Study: Social Media Making People Anti-Social, Jealous

Could social media be making people more anti-social?

Many people who use social media may go to desperate lengths to receive “likes” from followers, the study found.

The social media boom continues to make it easier than ever to stay in touch with loved ones in real time. But with the flourishing of new technology and the ability to be connected to anyone and everyone at any time, real-life human interactions could be suffering a heavy blow.

A recent global study conducted by Kasperksy Lab reveals that social media users are interacting less face-to-face than in the past because of this newfound ability to constantly communicate and stay in touch online. In the study, researchers found that about one-third of people communicate less with their parents (31%), partners (23%), children (33%) and friends (35%) because they can simply follow them on social media. This may be doing more harm than good, in a world where editing one’s life to make it appear perfect is more appealing than naturally existing.

“Under certain circumstances they perceive their online communication as ‘hyper-personal communication’ and thus they can misread and over-interpret the messages on social media,” said Dr. Astrid Carolus, Media Psychologist at the University of Würzburg. “We feel especially close, we blind out the rather negative, focus on the possible positive intentions behind a message, and over-interpret.” 

The study was conducted between October and November of last year among 16,750 participants, split evenly between men and women at least 16 years old from 18 countries, each of whom was surveyed online.

Participants were surveyed on the types of items they post on social media and the types of posts from others that have positive or negative influences on their moods. They were also asked about things they might do if meant obtaining more “likes” from their followers, including such things as posting salacious photos of friends or co-workers, or revealing sensitive information about someone else.

Many participants made it clear that social media made them jealous of others. Nearly 60% of the participants viewed a friend as having a better life than their own simply by seeing that friend’s social media activity, and almost half were upset after viewing photos from a friend’s happy holiday celebration.

The study also found that “people go on social media to feel better.” Half of the participants reported using the outlets as a means to post optimistic things, and 61% said they go on to post things that make them smile.

Researchers ultimately found that many people will go to harmful lengths simply to win “likes” from followers. “This study has shown us that in order to generate more likes and feel better about the time they spend on social media, people are being tempted into sharing more information; potentially putting themselves and the people they care about at risk,” the authors concluded.

Among the findings:

  • 61% of the participants felt worse after finding out someone “unfriended” them, and 59% were upset after someone posted a negative or critical comment on their profile
  • 57% said after going on social media they’ve felt that someone they follow has a better life than they do
  • 59% felt sad after seeing photos from a party they didn’t attend posted on social media and 45% were unhappy after seeing photos from a friend’s happy holiday outing
  • 58% were angered by a photo a friend posted of them online that they didn’t want made public
  • 54% felt upset when no one liked or commented on a photo they posted
  • 42% were jealous when they saw a friend had more likes or comments than they did on a status update
  • Just 31% of people aren’t bothered by the number of likes they receive on a post
  • 24% of men said they worry that if they get few like, their friends will think that they are unpopular, compared to one-in-six (17%) women
  • To get more likes, 32% of men said they’d post something funny about a friend, compared to 21% of women

What do you think about this study? Do you notice social media taking a toll in your relationships?


  1. I find that FB messes with my mind. Worrying about stuff that doesn’t matter outside of FB. I imagine it’s pretty common. Anyway, I deactivated today. I got back on for two weeks for a certain reason, before that I was off for over 6 months. I felt so much better off it. When I got back on, it was just the same emotional politics, and I was sucked right back in again. What bugs me the most is the people who are lovely to you on the walls, “I missed you!”, but ignore you in private messages. Either I’m misreading their friendship, or everyone is just a damn tool.

  2. 59% felt unhappy when someone posted something negative about them? So 41% of people enjoyed it? This “study” is total crap

  3. This study is bang on. I stopped posting anything on Facebook because with nobody liking or commenting I felt that no one cared or bothered about me. So then I thought well what’s the point? Also having to read friends statuses such as “look at my new house” or “check out my vacation that I got to go on, because I’m so much more successful than you!” Was just so depressing that I unfollowed everybody.

