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People Who Use Facebook Live Longer, Study Finds (www.cbc.ca) 122

An anonymous reader quotes a report from CBC.ca: Study after study has demonstrated a link between strong social connections and reduced mortality risk. But does that hold true as our social interactions increasingly take place in online spheres? A new study out of Yale and the University of California suggests that it does. The study, published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that people who use Facebook live longer than those who do not, and that certain types of Facebook activities -- like posting pictures and accepting friend requests -- are associated with a lower risk of mortality. "There's a big debate about online social media. There are people that worry that worry it substitutes for healthy social interaction," co-author James Fowler, a social scientist from University of California, San Diego, told CBC News. The researchers started with 12 million Facebook profiles, then narrowed it down to four million people whose identities could be verified through California's voter registration list. Then they used data from the California Department of Public Health to compare those people to voters who don't use the social networking platform. They found the risk of dying in a given year was 12 per cent lower for Facebook users than non-Facebook users. That doesn't mean Facebook is necessarily good for you, Fowler cautions. Correlation does not prove causation, so it's impossible to say whether being on Facebook makes you healthier, or whether healthy people are more likely to be on Facebook. Still, Fowler said the study does help debunk some of the negative associations people have with social media. "The fact that we found such a strong positive relationship between health and social networks speaks against the hypothesis that they're making us unhealthy in some way," he said.
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People Who Use Facebook Live Longer, Study Finds

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2016 @07:49PM (#53188551)

    I imagine they would live a fairly long time.

  • No (Score:5, Informative)

    by twistedcubic ( 577194 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @07:51PM (#53188559)
    Facebook is too young to do such a study reliably, unless, of course, by "people" you mean mice. A properly done study would take a group and randomly assign members to a control group (no social media) and an experimental group (mandatory social media), and then wait for people to start dying.
    • People are just too willing to swallow this one.

      This is like a study that purports fat steaks and good whiskey are the new secrets of longevity.

      • Re:No (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Bob-Bob Hardyoyo ( 4240135 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @09:44PM (#53189163)
        Those may not be key to a long life, but they're key to a good one.
      • by doom ( 14564 )

        Studies show a positive correlation between studies of social media and junk science--

        • In the same vein: With virtually all the catalogued knowledge of mankind at your fingertips, how can people still debate arguments from a belief set that exists in contrast to the evidence?

          Turns out, it is easier than ever to scroll down until you find an opinion that reinforces what you already suspect.

    • by uncqual ( 836337 )

      The summary makes it clear that it only determined a correlation between Facebook usage and longer life, not a causal relationship. One doesn't need a control group to reach that conclusion reliably. For example, I can reach a reliable conclusion that Male humans are, on the average, taller than Female humans just by looking at a representative population.

      (Of course, the reason may be that people who are unhealthy just don't have the energy to use Facebook or are spending their time on medical sites instead

    • Facebook is too young to do such a study reliably.

      Yep; that's why I exclusively haunt this site instead of that newfangled thing. Someone should do an identical study with users here.

    • It also doesn't take into account that some people, like myself, are introverts. We tend to want small groups of good friends over dozens or hundreds of people we 'know' as 'friends' like facebook deals in. Much like a lot of medical and diet research this assumes everyone is perfectly identical and there are no differences.

    • Actually, the results of my RickySlash survey DO have an indication of this nature - - - but it's ONLY because they SEEM to live longer, because of all the time spent / wasted / invested in keeping up their Facebook pages, comments, links, etc.

      Remember the story about the old codger that quit smoking, drinking, and running around?
      He didn't actually live longer, it just SEEMED like a MUCH longer time -lol-

    • Don't forget.... You can only count the deaths if they are the result of NATURAL CAUSES. Just because your test subject dies because he was hit by a bus doesn't mean that facebook is responsible for the living....
      • Just because your test subject dies because he was hit by a bus doesn't mean that facebook is responsible for the living....

        Making unwarranted assumptions. One could easily make a case that walking while distracted by social media make you more likely to be hit by a bus, thus such deaths should be counted in determining the effects of it.

