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Facebook addiction linked to staking your self-worth on social acceptance (psypost.org)
317 points by brahmwg 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 144 comments

Social media wasn’t always like this. I think back to the ways I used Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the early days and they were completely different than they way they are used today. They were personal, real time, and no one cared about “likes”.

I think a lot of the problems with social media today could be solved just by removing “the numbers.” If suddenly all the like, follower, following, and comment counts disappeared I suspect people would use these things fundamentally differently. I see people browsing through IG tapping to like for 20 minutes at a time and think to myself, “why are you even doing that?” It’s a compulsion that does nothing.

Also sharing.

Taking the time to save a link/picture, go to another site, and typing in a description and comments on material? Great. Seeing a cat picture and instantaneously clicking "share"?

Screw that. That kind of behavior is in the website's interest, not mine. It creates an endless stream of slightly-interesting material from people I know, just enough to keep me watching but not enough to feel like anything got done.

Spending time doing something compulsively that later you realize was a waste of time, then doing it again? That's addiction. I don't know what kind of addiction it is. It's certainly less addictive than opiods. But it's no doubt addictive -- and it is currently affecting billions of people worldwide.

It's an amazing amount of societal damage that nobody will ever be able to quantify. We'll never know the books that weren't read, the inventions that weren't made, or the people that weren't helped because somebody was watching social media.

(And before somebody talks about how great it is to have the planet connected, it is! Being able to communicate and research is nowhere near the same thing as having your head stuck in your phone eight hours a day)

> It's an amazing amount of societal damage that nobody will ever be able to quantify. We'll never know the books that weren't read, the inventions that weren't made, or the people that weren't helped because somebody was watching social media.

Individuals have a right to recreation; they don't need to spend every waking moment being useful to society. The alternative is dystopian.

I don't like when "recreation" is something that is aggressively optimized to be addictive, err, I mean to "increase engagement". Billions are spend to keep people scrolling through their feeds as long as possible. That's different from taking a walk in the park or playing a game of cards with your friends.

This isn’t a new phenomenon. All of the arguments you’re making were made in the twentieth century about gambling.

Are you arguing that we should forbid minors from using social networks and require them to tell users that what they're doing is addictive and to seek help when they notice signs of addiction? Maybe we should also strictly regulate using social networks over the Internet...

Most people in the US spend an amazing amount of time watching TV. The average for adults is about 5 hours a day[1]. Not sure if I really believe these numbers, as many people have the TV on when doing something else (I hope), but most people don't choose to do something "productive" with their free time.

Is social media better that TV? I would say social media has more value and is more likely to cause damage, but avoiding both is probably a good idea. I try not to eat much ice cream either.


I don't think it makes sense to draw a line. The same psychological manipulations we see going on with social media were tried and tested first with television decades ago.

Every minor thing is "breaking news!" and needless drama stirred up to keep you watching, in between the half a dozen tickers and counters on the screen with pointless metrics to look important and soak up your attention.

I think it's because work makes people tired so all they want to do is rest, and then tv comes on....

The planet was just connected before Facebook with AIM or ICQ. Perhaps moreso, really, since you actually had to talk to people.

> I see people browsing through IG tapping to like for 20 minutes at a time and think to myself, “why are you even doing that?” It’s a compulsion that does nothing.

This. If nothing else scared me away from social networks the mind-numbing scroll-like-scroll-like behavior I see the users/addicts exhibit sure does.

The problem is that the numbers obsession is what drives KPI. Without the "internet points" people wouldn't spend as much time on those sites grinding points, leading to less ad revenue. The economics are fully aligned with the user behavior we see now, and many psychologists and others warned about this over the years

In the short term I agree with you. But it decreases the long term value and utility of the platform IMO.

Take Instagram. It used to be a platform for posting pictures. It was a digital version of Polaroid—an “instant” camera. When you look on Instagram now it’s core functionality and differentiation is basically gone. When you look on the explore tab you are hard pressed to find any photos at all, let alone ones that were taken with the camera itself.

Instagram now is no different than Facebook or any other generic network, it’s just the biggest. The content is nonsensical and people will eventually get bored of it. At some point I think it occurs to every user, “why am I even doing this” and they bounce, so it always requires new users coming in to grow the userbase.

IG is now easy, from a technical standpoint, to replace as it has no real identity. Just let people post whatever for internet points. Socially it’s hard to topple, but that’s hard to defend long term and somewhat out of your control.

I just don’t see how or why IG exists ten years from now. For what? At least in its original incarnation it had a purpose, however niche, which might have had some long term viability.

I think the best example of this is probably looking at the Chinese social apps like YY, Inke and Meipai. A billion people who don’t give a shit about Kylie Jenner and are developing apps with far more interesting features than anything we have.

IG content isn’t nonsensical IMO. The content on IG is generally of higher quality and visually curated. It’s also a better platform for showcasing your brand if you’re in the ecommerce space than FB Pages for example.

Granted, there are accounts that are dedicated to memes and other ‘nonsensical’ content, but you get much more of that on FB. Putting IG in the same trash pile that FB is in is unfair.

It’s only for ecommerce. You are either selling a product or selling yourself for likes. Every post is an ad. The amount of sharing that happens the today on IG is the same amount of sharing that happens when you watch a TV commercial.

It’s nuanced, but fundamental different from the photo sharing sites that came before it like Flickr.

The share button may as well be replaced with “Promote” because that’s what it is.

However, Instagram's reliance on the number of views, likes, followers, and so on still puts it in the same category as Facebook and its likes, Twitter and its retweets and favorites, LinkedIn and its likes and comments, YouTube and its upvotes and comments and subscribes... and so on. It's still a metric-driven network, even if the content happens to be better. And what is showcasing your brand if not grinding for better numbers?

For FB, there's Facebook Demetricator which removes all those #s, works only for desktop browsers unfortunately. Not affiliated in any way, just a fan and surprised I only discovered it very recently.


Thanks for mentioning (I created the Demetricator). For those interested, I also have one for Twitter and one for Instagram (both desktop browser-based only).

https://bengrosser.com/projects/twitter-demetricator/ https://bengrosser.com/projects/instagram-demetricator/

Funnily enough, Snapchat doesn't seem to have this particular downside. It has points/scoring, but they were always somewhat hidden away and I'm not sure if anyone took them very seriously. Like the rest of the app's UX, and sort of ranking cryptic and obfuscated (like the emojis signifying how your friends compared to you) and not made into an emphasis.

I had the impression some people were obsessed with the "streak" feature on Snapchat.

