Social Media

Connected, but at what cost?

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Science  17 Apr 2020:
Vol. 368, Issue 6488, pp. 279
DOI: 10.1126/science.368.6488.279-a

Disconnecting from Facebook led ex-users to socialize offline more, become less politically polarized, and improve their subjective well-being.

PHOTO: WACHIWIT/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

Facebook users, randomized to deactivate their accounts for 4 weeks in exchange for $102, freed up an average of 60 minutes a day, spent more time socializing offline, became less politically polarized, and reported improved subjective well-being relative to controls. However, the treatment group also became less knowledgeable about current events. Allcott et al. report that after the 4-week deactivation period ended, the treated subjects' Facebook use remained persistently lower than that of the controls, and treated subjects lowered the amount of compensation they would demand to deactivate their accounts for another 4 weeks.

Am. Econ. Rev. 110, 629 (2020).

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