Is Facebook an addiction?

Quit Facebook

Yesterday morning, on the 28th of February 2019, I quit Facebook. I “permanently” deleted my account, which means that I have to stay off Facebook for the next 30 days, because until then I can still reinstate it.

I quit Facebook… I quit Facebook… Why did this sound familiar and ominous at the same time? It clicked when I read a tweet by Sally Rugg:

I think Quit Smoking twitter is the most supportive and kind space I’ve ever come across online. I’ve felt so encouraged and never judged. It’s the best. –

Yes! I quit Facebook just like other people quit smoking. Or drinking. Or drugs. So I wondered, is Facebook an addiction, just like smoking and drinking can be?

I think it is. It has been shown that our brains receive a shot of dopamine when we see the little red icons at the top of the page. Oooh, I’ve got a message! Oooh, someone liked something I posted. Oooh….

Facebook is designed to create as many interactions with it as possible, in much the same way YouTube sucks you in when you start watching videos, by giving you those little dopamine highs. Social Media platforms are the slot machines of the online world and as such are addictive AF. We’ve become dependent on them, fearing missing out when we’re not part of that “community”.

Except, it’s not really a community. How many people will reach out when they notice you’ve quit Facebook? How many of those will know how to contact you outside Facebook? And I wonder, how many do I still know how to contact now that I’m no longer on Facebook?

I wonder if ‘Quit Facebook twitter’ is a thing too (yes, I’m still on Twitter). Hopefully they are supportive as ‘Quit Smoking twitter’. Maybe I’ll ask Sally.

1 thought on “Is Facebook an addiction?”

  1. Well said, Sander. I believe psychology and related sciences are only scratching the surface of how social media and other online services affect our mental health.

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