I know people who are obsessed with maintaining streaks on Snapchat, but I see the effects of a streak as different from the effects of the likes and shares mentioned above. While both mechanisms encourage users to use their platform more, keeping a Snapchat streak with friends puts an emphasis on actually communicating with individual people instead of blasting content across the platform.

Whether or not that communication between individuals is high-quality will vary from person to person, though.

A streak is a 1-5 minute thing at most for those who are obsessed with it. Many people in that category send out a single "streak" snap to everyone they have a streak with. You can't spend the same 20 minutes of Instagram scrolling with streaks. I don't think it's a completely harmless thing, but it's not in the same category at all.

The toxicity in Snapchat comes from its filter culture, and how they're abused to create a fake and frankly disturbing and disgusting standard of beauty

You’re right.

> ... the ways I used Twitter [etc]

> ... completely different than they way they are used today.

Are you conflating the way that you would interact with a social media site, and the way that most people would -- rather than comparing both sets of people over time?

TFA's focus is on the addictive aspect of FB (etc) -- and clearly FB (etc) are constantly improving their psychological toolkit in order to obtain and retain eyeballs -- but I don't think the quantifying of likes is the main tool in their kit. Worse, they're not likely to voluntarily reduce the efficacy of their methods.

I'm one Facebook a lot and even on the rather leftward side and I don't experience any extreme toxicity (though I hear a lot about it). Some of my friends care about likes but mostly when they feel they're being ignored.

I administer a large-ish group where respectful discussion is non-negotiable. It works, it serves it's purpose.

I think "good moderation" is basically the answer for toxicity.

Agree-> 'good moderation'

Please put more substance in your comments.

> "good moderation"

pun intended

> Social media wasn’t always like this. I think back to the

> ways I used Twitter, Facebook and Instagram in the early

> days and they were completely different than they way they

> are used today. They were personal, real time, and no one

> cared about “likes”.

Yup, also when considering how this all evolved. Before that there were Newsgroups (mega techy) and various online forums/chats. They were a little trashy but people were very engaged. On the other hand pseudonymity was omnipresent, Facebook was the first big one to change that. Now there are far more users and far less online communities.

My experience with Facebook "in the early days" is different in that I very much cared about how many likes I got on my posts and updates, whereas now I absolutely do not care.

And using real names and real photographs ironically makes most of us less genuine.

The way this is titled makes the relation seem directional, and in the wrong direction...

Basing self worth on social acceptance definitely predates Facebook, and Facebook addiction is a pretty obvious consequence of the positive feedback loop that you'd get form using Facebook to feed that part of yourself.

Not defending Facebook or any other social network here, I personally think Facebook is likely toxic -- but I think it's pretty hard for a social network to exist without having this flaw.

Not disagreeing that this predated Facebook. But the problem is that Facebook took this known vulnerability in human psychology and exploited it to the absolute max.

The product has been meticulously engineered to push all your social acceptance buttons. It would have been possible to design a product that helped people gain awareness of and transcend the deep underlying insecurities that give rise to addictions of all kinds, including social media. They deliberately chose not to build that product because it would be less lucrative, at least in the short term.

Giving Facebook a pass on this is like giving a heroin dealer a pass because opioid addiction predated their business. It’s true but it doesn’t absolve any of the moral responsibility for profiting off a product that causes harm.

Can Facebook be disrupted by the fentanyl of social networks?

Cute, but your analogy is somewhat flawed as fentanyl is like heroin on steroids. (As long as we’re mixing metaphors...)

What the world really needs is the naloxone of social networks.

You misinterpret me, I'm not asking what the world needs, I'm asking what it's possible to give them for profit.

If wondering if we could create a social network that offers 50x the social validation (fentanyl is like 50x the potency of heroin). Maybe machine learning can find the right combination of color flashes to cause people to have a social bliss seizure. Maybe while simultaneously reading their rapid eye movements to extract their credit card information from their short circuiting brains.

Catch me at YC2019

The answer is sort of yes, digital fentanyl is in our future. It’s a simple ML model that tells you what you want to hear based on your previous reactions and cross-person prior training data. Whatever your hidden insecurities are, that’s where it will bind. Once it becomes variative enough to keep you on your toes and precise enough to strike in yout heart you will no longer care that’s it obviously failing the Turing test.

Otherwise fully functional adults often succumb to sexual advances of sweet-taking suitors even if they rationally know the sweet-talk is bunk. And so it will be with this - humanity will fall to an AI before the AI can even develop consciousness.

Sounds like the basis for a good novel/movie. Even suggests a title:"Turing Incomplete".

See, your attitude is exactly what is wrong with Silicon Valley culture. You’re joking about technology to give people social bliss seizures for profit, hahaha hilarious. Meanwhile millions of people are actually dying from addiction, and not just heroin.

A member of my immediate family died by suicide recently. She suffered from massive self esteem issues as a result of chronic childhood abuse. She turned to Facebook for social validation, as one does, but was more prone to serious addiction due to her trauma. I’m not saying Facebook killed her, but it certainly added rocket fuel to the fire of her downward spiral.

I encourage you to reconsider your glib attitude towards dangerous addictions. It’s not so funny when people you love die from this stuff.

Please accept my sincerest condolences for the death of your family member.

In some ways I followed a similar path to that of your relative, in part because I often obtain validation by publicly satirizing elements of society I think are wrong. I've found satire the best tool in my toolbox at sparking conversation and even changing minds.

I've considered your proposal, and respectfully choose to continue the path I'm on. Whether or not you agree with it, I hope you'll believe that my motive is to cast a negative light on the victimizers and not the victims.

Best regards to you and yours

Wait, now you’re claiming that your original post was satire? Perhaps you should clarify that to the multiple people who have responded with comments in earnest.

Regarding your claimed motive to cast a negative light on the victimizers, uhhh... yeah. That might be believable, except that you’re doing the exact opposite in this thread. I hate to break it to you, but leaving insensitive comments about addiction which you later claim are satire isn’t really helping the situation.

You are also pretending to be respectful with your choice of language, but you’re not actually showing any respect at all.

At this point the only logical conclusion is that you’re trolling. In my experience, behind every troll is someone who is suffering and needs psychological help. Whether or not you believe it, I know there’s a “true self” of yours underneath the facade you’re showing here on HN that actually knows how to help people and not hurt them.

Whatever happened to you to make you this way, I wish you all the best in working through it.

Yikes! I get that you don't believe me, but I sincerely was trying to be respectful of your opinion and your grief. I've had quite a lot of death in my family, so I empathize with the grief people experience during similar times.

A lifetime of things, good and bad made me this way. I don't agree that I have any particular pathos I need to nail down, but being better is always the goal, right?

