David Ginsberg, Facebook’s director of research, and Moira Burke, research scientist, made the surprising admission on Friday in a blogpost that highlighted the downsides of using the website.
They detailed research from University of Michigan, which stated that student who randomly
assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day.
They also stated how a study from UC San Diego and Yale found that people who liked twice as many posts or clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, reported worse mental health than average.
“Though the causes aren’t clear, researchers hypothesise that reading about others online might lead to negative social comparison and perhaps even more so than offline, since people’s posts are often more curated and flattering,” Facebook said.
“Another theory is that the internet takes people away from social engagement in person.”
But they claimed that the website can make people moods happier too, it all depends on how people use the technology.
Users would feel happier if they interact more with friends rather than scrolling.
Ginsberg and Burke said Facebook was concerned about the numerous studies into the negative effect social media and the internet were having on depression rates among young people and that it was actively working with psychologists to change its news feeds to improve mental well-being.
Facebook admitted that little is known about the it will have on its increasingly younger users.
They stated : “We know that people are concerned about how technology affects our attention spans and relationships, as well as how it affects children in the long run. We agree these are critically important questions, and we all have a lot more to learn.
“We’re teaming up with experts in the field to look at the impact of mobile technology and social media on kids and teens, as well as how to better support them as they transition through different stages of life.”