A study from researchers at Facebook suggests addiction to the app is only growing.
The Daily Mail reports that researchers found that 1 in 8 of the platform’s 2.9 billion users is addicted to the app, displaying troubling behaviors that damage work, sleep, and personal relationships.
“Activities like shopping, sex and Facebook use, when repetitive and excessive, may cause problems for some people,” researchers noted.
The company refers to the addiction as “problematic use.” A team dedicated to combating the app addiction disbanded in 2019. The company insists, however, that this mission is still a priority.
“We have a role to play, which is why we’ve built tools and controls to help people manage when and how they use our services,” Dani Lever, a Facebook spokeswoman, said of the platform’s efforts.
“Furthermore, we have a dedicated team working across our platforms to better understand these issues and ensure people are using our apps in ways that are meaningful to them.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussed the issue at a 2020 Senate hearing.
“We certainly do not want our products to be addictive,’ he said. “I don’t think the research has been conclusive, but it is an area that we care about and study.”
However, some experts are skeptical that Facebook is fully committed to fighting online addiction to the platform. “There’s only going to be a certain amount of time Facebook can say there is nothing causal out there,” Brian Primack, a public health professor, told The Mail.