New York, Feb 1 (IANS): Want to quit Facebook? According to a new study, it can have both positive as well as negative effects on your life.
The study, led by Hunt Allcott, Associate Professor at the New York University, suggest that Facebook plays an important role as a source of (real) news and information, as people who quit showed reduced factual news knowledge.
However, it also reduced political polarisation.
On the other hand, quitting Facebook improved subjective well-being, suggesting that forces such as addiction and projection bias may cause people to use the social networking site more than they otherwise would.
"We find that while deactivation makes people less informed, it also makes them less polarised by at least some measures, consistent with the concern that social media have played some role in the recent rise of polarisation in the US," Allcott, said in a statement on Thursday.
But,"Facebook can improve people's lives, whether as a source of entertainment, a means to organise a charity or an activist group, or a vital social lifeline for those who are otherwise isolated.
"Any discussion of social media's downsides should not obscure the basic fact that it fulfills deep and widespread needs," he said.
For the study, the team recruited 2,844 participants, aged 18 and older and spent at least 15 minutes on the social networking platform everyday.
The findings revealed that Facebook deactivation reduced online activity, including other social media, while increasing offline activities such as watching TV alone and socialising with family and friends.
The study also found that deactivating Facebook had a positive, yet minor impact on mood.