Report says Facebook bad for 360 mn users, Meta denies

Facebook calls this the "problematic use of its platform".

New Delhi: Facebook addiction is hurting sleep, work, relationships and parenting for about 12.5 per cent of users (nearly 360 million), according to the company’s internal documents seen by the media.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Facebook researchers have found that 1 in 8 of its users report are engaged in compulsive use of social media.

Facebook calls this the “problematic use of its platform”.

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“They were perceived by users to be worse on Facebook than any other major social-media platform, which all seek to keep users coming back, the documents show,” the report said late on Friday.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, denied the report, saying the WSJ “has once again chosen to selectively pick and choose from internal company documents to present a narrative that is simply wrong about how we use research to address an important issue — this time about problematic use”.

“Problematic use does not equal addiction. Problematic use has been used to describe people’s relationship with lots of technologies, like TVs and smartphones,” said Pratiti Raychoudhury, Vice President, Head of Research at Meta.

“Since 2018, we have introduced nearly 10 products to better support people’s well-being, including problematic use of our apps, and that work continues today,” Raychoudhury said in a blog post.

The report cited an internal study to find out about how many people on Facebook experience problematic use.

“The app hurts sleep, work, relationships or parenting for about 12.5 per cent of users, who reported they felt Facebook was more of a problem than other social media,” the report claimed, citing the internal documents.

“That’s irresponsible because, as is noted in the study itself, the research was designed to be as expansive as possible to help us better understand the challenge,” Meta replied.

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