In the 18th century in Europe, the Industrial Revolution began. It was the birth of industrialization, the introduction of machines to human social life, and the beginning of technology. The intent was to ease human efforts and make the world a better place – at least for humans. Unfortunately, WWI and WWII made that statement untrue because the guns and bombs used in those wars reduced the world into debris.
Despite the challenges and negative effects technology has had over the years, its advantages cannot be overemphasized. These two-sided effects are common to every human invention – advantages and disadvantages. As an offshoot of technological advancement, the internet has revolutionized the social interactions amongst humans and has bridged geographical gaps that limited the potential of human social evolution.
One of the inventions of the internet is Facebook. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg and Harvard roommates in 2004 as a social networking service for Harvard students. It was expanded to other colleges in the US, Canada, and the whole world with time. The founders intended to create a networking platform among university students where they could meet and interact with one another.
The Harmful Effects of Using Facebook
Like every human invention, does Facebook have its advantages and disadvantages? The answer is yes. There are various positive and negative effects attached to Facebook’s use, most of which are against the expectations and intents of its founders. In an article published in The Washington Post in 2017, the former Vice President of Facebook, Chamath Palihapitiya, claims that Facebook is a dopamine sort that gradually turns people into obsessive users, stating that such compulsive attitude to such social media platforms destroys the society.
This claim highlights the psychological disadvantages that Facebook has on its users and how it destroys the fabric of social interaction. In other words, Facebook’s use as a way of drawing its user to itself, creating an obsession that is not easy to break away from. Facebook users, according to Chamath, get so used to the network that their physical, social life begins to dwindle. This claim is an expert opinion that explains how Facebook is bad for human society regarding users’ dependence on the superficial space and the excitement that comes with using the network.
In an article published in Forbes in 2019 titled “Is Facebook Harmful To Your Health?” the health implications of using Facebook are highlighted to show how dangerous the use of Facebook can be, not only to the psychological state of the human mind but to the physical body, too. According to research published by Health psychologist Dr. Bridget Dibb, Facebook has physical effects that are bad for human health. The research showed that Facebook users tend to make unhealthy comparisons among themselves. Such behavior results in harmful physical diseases such as anxiety, frustration, depression, and the insomniac associated with staying up late on the internet.
Facebook’s global acceptance and usage have created a circle where people are connected on a single platform via the internet. This creates a sense of belonging among users who find acceptance within that community. This implies that some users would be drawn to believe that they are a part of a community, and they have to do all it takes to remain a part of that community.
Therefore, this sense of reasoning creates what Chamath referred to as dopamine-induced excitement among users because they will always be drawn into wanting to identify as a member of the community.
Although Facebook is a global community, it is still a community made up of people from different geographical, social, religious, cultural, and educational backgrounds. There will be issues of class distinction, which will create groups of people within this global community. This explains and corroborates Dibb’s finding that Facebook users are prone to compare themselves with other users on the platform, leading to frustration and depression.
Another apparent disadvantage of Facebook is the fact that private lives have become public. There is a drive to want to flaunt one’s life on Facebook, which makes many users put their private lives on the platform. This has ironically flipped the private into the public. In addition to this, there have been arguments on whether or not individual information on the internet is secure. On the one hand, this debate is based on the assumption that Facebook’s personal information is not secure on Facebook’s database. On the other hand, the debate is extended to the fear of internet hackers who could access one’s information on Facebook.
In addition to the harmful effects of Facebook on human society, the freedom of expression expressed on social media has created and increased the spread of fake news. Social media users post news without verifying its authenticity. This is very harmful because there is a tendency for other users to act upon unverified information they come across.
Beyond the Dark: Advantages of Using Facebook
The highlighted points above prove that Facebook can be very harmful to society. Nevertheless, we cannot dismiss all the advantages of the social media platform, too.
Connects the Whole World
One of the advantages of Facebook is that it is a social media tool that has helped to connect people from all over the world. It is presently the most powerful tool for connection. It has helped people find lost friends, colleagues, family members, and loved ones. It is the easiest platform to reconnect on; in as much as the people you are looking for have an account on the app, you can find them and reconnect with them.
A Dating Platform
Facebook is the largest social media platform to find a date on. People find friendship, relationships, community, friends, and lovers on Facebook. This has reduced, to an extent, the rate of depression, isolation, and loneliness because people have a place where they can interact with others and be accepted as a member of a community. Relationships have been initiated that led to marriage and, eventually, a family.
Quick and Accessible Newsroom
Facebook is also one of the fastest means of getting information. Most Facebook users tend to spend more time on the platform than on news channels. There is the possibility that Facebook users who spend most of their time on the platform come in contact with information there than on other news channels. The restrictions placed on the kind of information users post on Facebook are sensitive, violent, and sexually explicit.
Facebook is one of the largest sites for adverts. People are free to post information about what they do, sell, services they render. A lot of people have had job offers, employment, and opportunities from Facebook. This is one of the advantages of using the app that cannot be underemphasized. In fact, for some users, this is the sole reason they have an account with Facebook.
Whether or Not to Use Facebook
As stated earlier, every human invention has its advantages and disadvantages. While Facebook has its disadvantages, which have made people wonder and question its usefulness, it has numerous advantages that have made human social lives better. The question of whether or not Facebook is bad for society is, therefore, dependent on whether or not the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Therefore, the only answer to the question lies in how both the advantages and disadvantages can be managed for the good and benefit of humanity. All of these facts have been carefully examined in the course of this article. Although getting these accurate facts isn’t a smooth sail, it’s a price paid to ensure this article is nothing less than perfect.
About the Author:
Having a social media background and technical writing experience, Matt Robinson is a precious data-driven strategist and writer for HowSociable. He knows everything about social innovations and shares the information with his readers in a unique way. You can follow Matt on Twitter.