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A Causal Link Between Facebook and Mental Health
22nd January 2023 • The Sunday Show • Tech Policy Press
00:00:00 00:27:37

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In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg launched “TheFacebook” at Harvard University before rolling the social networking site out to other students at Dartmouth, Columbia, and Yale. Soon, it was available on hundreds of college and university campuses, and thereafter the rollout included high schools. 

Now, there are nearly 3 billion monthly active users of the site, and it is readily apparent that it has had a significant impact on society in a variety of ways. One such impact is on mental health. Researchers have found that Facebook use is associated with multiple mental health issues, ranging from anxiety, insomnia, depression and addiction to body image and eating disorders, alcohol use, and more. But while much of the evidence collected is concerning, most such studies have not identified a solid causal connection between Facebook and negative mental health, and many skeptics remain. 

But in today’s episode, we’re going to discuss one study that does appear to draw a causal connection between the use of Facebook and poor mental health with two its authors: Luca Braghieri, an Assistant Professor in the department of Decision Sciences at Bocconi University in Italy; and Alexey Makarin, an Assistant Professor in the Applied Economics group at the MIT Sloan School of Management.