think many people actually log out to post as AC..

  13. Mark 110 Silver badge

    Re: LCD

    Cheers - I'd never noticed. I might start using it. See if I still get that annoying obligatory down vote on everything I post.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: LCD

    You can't post AC without an account, it also remembers every anon post so it's not truly anonymous.

  15. macjules Silver badge

    Re: LCD

    But isn't this (almost) the raison d'être of Facebook? It is the psychological impact of the 'Like' button that Justin Rosenstein intended, described by him as "bright dings of pseudo-pleasure" for those suffering from lack of attention.

    Facebook is just a simple, small enterprise, intent upon total human subjugation and with a headquarters based inside a inactive volcano filled with liquid hot magma. You can't simply blame Facebook for marketing upon the inadequacies of their minions users.

  16. JohnFen Silver badge

    And yet

    And yet, Facebook won't do a thing about it. The problem is that their business goals are only achievable if this is a problem that remains unsolved.

    "According to the research, it really comes down to how you use the technology. "

    Well true. Also, whether or not hard drugs are harmful comes down to how you use them. Aside from trying to deflect blame away from Facebook, that's a meaningless statement.

  17. The Nazz Silver badge

    Re: And yet

    On the contrary, faecesbook are doing something about it, publishing biased "research data" or at least promoting their conclusions to it.

    I read it simply as this :

    Your mental health will suffer IF you only browse/read for ten minutes. What you really have to do to remain healthy is spend hours and hours making further input to the cesspit, communicate and interact more and more with friends.

    On the subject of mental health, am i doing the right thing in staying up for the fifth day of the third test of the Ashes** series?

    On the upside, maybe their usual collapse won't last a whole ten minutes.

    ** The the genuine Ashes, not the one hijacked by the female cricketers.

  18. beep54

    I am impressed with Facebook's argument: Yes, we are bad for you, but it is your fault.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aren't they basically sayimg "you're not using it right"

  20. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    Sounds a bit like the excuse a playground bully uses: “But Sir, they made me hit them.”

  21. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

    Not me . . .

    I'm going to post on this news site comment board, filled with the apotheosis of human reason and compassion and guaranteed to uplift the downtrodden and soothe the troubled soul!

  22. fruitoftheloon

    @ Throatwarbler Mangrove: Re: Not me . . .

    What he said!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The real problem!

  24. Justicesays

    Hans...Are we the Baddies?

    Going for the indirect godwin award but wth.

  25. Mark 85 Silver badge

    " we want to help elevate the conversation," the duo write.

    So... burn the cat videos? It would be a start. We'll have to figure what to burn next....

  26. 404 Silver badge

    Witches... Need to burn the Witches... Or build a bridge out of them....

  27. Mattknz1


    Quite the opposite. I'm a miserable old git already and don't even have a Facebook, but seeing the misery it causes others brings joy to my black heart.

  28. Big John Silver badge

    Re: facepage.

    I'm with you. And there ain't NO way Faceplant is turning ME into metadata!

  29. Lars Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    "these problems are a user's own fault in the end."

    So true, and I am happy I never joined. My dear wife delegated her FB to me to remember birthdays etc and do the appropriate clicking. Had enough in a few weeks and never signed on.

    A FB with a less strong feeling of me being the product, perhaps.

  30. Milton Silver badge

    Opiate of the idiots

    Colour me surprised that FB has admitted something that has been jaw-droppingly obvious for at least five years: using FB is basically bad for you and frequently constitutes damaging addictive behaviour.

    The parallels between social media addiction and drug/alcohol abuse hardly need to be rehearsed here, and the solution is broadly the same: stop. Just stop.

    No one can do it for you. You alone have to find the character and willpower to do the right thing for yourself. The pushers and distillers aren't going to go away while there is money to be made, and prohibition isn't on the cards. So you, personally, have to look into the abyss and ask yourself whether you want to spend the rest of your life as a slave to the tiny pricks of curiosity and titillation that fleetingly tickle your pleasure centres but leave you, in the long run, feeling worthless, miserable, resentful, irritable, depressed and ever dissatisfied with yourself.