  4. I was s pioneer using Facebook to network staffing event marketing events nationwide starting in 2005. I could get events staffed for indusyry agencies from a computer lab at IPFW or my house free of charge (nuts, I know)! Facebook kept deleting my accounts, telling me I was “violating terms and conditions” and that people were complaining that networking made me “a creep and a predator”. Fast forwatd to 2017, Facebook is dominated by those same hypicrite souls reinventing my wheel with impunity! I quit Facebook over two years ago having accrued thousands of “friends”, “followers”, “likes”. The vast majority I didn’t know. No worry. I don’t miss them. And, they sure don’t miss me!

  5. Its just sad that people are so unfulfilled in their daily lives they need a thumbs up icon just to feel validated.

  6. I’m not convinced things were better when folks lived in small villages where fat cats lived well, the hoi polloi barey hung in there, and busybodies could ruin your life with shunning, rumors, etc.

    I’m not sure living in big city slums was better, either, whether London or New York. Anomie is an enemy that enters many domains. FB is a tool that, like most, can be used or abused.

    Praying to God/Odin/Talking-Tree 24/7 would have negative consequences, too. Like starving.

  7. Being “unfriended” wouldn’t bother me.
    Unless, of course, it was my wife doing the “unfriending.”
    That’d be right up there with if she would change her relationship status to “It’s complicated.”

  8. Social meedja, where access meets anonymity and people “meet” to compare lies and illusions about themselves.

  9. I trust no one under the age of 50. People born after 1980 are a bunch of whiny panzy momma’s boys or entitlement sucking femi-nazis. There is no hope for America or Europe. You children blew your inheritance.

  10. Who needs Fakebook? A bottle of Jim Beam and Drudge Report is my daily routine. Don’t need no friends, real or otherwise.

  11. The surprising thing about the findings of the study in this article is that so many people are jealous of their friends! Here is a clue: if you are jealous of the happiness of your friends and family, you need to look at your self. Being jealous of others is not healthy. I don’t feel jealous – I feel really happy when I see photos of my friends enjoying themselves, because I want them to be having a good time in their lives. I like FB because it enables me to keep in touch with people, even when I’m busy. If a friend is having a difficult time I want to know it so I can be there for them.

    1. Yes but why do people feel the need to put everything on FB? What about that friend that doesn’t like to air their laundry? What could you do to go out of your way to see if they are alright since they won’t post it on FB?

  12. Social media. What a crock of crapola. I tossed my smart phone four years ago, don’t have any accounts on any website, and go to the library when I want to answer a questions. Wikipedia just doesn’t hack it. OK. I’m old-fashioned, but it is by choice. I’ve watched the slow destruction of a generation’s socialization because their little heads are constantly bent over their phones, pads, watches, whatever. The comments I here at our local bars, which attract a ton of college kids, are laughable. How in the hell are these people going to run a company or a country, or even work in one, when they need crayons and safe places to get over electing Trump or because there are plastic bags floating in the ocean. The mindless protests over . . . what, just point out the lack of intelligence to go with their over-blown emotions. THANK GOD we still have enough men with guts and brains to serve in the military or China would be on our doorstep.

  13. Take away the visual cues of human communication. What we are left with are fractional shells of ourselves, we have been in this form on this planet for several hundred thousand years. For a female one of the best skills is reading emotion. An average Woman can read the emotional cues of a person’s face before she could recognize that same person. Men have these senses as well. Without these evolved skills being utilized our minds simply create tone, or intent where there is none just to make sense of the world.

  14. I just use FFB to log in to reply to dumb a.. comments. Don’t understand the purpose of ffb, unless it is to help people with big egos. Because I don’t really f..king care if anyone knows what the hell I am doing or approves. What I really don’t understand this “FRIEND” BS, SEEMS LIKE A BUNCH OF CRAP. YOU know your friends and they sure as hell are people that you don’t even know.

  15. I use social media to create in person contacts. I know several dozen people, in the flesh world, I would not know, if not for social media. Yet, sometimes it can take over too much of your time. I stepped back from it recently, but not for good.

  16. This is news? People have been saying this since my space came out. Social Media. Thing you can hide behind to be a bully.

  17. Who’s funding this study? Because I think it’s ridiculous that somebody (probably some government busybody) would fund a study in which practically everyone already knew the answer.

