A new study of thousands of young Facebook users found that cutting out social media makes people less depressed, more productive, and better at dealing with money.
The researchers compared the activities of more than 1,750 university students in the United States in 2017 who stayed away from Facebook for a week or stayed on the social media platform.
The team found that moving away from the social network caused people to consume less news in general, but it also reduced their awareness of fake and non-mainstream news.
Roberto Mosquera, an economist from Universidad de las Américas University in Ecuador and his colleagues, studied 1765 Facebook students at Texas A&M University.
The researchers divided the participants into two groups, one of which was away from Facebook for a week, while the other group continued to use the platform within the same period.
The researchers found that students who stopped using Facebook were more productive, reported feeling less depressed, and engaged in healthy activities.
The social network has significant impacts on important aspects of life, not directly related to building and supporting social networks, the researchers said.
Researchers also asked volunteers how much they would like to receive as compensation for abandoning Facebook for one week, and found on average that participants considered one week on Facebook to be worth $ 67 – a large part of the average student’s weekly budget.
This value increased by nearly 20 percent a week after the move away from the platform, and researchers note that this increased value is typical of the relationship of addiction to the platform.
Besides health and financial implications, the researchers also found that participants who took a break from the social media platform also consumed less news.
The researchers said: The restriction of the largest social network globally reduced the consumption of news and do not replace participants with news sources or other social platforms when they stay away from Facebook for a short period of time.
Roberto Mosquera and his team also reported that students who left Facebook were becoming less aware of volatile political news sources.
The discovery adds support to previous studies that said Facebook could serve as an important channel for fake news sources.
The study, titled “The economic effects of Facebook,” was published in the journal Experimental Economics.
Source : The study