Facebook has been criticized for making people envious and unhappy due to the constant exposure to positive yet unrepresentative highlights of their peers. Such highlights include, but are not limited to, wall posts, videos, and photos that depict or reference such positive or otherwise outstanding activities, experiences, and facts. This effect is caused mainly by the fact that most users of Facebook usually only display the positive aspects of their lives while excluding the negative, though it is also strongly connected to inequality and the disparities between social groups as Facebook is open to users from all classes of society. Sites such as AddictionInfo.org state that this kind of envy has profound effects on other aspects of life and can lead to severe depression, self-loathing, rage and hatred, resentment, feelings of inferiority and insecurity, pessimism, suicidal tendencies and desires, social isolation, and other issues that can prove very serious. This condition has often been called “Facebook Envy” or “Facebook Depression” by the media.
A joint study conducted by two German universities demonstrated Facebook envy and found that as many as one out of three people actually feel worse and less satisfied with their lives after visiting the site. Vacation photos were found to be the most common source of feelings of resentment and jealousy. After that, social interaction was the second biggest cause of envy, as Facebook users compare the number of birthday greetings, likes, and comments to those of their friends. Visitors who contributed the least tended to feel the worst. “According to our findings, passive following triggers invidious emotions, with users mainly envying happiness of others, the way others spend their vacations; and socialize,” the study states.
A 2013 study found that the more people used Facebook, the worse they felt afterwards.
Research performed by psychologists from Edinburgh Napier University indicated that Facebook adds stress to users’ lives. Causes of stress included fear of missing important social information, fear of offending contacts, discomfort or guilt from rejecting user requests or deleting unwanted contacts or being unfriended or blocked by Facebook friends or other users, the displeasure of having friend requests rejected or ignored, the pressure to be entertaining, criticism or intimidation from other Facebook users, and having to use appropriate etiquette for different types of friends. Many people who started using Facebook for positive purposes or with positive expectations have found that the website has negatively impacted their lives.
The “World Unplugged” study, which was conducted in 2011, claims that for some users quitting social networking sites is comparable to quitting smoking or giving up alcohol. Another study conducted 2012 by researchers from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in the U.S. found that drugs like alcohol and tobacco could not keep up with social networking sites regarding their level of addictiveness. A 2013 study in the journal CyberPsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found that some users actually decide to quit social networking sites because of their feeling of getting addicted to Facebook.
Other psychological effects
It has been admitted by many students that they have faced bullying on the site, which leads to psychological harms. Students of high schools face a possibility of bullying and other adverse behaviors over Facebook every day. Many studies have attempted to discover whether Facebook has a positive or negative effect on children’s and teenagers’ social lives, and many of them have come to the conclusion that there are distinct social problems that arise with Facebook usage. British neuroscientist Susan Greenfield stuck up for the issues that children encounter on social media sites. She said that they can rewire the brain, which caused some hysteria over whether or not social networking sites are safe. She did not back up her claims with research, but did cause quite a few studies to be done on the subject. When that self is then broken down by others by badmouthing, criticism, harassment, criminalization or vilification, intimidation, demonization, demoralization, belittlement, or attacking someone over the site it can cause much of the envy, anger, or depression.
Sherry Turkle, in her book Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, argues that social media bring people closer and further apart at the same time. One of the main points she makes is that there is a high risk in treating persons online with dispatch like objects. Although people are networked on Facebook, their expectations of each other tend to be lessened. According to Turkle, this could cause a feeling of loneliness in spite of being together.
Cooperation with government search requests
In July 2011, aided by Facebook, Israeli authorities prevented several pro-Palestinian activists, who “announced on their Internet sites that they planned to come [t]here and cause disruptions, and told their friends”, from boarding Tel Aviv-bound flights in Europe by “contact[ing] other foreign ministries and simply giv[ing] them links”.
The 2013 mass surveillance disclosures identified Facebook as a participant in the U.S. National Security Administration’s PRISM program. Facebook now reports the number of requests it receives for user information from governments around the world.
Source (and more info): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Facebook