    1. I remember being briefed in 2003, the USAF was studying why women complain more than men when getting Anthrax prevention shots. When I answered that the cliche “boys don’t cry” would have saved govt dollars, they nearly tossed me out of the briefing.

  18. Why didnt they say anything about episode one season 3 of BLACK MIRROR? This is what this article is all about. Fantastic episode.

  19. Duh! It took a study to reveal this? Every person who knows anyone addicted to their phones/pads/computers could have told them this without spending a dime. How is this any different from those who constantly drive in their air conditioned, controlled environment vehicles versus those who walk and interact with people they pass on the street? Young cashiers or sales people in most retail outlets shows a total lack of social skills. When no interaction is required it becomes unnecessary.

  20. Howdy! I just want to give you a huge thumbs up for your excellent information you have got right here on this post.

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    1. Can I friend you? Or can you friend me? I really like your comment. I hope it improves your day…makes your life meaningful. Now. What do you think about Politics?

  21. How many times must someone point out that correlation is not causation? It could be just as possible that jealous people use social media more instead of social media causing jealousy. Without an experiment or cross-lagged time comparison, a survey can never settle this.

  22. I have quit all social media except Instagram. I got to the point where I was blocking people (including immediate family) because reading their posts was so distressing.

    I found that Facebook made people overly aggressive and caused/allowed them to say things they would never say face to face. I have found that my life has improved and I actually do stay in better touch with the people I care about.

  23. Some years ago, FB might have been out a year, a musician friend asked me to “friend” him. Curious, I signed up, did as he asked, then I got dozens of friend requests, not one from people I knew. I replied by asking who they were, and why would they want to “friend” me? After not getting back one reply that made sense, I cancelled the account. All in less than 24 hours. Creepy.
    As the years passed, I heard one horror story after another how people would say things they shouldn’t, too personal, taken the wrong way, attacked for being on the wrong side of an argument, their political views, their social views, pressured as to who to “friend” or “unfreind”…Really creepy.
    FB is worse than a waste of time, it’s an electronic gossip board. A Jumbo-Tron-sized, politically correct gossip board. No thanks.

  24. Social media is a sewer due to the fact that on the internet, people are willing to say things they’d never get away with face to face. They make it clear what kind of people they really are. The vast majority of social media “friends” are not friends at all; people have never met them, and couldn’t pick them out in a crowd. This is another reason social media is a complete waste of time, although it feeds fragile, narcissistic egos and make people think they’re important.

  25. A waste and non-productive time. The entertainment media is inherently fake because it is predominantly made up of people paid enormous amounts just to play pretend (i.e someone else). Fakebook is an offshoot intended to suck in average people who will embellish their lives just to make their fake lives appear more desirable. Others try to keep up by living vicariously through the fakers. It is all fake.

  26. If you’re politically oriented, get on (it’s anonymous) and post thoughtful, informing comments on the opposing party’s sites. If you’re liberal, post on conservative sites and vice versa. You will rarely get likes, in fact, many people will be extremely nasty to you. I’ve found that staying polite, with perhaps a slight sarcastic edge to your comment, will irk people even more. Anyway, after a while, you won’t be bothered by the lack of likes or the nastiness. You will become immune almost.

    Also, instead of spending so much time on social media, you should work to get yourself some mad skills – learn to sculpt, animate, paint, read a book, write a book, etc.. You will be happier.

  27. I don’t use any social media. I feel great. Need to contact me? Drive on over or call. It eliminates all the drama too!

    1. Kids would say dad why don’t you text me back when I text you, my answer is the phone has a receiver and transmitter, use those instead.

  28. Quit F*ckbook after years of dealing with adults acting like 12 year old girls with self-esteem issues. And you spend most of your time trying to defend yourself as they vomit on everything you post. Huge waste of time.

  29. “friends are a self created illusion for the most part.The goal, whether obvious or not , of the poster is usually “all about me”Sometimes its within the acceptable norms,but I see many times it shows them as not so admirable .Im subject to the same motivations.I find most people more likeable the less I really know about them and probably visa versa.