This whole thing just turned into a whirlwind of Poe's law.

This dispute isn't about my grief, despite your manipulative comments, nor does it have anything to do with Poe's law.

It's about you pushing buttons by making insensitive and disrespectful comments, then continuing to feign ignorance, avoiding responsibility for your hurtful words and finally trying to shift blame for the situation onto me.

The technical term for what you're doing is emotional abuse and gaslighting. This behavior is typically observed in those who have had it done to them. If you were paying me to be your therapist, I could help you fix the bugs in your psyche. But I'm not your therapist, and you seem to recognize nothing odd about your behavior, so there's no point in continuing the conversation at this time. Be well.

I mentioned Poe's Law because you took for granted everyone who responded to me, responded in earnest. I took their responses as sarcastic. Poe's Law. You think my condolences were insincere, I'm asserting that they were not. Also your name is MindGam3 and you're leaning on the hostility and remote diagnosis pretty hard, so that could be a thing, I'll take for granted that it's not. Also, you find it hard to believe my original comment was satire, implying you believe I intend to bring a seizure machine to YC2019. There's so much Poe's law at play right now that this thread could be used as an example in schools.

I downshifted from jokes to (an attempt at!) sensitivity not to manipulate or gaslight you. Perhaps I was trying to manipulate you into feeling less upset.

I thought I pushed your buttons with my original insensitive and disrespectful comments because of the death of your family member. If that's not the case, I don't know. I've nearly forgotten what the point of all this is.

Perhaps what you consider feigning ignorance, gaslighting, and manipulation stems from me not meeting your hostility with hostility, I understand that the mere suggestion of that is probably like 4th or 5th dimensional gaslighting.

I'm happy to acknowledge some of the things I say are offensive to some people, I'll continue trying to talk to people I offend with respect, until cynicism gets the best of me and the glib persona takes over completely ;)

I'm not willing to censor myself because you want me to though, I think I spelled that out clearly enough without feigning anything.

Dude just don't worry about it. A lot of people take offense at just about anything in 2018. They victimize themselves and then just try to shift the blame on you for lack of emotional development.

Eh, I don't really want to paint him with any broad ad hominem brushes, nor do I believe that mindgam3 is feigning offense here.

It's feels icky to get autobiographical, but the major reason of why I leaned into the conversation at the expense of my pretty funny joke is because of May 22, 1998. It was the day my brother succumbed to a gunshot wound to the head inflicted by his roommate.

For a while after that, whenever a kid would allude to shooting someone in the head while talking about videogames or playing, it felt like a punch to my gut. I remember lashing out at people once or twice over it. It never brought any satisfaction, or helped with my grief. Trying to dominate the forms of communication between 5th graders to shield my heart was a silly, tyrannical proposition. If it had even worked, it would have taught me all the wrong things.

Fortunately the mere idea of not talking about headshots was well beyond the capabilities of an entire school playing goldeneye. Haha

It's good to let someone stir your tanks every once in a while. Last night I got to try striking a balance between kindness and conviction, normally it's just sarcasm and conviction.

Eventually someone is going to invent wireheading and none of this will matter. Most people will hook themselves up and never return.

If something like this was possible, wouldn't Facebook have already discovered it?

I sort of assumed that's why the bought oculus, but no, not necessarily.

To believe otherwise is to fall into the trap the economist does in the following folksy anecdote.

An economist and his friend were walking down the street when the friend spots a 100$ bill on the ground. "Hey look, a 100$ bill!" he exclaims. The economist keeps his eyes locked forward, saying "Can't be, if there were - someone would have already picked it up."

Believe in yourself and your dreams, Cyph0n.

Actually when I read the title, I assumed it implied the causality going the way that makes sense (e.g. "FB addiction linked to need for social acceptance" = "FB addiction caused by need for social acceptance").

Upon further reflection, for me, I don't think the verb "linked to" implies any particular direction of causality. I would find it reasonable to word a headline as either "diabetes linked to twizzlers" or "twizzlers linked to diabetes", even though the causality clearly can only go in one direction.

When you say it is a positive feedback loop, you already describe it as a self-augmenting vicious cycle. In such a cycle, the initial cause becomes soon less important. People might start to use a social network because they feel temporarily lonely, perhaps because they moved to another place. But if that social networks leads to people spending more time on the net than with people in real life, it very quickly contributes to that cause.

A better question to ask would be whether Facebook increases self-confidence and leads to more self-validating social interaction outside of the Internet. Given what I see and hear, I don't believe this is the case.

I wonder what happens if you remove the positive feedback loop - allow users to post and share, but remove likes, shares, comments, number of followers/friends and other 'vanity' metrics. Or, allow likes and shares but don't expose the numbers to the OP. Would a person still share or post on social networks as much as they do right now? I think that person's answer to that would suggest whether or not they use Facebook or social networks as a means for self validation.

The article states “people who believed they needed to be socially accepted in order to have worth as a person were at higher risk of using Facebook in compulsive and maladaptive way”.

"A linked to B" is a bidirectional relationship that means "B linked to A". Any interpretation of a direction is purely imaginary.

Horse linked to carriage.

Carriage linked to horse.

Use of the word "link" at all is a often big clue which says "we're careful not to assert a causal mechanism".

I think the big thing is with the internet, it makes a lot of these things much more discrete, as in, parsing information and evaluating it in chunks, rather than have a sense of continuity. Everything is either on or off, true or false, black or white. Encourages a frame of mind that selectively gathers and redistributes information. It may make sense with present 'state' but it might not make sense with respect to the humanities, respect to art, respect to many of the other sciences, history, etc. Picking up on lots of patterns and applying the data of today to fit the model. Then upvote, downvote, change the world.

What direction do you think “linked” implies?

I find no bias in this language. To me, this reads as suggesting mere correlation.

yes! it is hard for me to imagine a wholesome social network existing. it is the toxicity which is driving the engagement. It would be like selling a drug that isn’t addictive - why on earth would that be a billion dollar product?

Pain pills versus vitamins?

But, we have no social vitamins.

I'm not so sure, a Skinner Box is designed to condition its occupants. Facebook cultivates a user's thirst for validation from other users. On a much, much smaller scale, Hacker News does it with the point system. That's not surprising, everybody is going for engagement. I disagree that every obsessed Facebook user is innately hooked on approval from others. Facebook pays the big bucks, has hundreds if not thousands of employees focused on this specific goal.

On HN, I really try to ignore the points. I personally know for me, if I simply read a point of view that is valid, that is enough to stick with me such that it continues to be part of my personality, or allows me to draw from my own self in slightly stronger way - the world is accepting of me, tolerant. I don't need to encourage it to be that with points. All I need to do is see 'Is it? Or is it not?'.

