With massive organisations such as Tesla and Playboy deleting their corporate and official Facebook accounts, the #DeleteFacebook movement appears to be picking up solid momentum. However, a recent Australian study has found that quitting Facebook might not be as beneficial as once thought, revealing both pros and cons of unplugging from the social media giant.
The study was conducted by Eric Vanman and Rosemary Baker from the University of Queensland, alongside Stephanie Tobin from the Australian Catholic University, and involved a sample base of 138 active Facebook users. The group was split into two camps – one allowed to use Facebook as per usual, the other given instructions to not use it at all. Test subjects were assessed before and after the test period on metrics such as salivary cortisol (a physiological measure of stress), perceived stress, well-being, as well as mood assessments.
The study showed that after just 5 days, the No Facebook group were reportedly showing a reduction in cortisol, something that was not observed in the other group. What’s more, members of the No Facebook faction managed to spend more time engaging face-to-face with friends and family.
Vanman spoke to Psypost about the converse discovery in the research “We also found, however, that people who were instructed to give up Facebook for 5 days were less satisfied with their lives. Many were openly happy when the study was finished because they could return to Facebook.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 23, 2018
Essentially, the subjects FOMO kicked in; hard enough to impact levels of life satisfaction. which brought with it unexpected psychological effects suggesting simply unplugging from Facebook may not help stress levels in the long run. Vanman continued to explain the limitations of the study, “We don’t know long it takes to get this reduction in cortisol or when it would start to increase again before someone decided to get back on Facebook.”
“For example, it could be that being off Facebook for the first few days reduces stress, but, the longer one feels like he or she is missing out, cortisol starts to increase again.”
Venman and Co. suspect the findings aren’t exclusive to Facebook, which at 2 billion active monthly users is the largest social media platform by far. The team is dedicated to expanding the sample base for further tests. While the study produced unexpected results, Vanman believes at least one hard fact was discovered – that taking a break from Facebook, should it become overwhelming, is encouraged.
In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which has put Facebook’s user privacy political under intense, and international investigation, #DeleteFacebook has gained a serious following. The Social Media giant is all but up against the ropes, with leaked memos revealing a blasé attitude towards users privacy, and indeed the current situation they’ve found themselves in.
Vanman, Baker and Tobin’s study, “The Burden Of Online Friends: the effects of giving up Facebook on stress and well-being” was published in the Journal of Social Psychology.