Facebook is Bad for You, and Other Things you Already Suspected

As I’m sure anybody who’s ever spent two minutes inside a Communications lecture can testify, Facebook is kind of a big deal. In this day and age, it’s pretty much impossible to escape it in some form or another, unless you happen to live in a lead casket at the bottom of the sea. In that case, are you sure there isn’t something else you’d rather read before your oxygen runs out?

Image result for stranger things
“Well, I suppose now’s as good a time as any to see what the hype around Stranger Things is all about”.

Facebook is a pretty useful tool by any objective metric. Provided I have a semi-decent internet connection, I can message friends much more reliably than if I were to use my hit-or-miss phone messenger, see what my older friends and family members that I’ve fallen out of touch with are up to and message them if I so desire. And as long as you know to keep an eye out for fake news, it can be a convenient way to catch up on some of the day’s top news stories.

Image result for racist facebook posts
Also, it’s an effective way of finding out which of your friends and family you don’t want to hang out with anymore.

On the other hand, Facebook has the potential to be kind of awful, as the last image serves to clearly illustrate. According to a study done by the National Academy of Sciences, the negative part about being able to meet up online with such a huge amount of people has to do with the ease with which people can meet up with other like-minded Facebook users. Now, this isn’t inherently a bad thing, obviously, but the problem originates from the homogeneous groups that tend to be formed by these clusters of like-minded folks. Any news or theories spread by members of these groups, whether factual or significantly less so, tend to be shared back and forth by other members of these groups, allowing for little outside opinions or dissenting discussion to occur. This allows misinformation to be ingrained in the minds of certain groups, and is detrimental to society as a whole. And in today’s “post-truth” era, these echo chambers are becoming more and more of a nuisance to a supposedly informed society.

Source: 

http://m.pnas.org/content/113/3/554.full

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