Social media is now part of the everyday fabric of our lives, but almost all of us have seen glimpses of its dark side – online trolls, fake news, invasive advertising and even envy of our friends’ glamorous lifestyles.
Social media started life as a way of staying in touch with friends and sharing happy memories. However, the results of the latest study from Kaspersky Lab indicate that social media now leaves many people feeling negative instead.
The hunt for likes plays a central role in this, with the majority of people feeling down or upset when they don’t get as many likes as they expected for a post, and with 42% saying they feel jealous when their friends get more likes than them.
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The research also shows that one in ten people would bend the truth on social media in order to get more people to like their posts, with men more likely than women to post their privacy away.
There is a growing frustration with social media. People often experience negative emotions after spending time on social media due to a variety of reasons, and these overpower the positive effects of social media.
While it is not surprising that 72% of people are annoyed by advertising that has become extremely intrusive and interrupts their online communications, the reasons for frustration go deeper.
Despite the desire to feel good from their interactions on social media, when people see their friends’ happy posts about holidays, hobbies, and parties, they are often left with the bitter feeling that other people are enjoying life more than them.
For example, 59% have felt unhappy when they have seen friends’ posts from a party they were not invited to, and 45% revealed that their friends’ holiday pictures have had a negative influence on them.
Furthermore, 37% also admitted that looking at past happy posts of their own can leave them with the feeling that their own past was better than their present life.
In addition, Kaspersky Lab’s survey has revealed that men are more likely than women to reveal something embarrassing or confidential about their co-workers, friends or employers.
According to Dr. Astrid Carolus, media psychologist at the University of Würzburg, “this is in line with the assumption of men being rather less focused on social harmony and rather more willing to take risks.”
Thus, 15% of men revealed they would post a photo of friends under the influence of alcohol compared to 8% of women.
David Mole, head of retail sales at Kaspersky Lab warns that this risky behaviour on social media can put people at risk. “Our relationship with social media has developed into a vicious cycle. We want to go onto our favourite social platforms to tell all of our connections about the positive things we are doing. But the reality is when we log onto social media we’re bombarded with images of our friends having fun, and it looks like they’re enjoying life more than us.”
He continued, that “in their search for social approval, people have stopped seeing the boundary between what it is okay to share, and what is better kept private. But it is important to protect ourselves, as well as the privacy of others. To do this, people need to become more aware about the information they share on social media and install security software on their devices to protect themselves and their loved ones from cyber threats.”
Previous research has also demonstrated peoples’ frustration with social media as 78% admitted that they have considered leaving social networks altogether.
The only thing that makes people stay on social media is the fear of losing their digital memories, such as photos, and contacts with their friends.
To help people decide more freely if they want to stay in social media or leave without losing their digital memories, Kaspersky Lab is developing a new app.
FFForget is planned for 2017 and will allow people to back up all of their memories from the social networks they use and keep them in a safe, encrypted memory container and will give people the freedom to leave any network whenever they want, without losing what belongs to them – their digital lives.
Has society begun to reach a tipping point in the social media age?