    • Absolutely true. Utter b*llocks.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2016 @07:52PM (#53188563)
    Or, intentionally dishonest advertisement?
  • by sinij ( 911942 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @07:59PM (#53188589)
    Strong social connections are real-life meaningful relationships of people who are willing to help you in time of need. This is not the same thing as Facebook "friends".
    • by jrumney ( 197329 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @08:32PM (#53188717)

      Only old people use Facebook.

      This study is biased in that people who die young are unlikely to reach the age where thefacebook.com is the place to move your myspace activities to.

    • I agree with the fact that strong social connections is NOT generally the same as Facebook friends.

      But there's so much more, I don't even know what to say about TFS. Basically, if they're looking at people who have a high chance of dying, they're looking at folks above the age of 70 or so, and these people likely didn't start using Facebook until they were in their late 60s. Automatically, somebody who is that old but active on Facebook (note TFS mentions things like "posting pictures") is probably more

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      They looked at the people in the poorest parts of the world who did not have FB and they die earlier. Clearly having FB is important. In the middle ages, people died younger and what did they not have? FB!

      Oh, the reason my great aunt died at the age of 115 as the oldest person in the world was not cancer, it was the lack of FB.

  • look up and watch the world
  • Dafuq? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @08:01PM (#53188605)

    What kind of shitty article is this?

    Facebook hasn't been around long enough to do mortality studies on those who used it and those who didn't use it throughout their life.

    • Not only that, but they somehow pulled this conclusion out of nowhere:

      Still, Fowler said the study does help debunk some of the negative associations people have with social media. "The fact that we found such a strong positive relationship between health and social networks speaks against the hypothesis that they're making us unhealthy in some way," he said.

      Even if there were found some correlation between Facebook usage and life expectancy, it doesn't in any way follow that using social media is healthy. First, yes, there's the whole "correlation does not equal causation" trope and the fact that we can imagine many factors that would result in a correlation. Maybe people who use Facebook are more likely to be affluent. After all, you need money to buy electronic gadgets to take pictures

      • by dissy ( 172727 )

        My guess is Facebook invited their subjects out for a headquarters tour, and then cut the break lines on the bus holding the control group.

        That's about the only way to get mortality results so quickly and with such a drastic difference :P

    • What kind of shitty article is this?

      Facebook hasn't been around long enough to do mortality studies on those who used it and those who didn't use it throughout their life.

      Let's zoom the lens out a bit and look at the larger problem.

      Correlation does not prove causation.

      This lone simple fact should make about 80% of statistical studies illegal because they are almost always abused to create controlling policy or manipulate government based on bullshit held together with silly string.

      They way statistics are abused today, I would rather get my advice from a self-proclaimed professional astrologist.

      • While I totally agree that this article is jumping from a not-surprising correlation to a totally dubious causation, your proposition to ban such studies is I think a bad idea.

        In France, statistics based on ethnicity are banned. The reason is : we don't want statistics to say that e.g. "the majority of men in prisons are of a certain ethnicity", because some idiots may think "Then all people of this ethnicity are robbers/rapers/murderers/...".

        The issue with that approach is that you're basically making i

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Facebook hasn't been around long enough to do mortality studies on those who used it and those who didn't use it throughout their life.

      Not only that, such a study will never be possible, as Facebook will not be online for the entire life of any users to measure its effect.

  • by namgge ( 777284 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @08:01PM (#53188607)
    But is the extra time they live sufficient to compensate for the time they've wasted on Facebook?
    • Agreed; perhaps those stuck inside with their faux friends on Facebook had a far lower chance of being killed while outside enjoying themselves?
    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      More likely, the correlation (if it even exists) has an external cause. Like, for instance, those being wealthy enough after retirement to have decent healthcare are also those wealthy enough to have broadband.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    well, they missed the most simple connection, it's not that they use Facebook that it makes them live longer, it's that they are typically from richer countries, so more medical aid, etc, so lower mortality rates

  • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Monday October 31, 2016 @08:16PM (#53188645)
    Facebook hasn't been around long enough for any conclusive study.
  • Part of the reason I left facebook wasn't so much the drunken comments I may or may not regret, it was feeling so shitty seeing all the one up family photos and "my adorable kids" pics....

    If hell has a physical embodiment on the earth it would be facebook for a single/forever alone person....

  • Gosh... I'm trying to disentangle myself from Facebook... ... in a sense I'm actually dying to leave....

