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Spending more time on Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter may make you feel lonelier: Study

use of social media does not present a panacea to help reduce perceived social isolation

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March 6, 2017:  you are feeling cut off from the rest of society, spending more time on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter may only make things worse, a new study warns.

The more time young adults use social media, the more likely they are to feel socially isolated, the findings showed.

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“We are inherently social creatures, but modern life tends to compartmentalise us instead of bringing us together. While it may seem that social media presents opportunities to fill that social void, I think this study suggests that it may not be the solution people were hoping for,” said lead author Brian Primack from University of Pittsburgh in the US.

The finding, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, suggests that use of social media does not present a panacea to help reduce perceived social isolation — when a person lacks a sense of social belonging, true engagement with others and fulfilling relationships.

The researchers analysed responses from more than 1,500 US adults between ages 19 and 32 about their use of 11 most popular social media platforms at the time — Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, Vine and LinkedIn.

The scientists measured participants’ perceived social isolation using a validated assessment tool called the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System.

The researcher found that participants who used social media more than two hours a day had twice the odds for perceived social isolation than their peers who spent less than half an hour on social media each day.

And those who visited various social media platforms 58 or more times per week had about triple the odds of perceived social isolation than those who visited fewer than nine times per week.

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The researchers believe that social media use may displace more authentic social experiences because the more time a person spends online, the less time there is for real-world interactions.

Moreover, certain characteristics of social media could facilitate feelings of being excluded, such as when one sees photos of friends having fun at an event to which they were not invited.

Exposure to highly idealized representations of peers’ lives on social media sites may elicit feelings of envy and the distorted belief that others lead happier and more successful lives, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Twitter Takes Multiple Steps To Curb Misinformation Before Elections in India

More than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation

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The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

Twitter is taking “multi-variable” steps, including the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, to curb the spread of misleading information on its platform ahead of 2019 general election in India, Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey said here on Monday.

Addressing a Town Hall-style meeting at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D), Dorsey said fake news is a way too big category.

“The real problem is not misinformation per se as jokes can also be categorised as misinfomation. But misinformation that is spread with the intent to mislead people is a real problem,” stressed the Twitter CEO who is in India on a week-long maiden visit.

Dorsey, who got a rousing reception at IIT-D with the students wildly cheering the young entrepreneur, likened solving the problem of misleading information to that of addressing a security issue, or building a lock.

Twitter, India
Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence operations and their use of social media on Capitol Hill. VOA

“No one can build a perfect lock, but we need to stay ahead of our attackers. AI could probably help,” Dorsey told the audience.

Earlier in the day, the Twitter CEO met Congress President Rahul Gandhi and discussed various steps the social network was taking to curb the spread of fake news and boost healthy conversation on its platform.

Dorsey also met Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama over the weekend. He was also expected to meet Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in the wake of the growing criticism over Twitter’s role in the spread of misinformation and fake news as India faces Assembly polls in five states in November-December ahead of next year’s general elections.

Twitter, India
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

Twitter, along with other social media platforms, including Facebook, came under intense scrutiny of policymakers in the US for their failure to stop the spread of misinformation by Russia-linked accounts on their platforms during the 2016 Presidential election.

The micro-blogging site since then has stepped up its efforts to curb the spread of divisive messages and fake news on its platform.

To further protect the integrity of elections, Twitter recently announced that it would now delete fake accounts engaged in a variety of emergent, malicious behaviour.

India, elections
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses the gathering during the ‘Global Mobility Summit’ in New Delhi, India, VOA

As part of the new rules, accounts that deliberately mimic or are intended to replace accounts that were previously suspended for violating rules may be identified as fake accounts, Twitter said recently.

Also Read: Twitter Giving Its Users More Freedom to Report Fake, Suspicious Accounts

However, according to a Knight Foundation study released in October, more than 80 per cent of the Twitter accounts linked to spread of disinformation during the 2016 US election are still active. (IANS)