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Is Facebook envy making you miserable?


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—Reuters (File) Photo
—Reuters (File) Photo

LONDON: Witnessing friends’ vacations, love lives and work successes on Facebook can cause envy and trigger feelings of misery and loneliness, according to German researchers.

A study conducted jointly by two German universities found rampant envy on Facebook, the world’s largest social network that now has over one billion users and has produced an unprecedented platform for social comparison.

The researchers found that one in three people felt worse after visiting the site and more dissatisfied with their lives, while people who browsed without contributing were affected the most.

“We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry,” researcher Hanna Krasnova from the Institute of Information Systems at Berlin’s Humboldt University said.

“From our observations some of these people will then leave Facebook or at least reduce their use of the site,” said Krasnova, adding to speculation that Facebook could be reaching saturation point in some markets.

Researchers from Humboldt University and from Darmstadt’s Technical University found vacation photos were the biggest cause of resentment with more than half of envy incidents triggered by holiday snaps on Facebook.

Social interaction was the second most common cause of envy as users could compare how many birthday greetings they received to those of their Facebook friends and how many “likes” or comments were made on photos and postings.

“Passive following triggers invidious emotions, with users mainly envying happiness of others, the way others spend their vacations and socialise,” the researchers said in the report 'Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users’ Life Satisfaction?' released on Tuesday.

“The spread and ubiquitous presence of envy on Social Networking Sites is shown to undermine users’ life satisfaction.” They found people aged in their mid-30s were most likely to envy family happiness while women were more likely to envy physical attractiveness.—Reuters

Comments (6) Closed

Janjuah Jan 24, 2013 08:01am
Very good.. facebook so called social platform is isolating humans from each other.. one may have 100 friends on facebook but inside feeling terribally and psychologically alone. This isolation may make people suffer many diseases in the future at a very early statge. What a paradoxical scenareo!! that 5 people living under the same roof have their own accounts and sitting alone in their rooms to find intimacy around the world and ignoring each others presence which already exists within the family and the intimacy which they already have with very easy access..... wake up my human fellows....
NT Jan 23, 2013 02:31pm
Very candid research and an eye-opener. Am sure that it is a feeling of majority Facebook users. Even in passive state of mind instead of stopping FB usage, people keeps surfing more and more and lands nowhere. Better is self-control to keep emotional state better.
awajid Jan 23, 2013 06:55pm
very correct.
Silajit Jan 23, 2013 11:12pm
Shahryar Shirazi Jan 24, 2013 01:21am
precisely the reason I cancelled my Facebook account ...
Shah Jan 24, 2013 06:12am
Facebook world and real world are very different. This needs to be realized