Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Negative Experiences on Social Media Platform Can Make You Feel Lonely

Because social media is so pervasive, it is critically important that we better understand why this is happening and how we can help people navigate social media without as many negative consequences, wrote researchers

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Facebook, data,photos
A television photographer shoots the sign outside of Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. VOA

Negative experiences on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter increase the odds of feeling lonely especially among young adults, a new study has found.

Positive interactions on social media are not making young adults feel more connected, whereas negative experiences increase the likelihood of them reporting loneliness, said scientists from the University of Pittsburgh’s Centre for Research on Media Technology and Health (MTH).

“Social media is, seemingly, about connecting people. So it is surprising and interesting that our investigations reveal social media being linked to loneliness,” said lead author Brian Primack, Director of Pitt’s MTH.

Perceived social isolation, which is a synonym for loneliness, is associated with poor health outcomes, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and depression, he added in a paper published in the journal American Journal of Health Promotion.

Primack and his team surveyed 1,178 students aged 18 to 30 about their social media use, to what extent their experiences were positive or negative, and their level of perceived loneliness.

Loneliness Can Worsen Mental Health And Can Double The Risk Of Dying
Negative experiences on Facebook will make you lonely. Pixabay

For every 10 per cent increase in negative experiences on social media, the participants reported a 13 per cent increase in feelings of loneliness.

However, for every 10 per cent increase in positive experiences on social media, the participants reported no statistically significant change in feelings of loneliness.

“There is a tendency for people to give greater weight to negative experiences and traits compared with positive ones, and this may be particularly relevant when it comes to social media,” said study author Jaime Sidani.

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“Health practitioners may encourage the public to be more cognizant and thoughtful regarding their online experiences, thereby interrupting a potential cycle of negative experiences and loneliness,” added Primack.

Because social media is so pervasive, it is critically important that we better understand why this is happening and how we can help people navigate social media without as many negative consequences, wrote researchers. (IANS)

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Social Media Giant Facebook Accused of Revealing Sensitive Health Data

The company has not given any official statement on the subject as yet

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Facebook, photos
This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facebook has been accused of failing to protect sensitive health data of users in its groups.

“Facebook has marketed this product as a Personal Health Record and it then leaked the health data that those patients uploaded to the public,” a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) noted on Monday.

The issue was first noticed in July, when members of a women’s group with a gene mutation discovered how easily the names and email addresses of members could have been downloaded in bulk, either manually or through a Chrome extension, The Verge reported.

At that time, the social networking giant reportedly claimed to have made changes to “Groups” that ended the practice and emphasised on the option for join “Secret Groups” – that are, although difficult to join, but have a more limited discoverability.

However, the complaint highlights that public sharing of privately posted personal health information is in violation of the law, which is a serious problem with Facebook’s privacy implementation methods.

Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

“Facebook has ignored our requests to fix the specific issues we have identified to the company, and denies publicly that any problem exists. All of this represents unfair, deceptive and misleading interactions between Facebook and its users in violation of the FTC act,” the complaint added.

The complaint, which was filed by a security researcher and others, argues that Facebook has failed to make clear what personal information users might be giving up when they join a group.

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Facebook is already negotiating a multibillion-dollar fine with the FTC over privacy lapses, The Verge said.

The company has not given any official statement on the subject as yet. (IANS)