People are affected and influenced because they accept it as a rule of functioning. They want to influence things in such and such a way therefore they are subject to the same tactics of manipulation. Always depends on the rules you choose to believe in about the mind. Nerves that fire together wire together, and so on.

Facebook is categorically toxic at this point.

in any scientific article, if you reverse the causation in the title and it makes more sense, the author probably made an error.

As a wise professor sitting in the audience said to the lecturer: "Normally we put the dependent variable on the Y axis".

Social media is the new smoking. Cancer destroys you physically but these sites destroy your mental health. Not just Facebook but Instagram too for example, it's even worse. And don't forget Twitter.

Totally agreed. It's just chaos, because the mind that constantly requires a reflection of itself to prove it is healthy is not a healthy mind to begin with.

Behaving in that pattern in a conditioned sense opens oneself up for all sorts of manipulation, which long term, that's quite a bit of suffering (if there's no genuine connection between members of a social group, hence, the group is prone to rapid shifts in likes/dislikes'. It becomes hard to determine intent - which makes the social environment untrustworthy, which in my opinion, is the basis of what is required for sanity. Trust. You can have that as something established over a long time, or you can have instant connection, just really 'get' someone and where they are coming from.

Facebook is an addiction. There's plenty of places on the internet that encourage healthy dialogue and it's obvious / quite plain to see what is effective and what is ultimately destructive.

I like HN a lot. So many other places on the internet, it seems like a popularity contest. Here I can get 0 or 1 upvotes but not feel ignored, not feel worse off for it.

Healing, in many regards.

Yeah, as much as people complain about hacker news' negativity - and it certainly is around - there's still a high concentration of thoughtful people interested in having respectful conversations.

Yea, it seems to occasionally bubble up, unfortunately I've noticed that happens in real life to people as well, I suppose that is what gets called passive aggressive - deep internalized, unresolved issues. Always makes my heart hurts to watch.

At the end of the day, a lot of us here are developers, engineers, programmers, still. A knack for pedantry, precision, and clarity leads to coming to, and accepting an awareness. Otherwise, bugs, bugs, bugs. Bugs everywhere. Clear thinking. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and so on.

Also you will get scolded in a meaningful way if you screw up or say really dumb things with no evidence here.

You'll get downvoted for expressing unpopular opinion, just like every other similar site.

HN used to have a general rule in the community that you don't downvote without explaining why. It was a much nicer place back then.

One has to grow to not react to it. If explanations don't make sense, you need to be able to find the right questions to ask, to be able to know what is meaningful from what is nonsense.

That's just tech in general. Or business. Anything that deals in hard facts. Hand waving bullshit without evidence or at least, validity in reasoning - that's just bad long term.

Of course the real truth though is no one can know everything. To me, that implies there's a limit where people say 'this is the line we stop thinking at, when we hit this line'. I'm curious to know whether the belief that the line exists there to begin with is there because it retains some tolerable amount of bullshit, or because some people just really aren't used to actually being aware of their own occasional idiocy.

I dunno. I don't think it's a positive long term to make people feel dumb. Probably something that gets retained because it just works, an evolutionary heuristic, not necessarily one planned for, designed, selected.

Which.. (the universe truly does have a divine sense of humor) - intelligence can literally be stupidity. Therefore, it doesn't mean whatever intelligence designates most intelligent is actually the most effective way of getting to the truth, or defining the best way to do things. Just means, it's the way things get done, until a better way is revealed or found.

That's just absurd. Maybe people with underlying psychological issues are somehow damaged by Facebook, but in my experience the majority of users (at the very least the people I know who use it) just see it as a convenient way to keep up with what friends are up to and share interesting jokes/memes, it's certainly not destroying their mental health.

If someone suffers when they see other people doing well, because their self-worth is based on comparing themselves to others, that's a character flaw. It's going to keep making their lives miserable until they learn to address it, without or without Facebook around. People blaming Facebook seems like a classic case of addressing the symptoms not the disease; some people are so unwilling to make any effort to grow and better themselves that they'll do whatever they can to find an external source of blame for the effects of their unhealthy thinking patterns. It's so much easier to think "Facebook is evil" than to think "It's not healthy for me to judge myself in comparisons to others, I should work to learn to be happy at their success".

> but in my experience the majority of users (at the very least the people I know who use it) just see it as a convenient way to keep up with what friends are up to and share interesting jokes/memes, it's certainly not destroying their mental health.

It's a distraction. And a lot of people are addicted by it, so much they feel they need to "share" what they are doing or what they are thinking at least once a day. This focus on the Self and the ubiquity of social networks makes for a phenomenon that did not exist before.

As for whether it is positive or negative, well it's a net loss of time (and mental attention since social networks tend to disrupt you the whole time with notifications) that could be spent somewhere else, and it's difficult to argue with that. Are there emotional benefits? Sure. Are such benefits more rewarding than the ones you would get from real-life networking and real-life activities? That should be the proper benchmark to use to make a judgment.

For people who have lived before social networks existed, such evaluation could take the form of a simple question "has Facebook made your life any better?".

Like any other thing in live, facebook can made your life better for some people, can make your life worse for some other. It what you make of it.

I was not suggesting a positive or negative answer. Merely a question to consider at the individual level.

The "withdrawal" of them is bad too. You're essentially forced to create a new friend base because a lot of people just won't participate in a real meaningful friendship outside of Facebook. It's like you're not a person if you're not on some form of social media.

I still type reddit.com into my browser just from muscle memory now 6-ish months after quitting.

I typed "fa"[enter] into the adress bar for a couple of weeks after quitting facebook, only to remember that I had quit.

First I felt empty, like I needed to log in, " just to see". Now, I know it was an excellent decision, I feel better and more content.

And when one's mental health diminishes, it affects everyone around them, virally.

What about TV addiction, video game addiction, addiction to foods laden with high fructose corn syrup, or an other number of “addictions”? Point here is anything can have a good effect or negative effect. Everyone on HN has an addiction to talking negatively about things people have built or are building. Very rarely is anyone speaking about the good that results from what people are working on. People have and will always gravitate towards staking self worth on social-acceptance regardless of the communication channel. Whether it is their family, friends, classmates, colleagues and interaction happens over IM, email, in school cafeterias, locker rooms, people are looking for social acceptance and depending on how that goes there is a good or bad experience with it. Nothing new here nor does Facebook have anything to do with it. Facebook exposes you to more people and it doesn’t inherently do anything to you either negatively or positively. For every negative article there are hundreds of examples of good that comes from it. (My 2 cents)

Probably due to HN demographics like myself, mostly introvert people who understandably despise social media.

