Is Facebook Luring You Into Being Depressed?

Is Facebook Luring You Into Being Depressed?

Social Media Encourages Us to Follow Those We Envy

Nautilus, 2015




  • Analytical
  • Scientific
  • Eye Opening


There’s been a great deal of speculation about whether social media damage people in some nefarious and irrevocable way. Most individuals read about this speculation online, then promptly return to their endless scrolling and clicking. Is this something to worry about? While it’s clear that social media inspire a broad range of emotions, researchers are just beginning to sift through the data. Science writer Chelsea Wald offers a solid synopsis of social media–related research. getAbstract recommends her analysis to anyone who uses social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Snapchat, or any other social platform.


In a 2013 study, University of Michigan social psychologist Ethan Kross and his fellow researchers texted 82 people five times a day, asking them a series of questions about their recent social media usage and their current mental state. People’s answers demonstrated a strong correlation between the amount of time they spent on Facebook and waning emotional well-being. Using Facebook made participants “a little bit sadder,” in a phenomenon known as “Facebook depression.”

Some researchers suggest that Facebook depression results from envy. According to this theory...

About the Author

Chelsea Wald is a freelance journalist. She has written for Scientific American, The Atlantic and Nautilus.

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