Shoaib Mahmud

The Dark psychology of social media: how Facebook keeps us coming back

dark media

Facebook can be a great tool for staying connected with friends and family, also it’s important to understand & be aware of the darker effects!

Facebook is designed to be addictive. UX Designers, Engineers have spent years tweaking the platform to keep us engaged, and it’s worked phenomenally well.

But what are the consequences of being so hooked on social media? And what can we do about it? In this post, we’ll explore the dark psychology of Facebook and how to break free from its clutches.

Facebook’s screendoor effect

Scrolling through our News Feed, we’re constantly bombarded with new posts, photos, and updates from our friends. As a result, we can’t help but keep scrolling down in an effort to see what’s new.

This is known as the screendoor effect — the idea that we’re constantly glimpsing new content, just like we would if we were looking through a screen door. And it’s this very design that keeps us coming back for more.

Facebook knows that the more engaged we are, the more likely we are to keep using their platform. So it’s no wonder that they’ve become one of the most successful companies in the world.

The autoplay feature

It’s no secret that Facebook relies on algorithms to keep us engaged. But did you know that one of those tricks is the Autoplay feature?

When videos are Autoplaying, they start playing automatically as soon as they appear on-screen. This means that even if you don’t want to watch a video, you’re likely to see it anyway — and once it’s started, it’s hard to stop.

This is part of Facebook’s design philosophy; by keeping us engaged, we’re more likely to keep coming back. So the next time you’re scrolling through your Newsfeed and a video starts playing, remember that it’s not an accident!

Infinite scrolling

alone
Depressed!

The infinite scrolling function, for example, ensures that we never run out of content to look at. And the News Feed algorithm ensures that we only see posts that are likely to interest us.

This, of course, is by design. Facebook’s business model relies on keeping us hooked so that we’ll keep using the site — and spending money on ads. So while it’s natural to feel a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) when we see our friends’ posts, remember that it’s all part of a larger strategy to keep us coming back.

The like button

One of the most subtly addictive features of Facebook is the Like button. When you click it, a tiny dopamine rush is released in your brain, making you feel good and incentivizing you to keep clicking. This is because the more Likes a post has, the more likely it is to show up in other people’s News Feeds, which then leads to more engagement (and more Likes).

This is one of the ways Facebook keeps us coming back for more. By exploiting our need for social approval, it ensures that we’ll keep checking our News Feeds for new content. So next time you’re scrolling through Facebook and see that little thumbs-up icon, remember that it’s not as innocent as it seems!

Facebook’s algorithm

Its algorithms are specifically tailored to keep us engaged. One of the ways Facebook does this is by showing us content we’re likely to react to. For example, the site will show us posts from our friends and family more often than posts from brands or news sources. This is because Facebook knows that we’re more likely to react positively to content from people we know than from strangers.

Facebook also uses something called “engagement bait” to keep us coming back. This is a type of post that asks for our reaction, such as “Like if you agree!” or “Share if you miss your mom!” Posts like this are designed to get us to engage with the content, and by doing so, Facebook can learn more about what we like and want to see.

The bottom line

So, what’s the bottom line? Facebook is a brilliantly designed social media platform that’s been engineered to keep us engaged. It’s no accident that we can’t help but keep scrolling through our newsfeeds — the app is constantly feeding us new content in order to keep us hooked.

While Facebook can be a great tool for staying connected with friends and family, it’s important to be aware of the platform’s darker psychological effects. We need to be mindful of the amount of time we’re spending on Facebook, and make sure it’s not impacting our mental health in a negative way.

Conclusion

You can’t help but be curious about how Facebook knows so much about you, and what it does with that information. It’s clear that the platform is designed to keep you engaged for as long as possible.

But what are the consequences of giving up our personal data? How does Facebook affect our emotions and behaviour?

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to the psychology of social media, and we hope this article has given you a better understanding of how platforms like Facebook manipulate our emotions and keep us coming back for more.

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