> People have and will always gravitate towards staking self worth on social-acceptance regardless of the communication channel.


Incidentally I always scroll further down to look for comments that acknowledge the problem at the profound level.

Pop science, but this probably helps explain why Facebook/Snapchat/etc are so popular with the teen demographic. I'm kinda glad we didn't have any of that when I was that age. Remembering back to how insecure I felt personally, I can't really begin to imagine the pressure of being on a 'social' platform at that age.

> I can't really begin to imagine the pressure of being on a 'social' platform at that age.

Completely agree, and I’m not too far removed from the social media madness of today. My 7th-8th grade (12-14 y/o) years where during MySpace’s hay day. And, at least amongst my peers, a lot of our world revolved around it. I remember people bragging about how many “friends” they had, there were actual fights about so-and-so being in (or not) someone’s top 8, and all sorts of petty drama in bulletin’s and comments. But, it was still just kind of a fun thing, while there were arguments such people got over them and quickly forgot, nobody took it that seriously. There was still a pretty solid divide between your MySpace life and real life. Nobody was always online, you would just get on MySpace when you were bored and wanted to talk to people/post passive aggressive/super teenage angsty bulletins about your crush that doesn’t like you.

Then when I got to High School, that’s when Facebook became popular. I actually was a hold out, as I didn’t like Facebook as it didn’t feel the same, it felt more connected to real life (if that makes sense). But I eventually succumbed as nobody was getting on MySpace anymore.

Fortunately I graduated before Snapchat existed, and Instagram was just becoming popular. And I can’t even imagine what stupid bullshit all these new always online, highly intimate, and tightly connected to your real life/identity social media’s bring about. My little brother just graduated high school, and from what I could see, a lot of his and his friends interactions were through social media, with some friends trying desperately to become internet famous, and a lot of subtweeting.

I’m just glad this crap wasn’t around when I was a teen, because unlike MySpace, the things they’re posting/doing online aren’t likely to go away anytime soon (and I don’t think a lot of them realize that).

Nowadays, the only social media I actively check is instagram. I still have my Facebook, but it gets checked maybe once a week, Snapchat is installed, but I haven’t sent anything in months, really only there for when someone sends me something so they don’t ask me why I didn’t open it. But, I even feel a small pressure to engage with social media, and the dopamine hits from getting likes is still nice. I can’t imagine what teens, most of which depend greatly on peer acceptance to determine their self-worth, deal with. Though, I’m interested in seeing how these always online, social media teens, grow up, and how social media will evolve because of it.

Anecdotal note (I'm in my early twenties)

What personally amazes me is how many people treat their social profiles with the same rigor and attention as a large PR conglomerate. Everything photo took dozens of takes, every post rewritten to maximize the number of keywords. Personal Branding has taken the 'social' out of social media a la Black Mirror (nosedive).

I came here to point out nosedive. I searched just in case and voila!

Black Mirror is amazing ofc. But specifically this episode, Nosedive, should be studied and analysed in public schools.

Since modern philosophy has been teaching that reality is a social construct, why wouldn't it follow that each individual self is too? Further, we have been taught that values are socially determined (market prices, fashion, popular arts, ...) and that for the individual the highest moral compass resides in the well-being of others (e.g. utilitarianism, charity drives, altruism, welfare programs, ...).

Given this, wouldn't it be abnormal to eschew social networks and the daily, hourly, validation they provide? of course people used to seek social acceptance in person, but physical social intercourse has been shrinking, so the online world is now where we can most easily obtain it. And soon, virtual worlds will provide in even greater abundance.

This doesn't follow at all. I am very committed to the well-being of others, and donate my time and money in various ways to help, but I'm not on social media because it is so clearly a game that takes people away from their best ideals. As an example, consider people who post photos of the party they went to last night, or the vacation they took last week. There is a competition to suggest that their life is amazing. I don't judge them, and they are free to live however they wish, but that focus takes people away from the ideals of helping others.

You mention that notion that reality is a social construct. This makes me think of Jean Baudrillard[1] and his assertion that the Gulf War I did not occur, it was simply a television show that we all watched.

Baudrillard would obviously assert that Facebook is part of the Simulacra. (I don't think anyone can doubt that, so I'm not qualifying the sentence.) If one is trying to get back to something real, the path does not lead through Facebook. If one is trying to find real connections with other human beings, the path does not lead through Facebook.


Social highly-if-not-totally weights appearance over almost all other forms of human interactions.

In my experience, photos get about 10x the likes of text-based posts. We can argue the exact amount, but we all must notice that pictures get far most attention then everything else, correct?

Given this, isn't that quite obviously the wrong type of validation people should be seeking?

The superficiality of how one looks should certainly not be weighted 10x over all other aspects of one's personality, and brings to mind the worst aspects of high-school-based in/out-group mechanics.

At it's best, it's simply welfare for the rich. People who look good already get the lion's share of "likes" and attention in the real world.

It hardly seems like a good thing it should be so online as well.

There’s nothing pathological about simply seeking and obtaining social acceptance online, if that’s what you’re saying, and social acceptance is part of the self-worth equation, according to the article.

Needing people to like you has little to do with acting for the common good. It’s literally about what you can get rather than what you can give. The first think to do if you want to truly focus on others’ well-being is to stop caring what anyone has to say about who you are and what you do. Living authentically is going to make some people confused or uncomfortable. A lot of people are super judgmental and are looking for validation of their own tastes and choices.

How horrible. If I had a dime for every time somebody on the internet took a civil disagreement of opinion to an emotional level I would be a trillionaire. If this is how I qualified my self-worth I would be in a very bad place. This is also the reason I deleted my Reddit account.

God forbid you offer technical advise or attempt to explain a complex subject and the answer somehow becomes extremely political. The biggest example I remember is the folks at r/programming really REALLY want WASM to replace JavaScript. I, being a long time JavaScript programmer, explained how WASM isn't replacing JavaScript for technical reasons and the stated goals around that technology. Immediate emotional failure on an epic scale. I could have said something about harming children and would have been less reviled. This isn't even a political subject. I imagine an actual political subreddit being quite comical.

People get emotional online for all kinds of reasons. PRO TIP: there are many people online that cannot follow a conversation, possibly their own conversation, or who have trouble with basic reading comprehension. ANOTHER PRO TIP: echo chambers and conformity are very real qualities that easily feel threatened for nonthreatening reasons.

I know that some people do have real emotion behind their posts, but I also know some people who read emotion from text when there isn't any at all.

e.g. "Javascript is fucking stupid" could equally be a screaming rant or just a casual comment with a group of cursing sailors.

