What happens to your well-being when you stop using Facebook?

You could get an hour of your life back per day, and you could be happier.


March 2, 2020

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Maybe you’re tired of your uncle’s political tirades. Maybe you’re sick of wall-to-wall baby pics. Maybe you’re staging a teeny-tiny privacy protest.

We all have reasons for quitting Facebook. But have you ever thought about what happens to you if you do? Some economists studied precisely that.

They recruited (through Facebook ads, of course) 2,743 people to unplug from Facebook for 4 weeks. Here’s what they found:

1️⃣ You might get an hour of your life back. For the average unplugger, walking away from Facebook freed up 60 minutes per day.

2️⃣ You might spend less time consuming news. The unpluggers reported spending 15% less time gorging on headlines.

3️⃣ You might be less exposed to polarizing news. That being said, deactivating didn’t affect people’s negative views about another party.

4️⃣ You might be happier. There were “small but significant” improvements in “self-reported happiness, life satisfaction, depression, and anxiety.”

5️⃣ You might consider Facebook’s role in your life. Unpluggers said they thought more about whether the platform is really good or bad.

One thing’s for sure: It’s not easy to drop the ‘book. The researchers had to pay their subjects a hefty amount — some as much as $102! — to get them to unplug in the first place.

Their findings are also most relevant for individuals, not large groups. It’s not clear what would happen if everyone Facebook Cleansed at once.

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