Good News for Facebook, but Opinions Divided Over Health Effects (June 16, 2012)
The jury is still out on Facebook’s effects on users’ mental wellbeing. Opposing opinions dominated discussion around the social media giant last week, both represented here on Facebook Focus. Medical News Today reported on Tuesday that a UK study has found a link between Facebook use and “anxiety and increasing feelings of inadequacy” while PsychCentral covered a University of Wisconsin study that showed “no significant associations between social-media use and the probability of depression.” These are just two of a number of studies on this issue making news around the world and highlighting increasing concern about social media’s effects on users’ lives. It does not, however, seem to be discouraging people from joining the site, which added over 35 million users in the four months to the end of March.
Employment also featured in Facebook news last week with some good news for job seekers, tempered with a note of caution. On Wednesday, PC Mag carried the news that Facebook is to launch a job board, according to an unconfirmed report from Joseph Walker of Dow Jones Newswires. Apparently the move is designed to stimulate engagement with the site and not to challenge LinkedIn’s dominance of business-focused social networking. Those looking for a job are urged to pay more attention to the content of their Facebook profiles, in particular the spelling, in an article from The Sydney Morning Herald. Recruiters are increasingly looking at potential candidates’ pages “and, frankly, they’re not impressed with your poor grammar or posts about your latest unforgettable exploits.” You have been warned.
Facebook announced two major partnerships last week which will keep the company ahead of the game in the coming months. VatorNews reported that, along with NBC, Facebook will be working to “create a social media-rich experience for the Games.”
NBC Olympics and Facebook will work together to produce social media segments to air during television broadcasts across various NBC Universal networks and implement a data tool called the “Talk Meter” to inform its viewers about the stories, results, athletes, and events that are appearing on the social network.
Yahoo has also decided to join forces with Facebook “to form a web advertising alliance” that will give advertisers new possibilities for promoting their products across the two sites, according to The Telegraph. The company also dropped its lawsuit against Facebook for alleged infringement of ”patents covering such functions as internet privacy, advertising and information sharing.”
Facebook also announced new changes to its cyber-bullying reporting mechanism as, reported on Thursday by CNN. This move is likely in response to concerns about children’s safety while using the site, which, as today’s post shows, can also be threatened by online predators.
Finally, ZD Net warned readers that Facebook could be damaging their reputation by “automatically publishing posts under your name and placing them at the top of the News feed for your friends.” With the US presidential elections only months away many users will be concerned that the site is attributing views to them that can be seen by all their friends and have no basis in reality.