  30. I refuse to leave FB. I don’t post embarrassing pictures of people, I don’t talk trash about people I know, and I don’t feel terrible if I see someone with better “stuff” than I have. If someone “unfriends me” because of something I posted, so be it. I am reminded that Alexander Solzhenitsyn spoke of being unable to stand up to the Soviet regime at least partly because the citizenry had no way to communicate with each other. They were force-fed “news” by the official Communist Party information machine, and whatever whispers that might go around couldn’t compete. Social media gives an avenue for people to communicate outside of the traditional one-way mass media of newspapers and television.

  31. I recently went through my own evaluation of FB experiences. The election brought out a huge amount of discord showing hate, hypocracy, half-truths and hyperbole that made me question my friend’s and acquaintances intelligence. I questioned how this was making my life better and concluded that disconnecting was the best thing for my health. I no longer try go to sleep with endless thoughts going through my head.

    1. Nothing prevents a thing arising from various causes in various respects, and accordingly hatred may arise BOTH from anger AND from envy. However it arises MORE directly from envy, which looks upon the very good of our neighbor AS displeasing and therefore hateful, whereas hatred arises from anger by way of increase. For at first, through anger, we desire our neighbor’s evil according to a certain measure, that is in so far as that evil has the aspect OF vengeance: but afterwards, through the continuance of anger, man goes so far as absolutely to desire his neighbor’s evil, which desire IS part of hatred. Wherefore it is evident that hatred IS caused by envy formally as regards the aspect of the object, but dispositively by anger.
      St. Thomas Aquinas

      1. “Friend’s” and “acquaintance’s” are the correct grammar use if the words are singular. “Friend’s” having an apostrophe “s” means of a single friend, friends’ having an “s” apostrophe means multiple friends.

        This is to clarify grammar use before you get flamed. ((:=))

  32. If you have these kinds of attitudes and use Facebook to promote your popularity chances are you’re doing the same thing in real life in one way or another. Painting an entirely negative image of social media leaves out facts by the barrel. I believe the person who wrote this report suffers from the same kind of negative attention seeking they are hammering in others. The “I’m above that stuff” attitude is exactly what drives the Fakebook as some described it. Being above all that petty stuff and going to the trouble of pointing out to the world is exactly what the writer is knocking in others.

    If you use social media to let people know when you fed your cat you probably need to get a life. But there are plenty of people unable to get out and socialize. For those people having access to old friends and making nenw friends through social media is far better than sitting around with no human contact. And there are worthwhile pursuits on social media also. I belong to a group dedicated to preserving local history. That’s hardly the same as slandering friends and family for fun.

    Like every other thing on the planet it is what you make of it. I’ve been able to share information I’ve gathered over decades concerning local history and there are people who are happy to read about it and see the images I’ve collected. That’s a far cry from chit chat and pet jokes some people spend their time with. There is also political discourse which BTW oru democracy depends on.

    It’s almost always someone with access to some other means of informing the world that takes on the use of social media as flawed. Humans are flawed. Duh! They also aspire and achieve and many use social media to those ends. I’ll prove my point this way. Where’s the equivalent “study” on people who use social media in a positive way? Without that balance isn’t what this report about nothing more than bashing people to get attention? Just so you know if this was on FB I would NOT like your post. It focuses too much on the negative. That’s always too easy to do. Getting attention by bashing others is exactly what you decry but you have done exactly that.

    1. I’m not a social media user, but I think you have some good points about beneficial uses for social media.

      However, I also think the end of your comment shows how social media can transform perception. Who cares if you wouldn’t “like” a post? As if number of “likes” are the ultimate determinant of something’s worth. Then, the assumption that the real purpose of the article is “getting attention,” as many posts on social media clearly are! Notably or not, that never even entered my Facebook-free mind.

      1. Good points all. I’ve been in IT for 8 years now professionally and never had a FB account. We have always seen FB as an immature site for egomaniacs.

        1. LOL, I’m with you. I was an IT professional for almost 40 years, and FB is for kiddies. If I become needy of attention, I’ll build my own blog on a Linux Server.

          1. I was a well paid computer consultant for many years myself and I never had any desire to join the giddy kiddies who thought going to the store was a big event. It was mostly a tool for a large corporation to spy on people and sell their data to advertisers anyway. I only joined because someone else established a local history site and that is something I have always been involved with so I joined strictly to make use of that forum. I don’t particularly like FB at all mainly because of all the promises that there would be no sell out when it was obvious from the start there was no other reason for creating the monster. I saw it happen several times with other social media operations before FB. I expected more of the same and I was right.