    Social media, used in moderation as just another means of staying in touch with family and real friends (not your hundreds of FB "friends") is one thing, and has a place. But it has become a manipulative environment serving corporate greed, full of anonymous cowards and the foul views they wouldn't dare spout in public, boasting, lying, posturing ... sucking us all in to an artificial world of nonsense.

    You do not NEED Facebook. You do not NEED Twitter. You could revert to a feature phone enabling you to have actual conversations with people you know when they're not around. You could spend real time with real people.

    Just say No.

  31. Chris G Silver badge

    Re: Opiate of the idiots

    I wonder if there is money to made writing a book 12 steps to quitting FB/Twatter/Intsagrim etc?

    What would the 'Higher Power' be for a social media addict? Perhaps talking to a real person instead of an avatar.

    It's kind of ironic that something called Social media makes people stay indoors or shut out their surroundings and the people they are with so that they can socialise.

    Where I work is on the Sunset strip in Ibiza, in the summer on any day you can see tables full of friends sitting on the terraces drinking and having fun, not with each other but squinting at their phone screens while Facebooking, Twatting and texting other people who they are not with.

  32. sloshnmosh

    Could it be..

    ..that Zuck and co made this statement so they could push one of their patented emotion technologies?

  33. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

    See icon

    See title.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They should introduced a "Anti-Self Centred Prick" option. Therefore when anyone starts a post with "I" or contains "me" it's not shown on your timeline.

    What about an "anti-weather" option? Use any weather related words e.g. snowing/snow/rain/hail/wind/windy it's not shown.

    What about an "I don't give a fuck what you ate" option? I don't think I need to explain the filters from now on.

    What about an "I don't care about your relationship status" option?

    Though thinking about this I think I may have just found a way to kill Facebook.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Deleted my account last week and don't miss it in the slightest. Freedom from cats, pictures of people's latest food creations, notifications of people liking things I have no interest in and gullible twats thinking they'll win some sort of tardis motorhome simply by sharing a post.

    One like = one prayer.

  36. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

    My other half was encouraged to sign up to FB by the kids after they’d left home a few years ago. She doesn’t spend much time on it, but the amount of videos, ads & dross she has to scroll past. And then the anxiety of “Do I acceppt X’s friend request?”

    I don’t want a FB (orTwitter) account myself, but companies (especially small ones) are moving to only have FB or Twitter contact methods. *sigh*

  37. EdgeSportTurns

    You are the product, not the customer.

    This study is akin to the meat franchises reporting the well being of their livestock. They produce studies saying they are taking care of the product but won't let anyone see the data or record the conditions. They (Facebook) feed us ourselves then tell us we are getting spongiform encephalopathy (mad-cow disease). We are the product not the customer.

  38. LDS Silver badge

    Facebook didn't admit anything bad - it's just saying you "should partecipate more"

    You need to add your data to "feel realized", and you will be depressed if you don't and just look at others.

    So just another way of saying you have to spend *more time* on Facebook feeding the Moloch... so the usual "sharing is caring", "privacy is theft", etc. etc.

  39. handleoclast Silver badge

    I predict

    That there will be a lot of Facebook posts discussing this. Followed by the creation of many Facebook groups to help you overcome or deal with your Facebook addiction.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About time to...

    I never saw the point of all that self gratification and other [redacted] that FB is used for.

    As such I have never felt the desire to even view their home page. After an incident with a cousin, I blocked FB on my router firewall. Did the same to Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

    Most of my family have 'come off' social media as well.

    The sooner it goes the way of MySpace the better.

    Zuck needs to be slapped with a $100B lawsuit for aiding and abetting a multitude of felonies

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “After an incident with a cousin...”

    Tell us more!

  42. Deryk Barker

    Does FB's munificence never end?

