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Perceived addiction the reason Facebook users quit, but often return

Ever feel like social media is too much to handle, and you just want to call it quits? For all the benefits that Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and hundreds of other social media networks provide, they each come with their own share of downfalls. Most recently, researchers have revealed that social media is to blame for jealousy, anxiety, and depression, as well as many other ailments, with little upside to offer.

It makes sense that users believe stepping away from social networking may be the key to finding the joy and happiness lost pre-Facebook. And, like Ed Sheeran, users often see the light and step away from the Internet with the hope of reestablishing their more-happier lives off-screen. Why, then, does it seem like no one ever leaves permanently, only to return just days after declaring they’re done with social media?

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According to a study of 5,000 surveys provided by 99DaysofFreedom.com, Cornell researchers were able to determine four main reasons users return to Facebook, after quitting. One of the primary reasons is perceived addiction in users who feel as though hanging out on Facebook had become a habitual part of their everyday lives. In addition to perceived addiction, researchers found that privacy and surveillance played an important role in determining whether someone returns from their Facebook hiatus. Users who felt like their Facebook activities were being monitored were less likely to return; those who used Facebook to manage how others think were more likely to return. Finally, according to the research, users in good moods were less likely to return to the platform, as well as those who had other social media accounts to fall back on such as Twitter.

However, leaving the platform to return days later isn’t a complete loss. The data also indicated that the break gave many users a chance to analyze the effects — negative or positive — that social media might have on their lives, leading many to adapt their use after returning by uninstalling the apps from their phones or reducing the amount of time they spend online.