In 2011, Stanford University conducted a study led by Alex Jordan, who was at the time a Ph.D. student in Stanford's psychology department. The study, titled "Misery Has More Company Than People Think: Underestimating the Prevalence of Others' Negative Emotions," found that "subjects consistently underestimated how dejected others were–and likely wound up feeling more dejected as a result."
"They were convinced that everyone else was leading a perfect life," Jordan told Slate.
Facebook is a tedious distraction.
More often than not, Facebook acts as a distraction and not a tool to "reconnect." In fact, it's estimated to be costing the U.S. economy billions.
Constantly checking Facebook is an addictive habit, and one that is hard to break. We check our smart-phones every six-and-a-half minutes, and part of the reason why is that we're always refreshing our Facebook pages.
It's hard to overestimate the site's addictiveness. Alexia Tate, a friend of a friend who I'm connected to on Facebook, took a break from the site for 40 days during Lent last year. When she came back, she noticed that she'd become more of a Facebook fiend than ever. "Kind of like smoking," she wrote in an email.
On Facebook, we are no longer just users, we are data.
Author and CNN contributor Douglas Rushkoff recently terminated his Facebook account because he felt the site was turning him into a commodity.
"Facebook has never been merely a social platform. Rather, it exploits our social interactions the way a Tupperware party does. Facebook does not exist to help us make friends, but to turn our network of connections, brand preferences and activities over time -- our 'social graphs' -- into money for others," Rushkoff said.
Not only does Facebook see us as dollar bills, it may even be charging us to make the content we share visible. New York Times writer Nick Bilton wrote this week about a puzzling drop in "likes" and "shares" of his work among his Facebook followers. When he experimented with Facebook's feature that allows people to promote articles if they pay a couple of bucks, he realized what the issue was.
"To my surprise, I saw a 1,000 percent increase in the interaction on a link I posted, which had 130 likes and 30 reshares in just a few hours. It seems as if Facebook is not only promoting my links on news feeds when I pay for them, but also possibly suppressing the ones I do not pay for," Bilton wrote.
Another off-putting concept is Facebook's new "Graph Search," which it plans to launch in the near future. The feature, as Search Engine Watch states, is supposed to let "users search for data on more than 1 billion Facebook users. However, Facebook wants to leverage all the data they have on all their members to help you find more connections."
Having all of our data easily searchable and sorted (what we watch, read, where we live, where we want to travel, what gym we go to, etc, etc) makes us even easier targets for advertisers. It's like a very detailed census of all Facebook users. In other words, Facebook is figuring out how to better exploit its users' online lives.
And what if this data were compromised? Someone(s) hacked Facebook just last month. Imagine if all of your most precious memories and photos were instantly exposed in ways you didn't want them exposed—that is, in some manner beyond the exhibitionism of the site. Or what if they were just erased.