      2. I only said that because the writer of this report was seeking attention by bashing others. He was doing the same thing as those that seek the “like” button being applied to their posts. I used the term merely to give the reporter back some of what he’s dishing out which is negativity in regards to others.

    2. Hey Jeff, when is pointing out a problem with something not “bashing others” ? I have been saying for years that social media is a curse. I even gave it a label = disassociative connectivity, which I describe as ‘being so in-touch that you lose connection with the real world.” It’s everywhere. I was at a restaurant recently and the table across from me had four people all fixated on their cellphones or the trendy table-top tech the restaurant offers. Driving recently, I watched a dipstick looking away from the road to tinker with his cellphone and people with their heads down as they walk texting or whatever. You are absolutely right that there are lots of great things social media offers, but denying that it undermines a lot as well and lashing out at someone pointing out it’s flaws doesn’t further the conversation.

      1. I never denied any such thing. I only pointed out that the article leaned totally to one side and never pointed out anything positive about social media. The author put down people for putting down their friends and family. Well isn’t that what he did with the whole social media world?

        Anything done to excess is bad. Social media is not new. We have been a tv nation for many decades. I saw the dangers of that when I was 5 and my mother sat me down in front of a snowy screen with barely audible sound which she did to use tv as a surrogate for actual attention. That was plenty bad. But there have been good things on tv too. And there are good things on social media. To focus strictly on the negative is unfair and counterproductive. Whats more it’s cheesy to do what he bashes in others. He put down people to gain some reward for himself.

        I remember when the internet was actually a place where scientific research was shared around the country at the blazing speed of 300 baud. I knew that could be abused too. And it was. It’s human nature and this report is unlikely to change it. Something should have been included that brought out the positive side of social media IMO. I could make the argument that the wheel was used in bad ways when it first came out. You could use wheels to run to town and get in trouble with your friends much easier if you lived on a farm. But I think it provided some positive things too.

        I was a journalism major in college. I know all about pushing certain things to get attention. In the extreme it has led to wars. So maybe I should write an article detailing how people walk around with their heads in newspapers ignoring their friends and family and walking into lamp posts. Everything is what you make of it and more power to connect was always going to be more power to disconnect too. That’s been true since the first stories were told around the campfire. People don’t always do what’s good for them. Those campfire stories led to written language. I’d say that was a positive thing in the long run but at one time it kept people from doing their work and talking to their families.

        Balance is important and muckraking is a bad thing.

    3. I couldn’t agree more. If it weren’t for the groups I’ve joined on FB I wouldn’t use it. I can barely tolerate the news feed & other friends posts scrolling on my wall. I do however really enjoy all of the subjects of the groups I’ve joined. It’s great for that, & better than any other source I’ve found to do that with.

    4. best comment I’ve read Jeff
      most of these people aren’t getting what you are saying, I think I understand where you are going with this.

      1. I have to mention that I use FB as an advertising tool for our business. It connects with so many people. This could be a very powerful messenger to the masses. However the negatives are real and one must be very careful to what you post!!!
        Check out artofhonor on facebook

  33. Was that Pic of Perez Hilton on the link who, coincidentally, trolls Milo Yiannopoulos’ Fb feed in an attempt to be relevant.

  34. Gosh, sitting in a room with a computer, typing retorts and ideas to a website somewhere in the world.
    All by yourself. Who would have thought heavy users would be anti-social?

  35. Social media is so new, yet so overwhelmingly prevalent. I think we’re seeing the beginning stages of a correction away from so much social media use. At least a small one.

  36. I’m a charter member of FB just past ten years, I haven’t missed a thing, my personal life is great. No problems. Being in the music biz gives me all all the people in the flesh I could ever hope for.

    1. TRANSLATION: “Nazis, shmazis. I met this guy Schindler and he’s great! I always judge the world by what I, personally, do and know.”

  37. Social Media – Fake News, Fake Profiles, Fake Personalities with Fake Lives! Unplug and go meet and talk to REAL people in the flesh. You might just find it far more adventuresome and fun than the Faux Friends on FAKEbook!

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