  • If Facebook is the requirement to a longer life, I will be content with my shorter life without it.
  • Because people who eat caviar are richer and better health care. Correlation doesn't always mean a causal relationship. This kind of research is meaningless and lazy as fuck.
  • Just like Betty White, I see FB as nothing more than a majestic waste of time. I should make a will in the next 40 or so years.
  • by Braintrust ( 449843 ) on Monday October 31, 2016 @08:41PM (#53188777)

    Holy Shit.

    I've been coming here since before the turn-of-the-century.

    Whoever is responsible for this should be profoundly ashamed.

    The single dumbest thing I've ever seen here.

    Wow.

    • by sinij ( 911942 )
      If all these gender wars articles didn't kill /. then this stupid article won't either.

      This too shall pass.
    • by dysmal ( 3361085 )

      I'm confident /. has posted dumber shit than this... Need i remind you of the dribble that was dished out during the Dice regime?

      That being said, this is some Dice level stupid shit!!!

      • by sinij ( 911942 )

        I'm confident /. has posted dumber shit than this.../p>

        Some of guest posting by WhoShallNotBeNamed was out there... but this will certainly make Top 10 list.

    • by freeze128 ( 544774 ) on Tuesday November 01, 2016 @01:03AM (#53190013)

      Whoever is responsible for this should be profoundly ashamed.

      That would be Yale and the University of California.

      • ... and they continue with the shaming of introverts or people not interested in the mainstream. These are the same people that have been forcing this 'group learning' in elementary and middle school, much to the detriment of the majority of boys. 'Social Science' is nothing but rot with an agenda.
      • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )

        Whoever is responsible for this should be profoundly ashamed.

        That would be Yale and the University of California.

        They should study Brawndo next. It sounds like a logical next step.

  • So, going outside less extends your life.

    This is good news for /. users - because living in a room in your mom's basement should be even safer!
    • by ET3D ( 1169851 )

      Actually, the research showed that those who posted photos lived longer, as opposed to those who just posted statuses, and I'd say that's correlated with going out.

      So the bottom line is: going out extends your life.

  • What are they doing? Creating years of fake data to come up with this nonsense? I want to know who FUNDED that study-Facebook itself, maybe? If this crap was true, guess I won't live long because I'm not on FB, and glad of it.
  • Those who use SlashAdvertsing fuck less.
  • the study was funded by Mark Zuckerberg?
  • Really, it only feels longer.
  • by Holi ( 250190 )
    People who use facebook have access to technology and are on average on the wealthier side of society, thus having access to better healthcare.
  • People who DO NOT use The Facebook live happier lives.

  • Same can be said about owners of Rolex watches. So make sure you go out and buy one.

  • lingering in cemeteries is correlated with being dead.
  • Wow. Glad to know that. I'll get busy posting all of my personal information to Facebook right away, and start posting updates every time that I do anything. To my friends at the N.S.A., I really appreciate you letting me know this.
  • This looks like correlation to me. Social active people have also a higher rate to use FB. Also if you are richer you might have time and money to do your FB stuff mobile. Did they release their data? No? Don't believe it. This is most likely p hacked beyond repair.

  • Or does it just seem that way. [c.f. stock joke, "live to be 100"]
  • "They found the risk of dying in a given year was 12 per cent lower for Facebook users than non-Facebook users."

    People who are too sick to use FB die earlier than those who do.
    Science is great.

  • Hmm I bet thr lead cientist on this study has a sizable porion of their mone invested in Facebook and just wanr ro bump up the calue of thst investment befor dumoing it, but I've been known to be very sceptic when it comes tu studies of facebook
  • The reason is: procrastination. They are too lazy and/or depressed to go ahead and die.
  • I thought the risk of mortality was 100% . . . ?
  • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )
    When you don't ever leave your residence you are automatically safer from <insert random stupid thing drunk driver, mugger, etc.> happening. There is a new study forthcoming that asserts people who use Facebook frequently tend to have more problems with obesity and heart disease though. They also seem to have incoherent thoughts that when observed appear to be an intricately connected matrix of various memes many of which contain cats.
  • Turns out, coma patients and the elderly with severe health issues don't use Facebook so much.

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