Pretending you know what emotions someone's expressing from plaintext is basically the opposite problem of what you're talking about and is equally flawed.

I wasn't there though, so if they were leveling personal attacks because of your dissenting opinion, you were likely correct about the emotional part.

> I could have said something about harming children and would have been less reviled.

Yes, but that's literally because people see their technologies as being more human than most humans. It's something that goes down to an individuals core and is intrinsically defining of how they understand and express.

Not saying it makes sense to average Joe. Just a different breed of person.

For example, the soundness property of a language. Think about why that might be what creates the echo chamber, rather than thinking about how the echo chamber reacts when whatever contributes to verifying soundness is modified. The reaction might be a side effect, rather than an outright planned action.

When I encounter echo chambers here is what I see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conformity

It is the opposite of wanting to learn, explore, or be challenged. It is all about harmony and using people as numbers to wrap yourself in a warm comfort blanket of emotional protection and qualification. It is the very idea that an opinion is truth when it can be made popular or false if it can be demonized by a congregation, particularly when every conversation is a contest with emotional validation as the prize.

When emotional harmony becomes more important than the subject matter of discussion I am done.

I agree, but this is the root of my dilemma from which my own understanding has grown.

If I agree with you right here and now, have we not technically formed our own 'echo chamber'?

Echo chambers from the outside look like inside out fishbowls because they are. But every set of agreeable statements, whether shared between individuals or distributed through time, same system - pieces are just labeled differently.

However, I do understand the emotional feeling that occurs when conforming is heavily pressured, from nearly every side. That's disharmonous emotionally to the people it is disharmonous to. The ones who get silenced.

I understand both sides. Can't say I know more than that. Can't say I have an opinion on the matter because it goes beyond the facts.

Another way to look at the problem: are math and logic an echo chamber?

> If I agree with you right here and now, have we not technically formed our own 'echo chamber'?

Good point, but no.

Agreement is not necessarily an indication of conformance. You have to also consider to what degree that agreement, or disagreement, must be exercised. I agree and disagree with many political opinions, but I don't join groups who share my political opinions. My personal opinions often remain personal. Even if I did join a group of politically like-minded persons I would not go on regular protests to merely advertise my opinion. I certainly wouldn't take it to a higher level by going to a counter-protest or berating those I disagree with.

Typically the more important and advertised a social agreement becomes the less it is about the subject matter agreed upon and the more it is about exercising forced social norms of a group. In math and logic agreement is attained by a proof and not by some social pressure to force a predetermined outcome.

> In math and logic agreement is attained by a proof.

Of course I agree with this. Just makes me think of bad ways of understanding math and logic. Having to carry it around inside myself as though I am it, because nothing else besides myself, others like myself, and actual computers can test the understanding. Proofs can be written with the utmost rigor. There's still room for error. No proof is perfect.

I'm not sure if that's more so, an artistic interpretation of mathematics and logic, or, just the other side to it. Even if my memory was eidetic and I knew all there was to know about all existing mathematics and logic, I'm still not sure I'd be certain I know what I know. What's the difference between seeing a connection between two pieces of data, and identifying an inferential rule? Direction, intentional direction. Backwards chaining.


> and not by some social pressure to force a predetermined outcome

This is what I always find, I dunno, bizarre. It really seems like, overriding thinking in favor of something, some way of forcing an outcome.

> Having to carry it around inside myself as though I am it, because nothing else besides myself, others like myself, and actual computers can test the understanding.

I think that is an overly simplistic view. Perhaps the way to think about this is not an isolated fragment in the form of an abstraction but rather a product you can hold your in hands. You can test your understanding of that product in various ways and use it perform various tasks beyond which it was designed to achieve. These processes require problem solving and creativity which are forms of originality. Originality is a very lonely place, but its great when it solves a problem and reveals a reward. What is the greater virtue: solving for loneliness or solving for the problem?

This is better explained in the introduction to Nicomachean Ethics. http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%...

Essentially a tool is of use for its own sake, an intermediate use, or existing solely for the use of something else. That which is of use for its own sake has the highest utility value while that which is only existent to benefit something else has the lowest utility value.

It seems, though, your thoughts are more concerning potential unity around theoretical concepts. For that I recommend reading upon Intellectual Virtue as an achievable ethic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicomachean_Ethics#Book_VI:_In...

Stoicism is the closest I can get away from appealing to emotional harmony blindly (choose the happy way now but potentially make a grave error by doing so).

Thinking about things that aren't presented with a face... one face or many.

Unity with concepts. Read Nichomachean ethics in college, but funnily enough now that I look at it, the professors may have found much more literal value in it than did the students.

Humor, the Greeks, educational systems. Life, sigh.

The directions things go in.

/r/programming is the most toxic programming-related group/forum/board I've ever seen.

Incidentally, I think part of the communication problem is that commenter #2 read commenter #1's comment, plus a bunch of other people's comments that color the interpretation of commenter #1's statement. It only gets worse as your comment ages and whole discussions evolve around it.

Wow, this topic is so relevant to me.

I felt that I've became obsessed with "likes" recently on Reddit. Well, they call it karma. But, same thing.

Karma points are kinda hard to get. Mainly because there are 3 things that has to happen -

1. Write your comment early enough 2. Write something witty enough 3. The thread needs to become somewhat popular

Sports threads, mainly Game threads, are a gold mine for karma. I found, recently that I wrote things there partly because I loved the team and atmosphere (Braves fan), but also because I love refreshing and seeing all 'dem karma points.

I've became so obsessed that I realized I had a problem. Each time I go onto Reddit (the new version), my eyes immediately darts to the top right of the screen to see if I went up or down. It became distracting that I looked for ways to turn it off.

Reddit's user settings, from what I saw, doesn't have anything that will hide those points. Luckily, I could revert back to the old Reddit layout.

Funny thing is, I'm barely on the Game threads now that I cannot see those points.

- Looks top right of HN

- See karma has gone up

- Micro fistpump

- See which comment got upvoted

- Revel in own wit

- Go back to work

Substitute "Reddit" for "Hacker News". Same difference.

LOL, I just noticed I did the same thing just now. Ugh, the points.

I'm working on a site as well that has up votes. Mostly to eliminate spam.

I'm going to have the points hidden by default.

Social media knows how to play the game. It knows how to keep the herds hungry, happy, and most importantly loyal to the system. It strikes where it matters most --into the heart and mind of users. Poking the ego of 'self-worth', counting likes of social acceptance, sharing ego driven personal stories or unmattered opinions to get more and more attention and standout above the rest of the flock. Everything is a contagious fabricated reality that could be a slow poison to a naive.

