Facebook admits it can make people feel worse

San Francisco, Dec 17: Call it admonition from parents and behavioural experts or self-introspection but Facebook has for the first time admitted that passively scrolling through posts on the social media platform can make people feel worse -- while active engagement on the platform may have the opposite effect.

Citing scientific research on well-being and social media, Facebook on Friday highlighted the two sides of using social media -- the good and the bad.

"According to the research, it really comes down to how you use the technology," Facebook said in a blog post.

For example, on social media, you can passively scroll through posts, much like watching TV, or actively interact with friends -- messaging and commenting on each other's posts. 

"Just like in person, interacting with people you care about can be beneficial, while simply watching others from the sidelines may make you feel worse," wrote Facebook's Director of Research David Ginsberg and its Research Scientist Moira Burke.

The researchers cited one experiment in which University of Michigan students randomly assigned to read Facebook for 10 minutes were in a worse mood at the end of the day than students assigned to post or talk to friends on Facebook. 

A study from University of California San Diego and Yale found that people who clicked on about four times as many links as the average person, or who liked twice as many posts, reported worse mental health than average in a survey.