Facebook researchers have found that 1 in 8 of its users report engaging in compulsive use of social media that impacts their sleep, work, parenting or relationships, a survey published on the Wall Street Journal concluded.
The results of the survey said that the effects may reach Internet addiction, and that Facebook knows that the success of its systems and products is based on changing the user’s routine, which may cause great harm to a wide range of users.
The researchers tried to provide recommendations to focus on “user well-being” as a set of reforms were proposed, some of which were implemented, building optional features to encourage reducing the time on social media.
The notifications were also re-engineered in a different way, but the department these researchers worked on was scrapped in late 2019.
Facebook spokeswoman Danny Lever said in a press release that the company has in recent months begun drafting new changes to address what it calls “problematic use” to ensure it does not affect mental health or other user well-being concerns.
She added that some people suffer from fatigue from other technologies such as television or smartphones, which is why Facebook has added tools and controls to help people manage time.
Researchers from Facebook have expressed concern that some users lack control over the time they spend using Facebook, and as a result are experiencing problems in their lives.
But they indicated that they do not consider it “clinically addictive” behavior because it does not affect the brain in the same way as gambling or drug use, but rather a behavior that may cause problems for some due to overuse.
Some of the problems that excessive Facebook use may cause, may lead to a loss of productivity especially when some stop completing tasks in their lives to check frequently on social networks.
And some lose sleep when they stay up late to keep browsing the app, or damage their personal relationships by replacing time with real people to only online people.
The researchers estimated that these problems affect about 12.5% of Facebook network users, which are close to 3 billion users, which means that about 360 million users are affected, about 10% of them in the United States.