The bigger picture is it doesn't matter that much because that's the purpose of the business and it is sure succeeding. But we all have our own choice, we can use it either to advantage or disadvantage. Still, somehow it is fortunate for us present generation that we are now living in a complex system that makes things simple, it will keep on progressing and we must keep up so we can enjoy the minimum substantial benefits. I think we just need to understand the rules and we'll be OK.

Facebook is a cesspit. How did people come to see it as somewhere acceptable - a walled garden, akin to AOL circa 1997. Awful,

Besides, what if it's not addiction, but something worse!


The most surprising thing to me about this report is that it was self reported. I have no doubt that there are an immense, and seemingly increasing, number of people that stake their self worth on social acceptance. What is surprising to me is that people do this while being consciously aware of it!

To clarify for anyone reading this comment, self-reported means data obtained by questionnaires rather than observation by trained assessors. The key take-away is this paragraph:

""" In other words, people who agreed with statements such as “My self-esteem depends on the opinions others hold of me” tended to also agree with statements such as “I spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook”, “I am using Facebook in order to forget my personal problems”, and “I use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on my job or studies.” """

So they were self-reporting is their feelings toward facebook and their feelings about their self-esteem, they weren't self-reporting the connection. They may not be aware of the connection between the two.

I'd like to see this replicated with a few tweaks for the « I am using $x » where $x could be porn, bets, games, books.. any means of escapism.

Important comment. I was just trying to figure out how using a self-reported survey to assess whether respondents have an underlying need for personal attention from others is not the most basic example of sample bias ever conceived of.

The general early childhood emphasis on "pro-social," behaviors and performative identity is almost certainly creating generations of incompetent narcissists, but the way to test that hypothesis is probably not by offering them validation in exchange for their opinion, unless you are measuring them against an isolated control group.

I think this is by no means a new phenomenon. We as humans have staked our self-worth on social acceptance for millenia, seeing how we are social animals and most of our successes were the consequence of our societal organization.

What Facebook might have changed is whom our peers who we derive social acceptance are. That peer group seems to have changed from people close both as proximity and emotionally to people further away from us, who might not care as much about out emotional well being and feelings.

That is a very interesting idea; I'd also say it makes things more scary. Social media might not necessarily creating something new but it is abusing circuits that had already been instilled by evolution - quite powerful and important circuits at that.

This is a really interesting idea, but I have a fundamental disagreement about society. I completely agree that small groups (family and very small collections of families) would have relied on social acceptance as being important, but I would argue that the giant leap forward that actually created society was specifically working with people without concern for acceptance.

Look at chimps for instance. They also form these very small groups that can number in the tens of chimps. But their little groups are based almost entirely on acceptance and domination, and it prevents them from developing further. They instead just go to war and kill other chimp groups that reach these comparable sizes. And it never ends. They cannot seem to get over 'in group good, out group die'.

By contrast, it seems extremely likely that we all started extremely similarly but at some point realized that instead of each of our little in groups killing each other, if we worked together we would become even stronger and able to kill even more groups to our mutual benefit. Add in some basic rules we agree to abide by, and you have what would be the seed of what would become 'society.'

So as paradoxical as it sounds, I would argue that directly seeking approval as a means of self affirmation could even be a regression away from what creates society. Because working with the 'enemy' is hardly socially acceptable, yet that is precisely what's required for societies to continue to function. You'll never be accepted by everybody so it drives people into ever smaller insular chambers, which then go to metaphorical war with all the other groups, that may over time become less metaphorical. Come to think of it, this does not really seem all that far off from the state of contemporary society.

So I would hypothesize something relatively similar sounding, but fundamentally different. In that social media is perhaps driving some to form these 'chimp style' groups, yet the nature of the internet and worldwide communication has turned these warring insular groups drive largely by acceptance, from the tens of people into the millions of people.

Facebook, reddit, twitter, blind are like halfway betazoid telepathy on start trek. If you knew exactly how others judged you internally without them saying it, you would be devastated as a human. But the betazoids were fine. Maybe we just need time to develop coping mechanisms.

> But the betazoids were fine

They’re also fictional. Privacy, i.e. the ability to hold thoughts and preferences to oneself, is intrinsically linked to agency. If everyone is looking for acceptance, we lose our places for madmen and geniuses.

>Maybe we just need time to develop coping mechanisms.

There is a well known coping mechanism - "Don't do it". Works pretty well for anything addictive. Requires rational thinking and self-discipline, though.

It's easy for writers to create a species that supposedly has a working society without figuring out the details of it, or even demonstrating that the details can be figured out. I furthermore suspect that several races are actually unworkable in the way they've been presented. Take the race from Darmok, whose entire method of communication is referencing scenes from history, and who don't seem to have any method of communicating mathematics or quantities; how could they develop civilization and technology to the point of building spaceships? Does every engineer have to learn the strength of every joint, the power requirements of every component, by reverse engineering, or what? It seems others have made this complaint before, and someone spends a whole article arguing that it's possible if we assume they're just extremely sophisticated[1]. (One also wonders how the Klingons managed to develop spacefaring technology while holding their scientists and engineers in contempt.)

Star Trek has enough WTFs with biology (see e.g. "Genesis", where some virus that alters people's DNA causes extreme body modification including bone growth over a period of a few days, and changing their DNA back to normal also undoes all the body modification; everyone who's lost a limb wishes DNA worked that way) and physics (to give just one example: in "The Next Phase", Geordi is "phased out" and can walk through walls but doesn't fall through the floor; [2] claims the writers had an explanation that was cut from the episode, but the comments poke further holes in it), not to mention other plot holes (e.g. in DS9, in "Tears of the Prophets" the Dominion has created a bunch of cheap and powerful orbital weapon platforms that should turn the tide of the war with the Federation; the main characters manage to plant a Federation warp signature on their power source and cause the automated weapon platforms to destroy it, after which the Federation destroys the platforms and retakes that one system; patching this vulnerability should be trivial and there is no reason the Dominion shouldn't start setting up orbital weapon platforms in all their other systems, but they don't, as if some dumb villain said "You have failed me!" and killed the underling and scrapped the project (and as if the Federation knows this happened, because we never see anyone say "Gosh, what'll we do if the Dominion makes more weapon platforms programmed to never shoot their power source no matter its warp signature?"), but we don't see that scene; but then for some reason you see a few more platforms in one system a year later when it's too late to matter), that I put "the writers didn't seriously think it through" near the top of my list of explanations whenever something doesn't make sense to me. So I wouldn't take the depiction of Betazoids to be evidence that Betazoids could work as depicted.

