Facebook is on the defensive after being criticized by scientists for changing the way people interact and socialize.
The social networking firm, in a blog post, addressed concerns published by various scientific researchers that Facebook and other forms of social media isolate people from one another and, in many cases, replace real human interaction. Other concerns include the rise of depression, particularly in teens, that is linked to the use of technology.
Facebook, however, said, when used correctly, its platform can actually improve the lives of its users.
“A study we conducted with Robert Kraut at Carnegie Mellon University found that people who sent or received more messages, comments and Timeline posts reported improvements in social support, depression and loneliness. The positive effects were even stronger when people talked with their close friends online,” Facebook’s blog post reads. “Simply broadcasting status updates wasn’t enough; people had to interact one-on-one with others in their network. Other peer-reviewed longitudinal research and experiments have found similar positive benefits between well-being and active engagement on Facebook.”
The company said it is working to make the site more about “social interaction and less about spending time.”
The blog post, which can be read in full here, comes just days after Facebook spoke out after being criticized by one of its former executives.
Chamath Palihapitiya, who worked at Facebook in the early years, recently said he feels “tremendous guilt” for helping to shape the site into what it has become today. He went on to describe Facebook as a “short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loop” that is “eroding the core foundations of how people behave.”
Facebook slapped back by pointing out Palihapitiya had not worked at the company for more than six years, adding that its philosophy has changed during that time to take on more responsibility for how its site is used.