    All this and they gave us Donald Trump too?

  43. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Ah well . . .

    . . . back to Habbo Hotel then

  44. Aynon Yuser

    Oh and the sky is blue...

    I was one of the first users in whatever it was called when I was in university. I heard about it, signed up with my college email address just to see what the big fuss was about. Back when they said there would never be any ads on it.

    I stuck with it for years as it became more and more public. All of my friends and family were on it. Ads were everywhere. Information was being harvested, analyzed and sold to marketers.

    Faecebook started to make me feel extremely uncomfortable. I started to feel anxious about logging on. All of the things I was going to read about. People's wonderful or miserable lives, who was breaking up and who was "engaged", who was feeling suicidal, whose died, etc.

    It started making me feel sicker over time. I also started to realize that I helped make Mark Zuckerberg one of the richest men on Earth, and he cared nothing about helping the citizens of our planet. I also started to notice that the web site was becoming addictive and it was becoming more and more important to my friends and family who were no longer interested in relating with one another in real life. I also saw that Mark was using me and everyone else in his psychological and mental experiments. We were rats to him and nothing more.

    Oddly enough I met my partner on Faecebook, and we got married. I finally killed my account. I discovered that my spouse was a Faecebook addict. Nothing mattered more to him than his thousands of friends that he never met and yet he loved them more than me. It was his life, and the real human that he married would always be secondary. We fought and he would never give up his Faecebook friends and that I was apparently trying to control him. The constant "dings" and vibrations and the screen notifications lighting up the room at all finally ended our marriage. Faecebook won. Their formula for creating an addict was successful. Congratulations Mark. You can keep my ex-husband.

    I've spent lots of time in the real world enjoying interacting with humans, who they too don't care for Faecebook. I haven't missed Faecebook. My son quit Faecebook too and his life has evolved in a much more positive direction.

    I was no longer on Faecebook, and yet it had affected by life. It destroyed my marriage and took away the man that I loved. However, I'm happier now. If I marry again, they won't have a Faecebook account.

    You won Mark. Go fuck yourself.

  45. Jack of Shadows Silver badge

    Re: Oh and the sky is blue...

    Which raises an interesting point for a socio-anthropological standpoint. Where does the next generation come from if, as with many cults, the followers do not reproduce?

  46. sloshnmosh

    About time to...

    "I blocked FB on my router firewall. Did the same to Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest."

    Amen to that!

    Also blocked by my router is Baidu, Flikr, Tumblr and Linkedin and adding more each day.

    (I'm starting to feel like an ISP after the net neutrality ruling)

  47. DropDead

    Account Held Hostage!

    Here's one for the books:

    November 25, I log on to Facebook, only to get this:

    Talk about ransomware! This has happened on both Pale Moon AND Mozilla Firefox! 3 weeks have passed and I still get the same message when I log in. I've done everything...cleared cookies, cache, etc...nothing works!

  48. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

    If you want to feel better...

    ... share more information with us, post more, etc.

    It is not an admission of guilt, it is a not so subtle nudge in the direction of more profit.

    Or at least that's what I concluded after reading the original post by FB researchers. Cynical, moi?

  49. Swiss Anton

    Facebook isn't bad for me (at least I hope not)

    I've never had a FB account, so in theory FB can' do me harm. The trouble is, how many prospective employers and others walk away because I don't have a FB account? What am I hiding? Most likely I will never get the chance to explain why I don't have a FB account as I never hear from them.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Facebook isn't bad for me (at least I hope not)

    Yep. Had the comment during an interview last year.

    "We tried to find you on Social Media. What do you go by?"

    {As a polite way of saying... what have you got to hide}

    "Sorry, you won't find me on it. It is not important to me or what I do in life."

    "Why isn't it important?"

    "Why would I care where people that I don't know are going, doing or anything else? Besides, I hate all advertising that is aimed directly at me. I avoid it as much as possible. Not using FB is one of those avoidance methods."

    I got the job.


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