To play devil's advocate with the Betazoids: telepathy might make tyranny much more workable, if you can use it to detect any signs of betrayal, and beat people into submission until you can tell that they are fully cowed. You might, then, expect a stagnant society dominated by a despot and his loyal henchmen. On the other hand, maybe they could take the strategy of feeling completely cowed, but then, when they happen to see the tyrant in a vulnerable position, suddenly feeling strong and vengeful; the propensity to react in that way isn't an emotion, so the tyrant might not be able to detect it. (I think some humans have that kind of reaction for similar reasons.) Who knows. (Or maybe they gave themselves telepathy via genetic engineering after they'd developed spacefaring and had a stable, non-tyrannical society.) We don't actually have proof yet that humans will reach the point of colonizing other planets, though it does seem plausible.

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/06/st...

[2] https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/5798/why-didnt-geo...

Someone needs to figure out a way to clone Facebook circa 2005 and just call the site something other than 'Facebook'. Back then it was an amazing resource for university students and only allowed people with .edu email addresses from more reputable schools to join. You could use Facebook to access your course schedule and see lists of everyone that was in each of your classes. Gradually they relaxed the rules and started allowing faculty to join, then junior college students, etc.

People should get rid of facebook.. not because of your privacy, but for your own state of mind. Teenagers should not be on such platforms as the social norm will change and grow.

I actually had a discussion today about someone considering whether they should say "Happy birthday" because that other person didn't do that previously.

Finally my response was "who gives a shit, it's Facebook, it doesn't fucking matter. Just unfriend her instead of bitching about it."

That didn't resonate very well and the person had a very sullen attitude. but I stand by my statement. Facebook isn't that important.

They were probably more upset at your rude tone than your stance on facebook.

A nicer way to say it: "It's just facebook so i wouldnt worry about it. Do whatever you think is right and if theyre your friend in sure they'll appreciate it"

The person just wouldn't drop the issue and I did approach it softer and even attempted to change the subject. After 5 minutes of complaining about something so trivial I had enough. This is not the first time this person has obsessed and complained about something on Facebook.

And I totally agree at that point I was rude

Anything about Twitter addiction? [That would avoid me the cost of a psychotherapy]

Hacker News addiction linked to staking your self-worth on...

I came here to say this exactly. I'm only a hobbyist programmer even though I'm pretty darn good in my niche technical (non-programming) field. But almost every time I jump into the comments section my self-worth goes down a bit and I feel just a bit worse because really this is a community of programmers. And even though I'm not a programmer, I do write computer programs occasionally, and quite often I see people calling out my style of programming as the worst thing in the world.

I have a side business, but I haven't created fifteen startups with successful exits, so I feel less important than a lot of people here.

I don't have a Dell XPS 13 Developers Edition running Arch, so I'm not as pure as a lot of people here.

I use Facebook and not Mastodon, so I'm a sheep contributing to the downfall of society.

I live in the Midwest, where nothing happens and land is worthless and colleges are even worse and we don't even have the Internet here do we?

If you think Facebook or Snapchat or Instagram are damaging to the self-worth of its consumers, try being someone who doesn't live in SV and 10x some Phoenix/Elixir at an AI-owned biomed non-profit stealth-mode VC-backed startup collective. I've never even wheeled a suitcase into Paul Graham's office! I'm basically worthless.

I remember using Facebook in 2008, and creating a group for my class. I advertised so that people could join it.

It went horribly and a couple of student started insulting me for stupid things in the Facebook class group. It scarred me psychologically and emotionally, and I stopped using Facebook altogether and removed my account.

Until there is true and real accountability for things you say online, using real names should not be a standard. Facebook is a real example of murky online behavior. It's a haven for bullies and other tough playing egos. It's going to poison the internet for a long time.

Seems right, but borders on being tautological.

Considering the number of GoFundMe's I see for basic medical care, staking one's self-worth on social acceptance is not some weird psychological delusion. In this economy and country, social acceptance is the difference between life and death.

Somewhat ironically, the higher up you get on the socioeconomic hierarchy, the less true that is. Both in the obvious way (rich people have these little tokens called "dollars" that will make a surprising number of people and organizations do your bidding, particularly institutions like hospitals, colleges, and politicians), and in a much less obvious way: the most effective approach to acquiring these dollars is to become the monopoly provider for a good that lots of people need, and if you don't have lots of capital to buy up real estate and such, the most effective way to do that is often to seek out psychological desires that people have but don't want to admit they have (for example, being liked by everyone) and provide that.

Yes, this is part of what makes social mobility hard. To move up the socioeconomic strata, you often have to abandon values that were essential to survival or self-worth at lower levels.

In related news, work addiction linked to staking your self worth on your bank balance.

the real question is, is it intentional as a means of social control? I noticed that the messenger app intentionally delays messages at a rate that is linked to dopamine ups/down -- when another person sent me a message, and I went to another area of the website, and paused, there message would "appear" right when I lost interest, re-engaging me into facebook -- so there is some kind of thought put into creating a feedback loop to stay addicted to the platform. That, and the facebook scientists who were caught screwing with people's minds via social experiments years back and actually openly published their results, with zero ethical considerations, leads me to be concerned that this might also be some kind of sinister plot to control dehumanize subjects on their platform.

How do free/open alternatives like Mastodon avoid this problem?

Not entirely, in so far it's happening when you provide the means to compare filtered perspectives on others' lives to yours.

They do by not having the business pressure to optimize for an engagement, which leads to artificially highlighting things, hiding negative personal posts, push-notifications and e-mails to pull people back in when they stay away for a day or two, ...

HNers: Others studies relating to this?

What would hacker news addiction be?

Black Mirror... Social scoring.

That's a bit much

I think one’s self worth is intrinsically linked to acceptance, with or without Facebook, especially in younger people. FB (and others like it) just exploited the weakness.

What about HN's addiction to news about facebook? I thought after a year of relentless facebook spam, we were past this. Now the top two posts are about facebook. We have to kick this habit.

1) It's a phenomenally successful tech company.

2) It's not uncommon in HN to dislike and/or distrust Facebook.

When facebook stops being an important facet in many peoples lives, we can stop talking about it. Until then, we cant.

My understanding is that humans have evolved to stake their self worth on social acceptance. Facebook just capitalizes on this need that we all have. It's the natural extension of capitalism and why pure capitalism without regulation is evil.

Could you elaborate on the connection with capitalism?

Capitalism = capitalizing on resources to make a profit. Facebook capitalizes on our need for social acceptance to make a profit.

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