We now have scientific proof that quitting Facebook makes you less depressed

There’s now scientific proof of what we already knew: Quitting Facebook is beneficial for your health. 

A new report titled “The Economic Effects of Facebook” was published this week online in the journal Experimental Economics. The study looked at two groups of Texas A&M student participants in 2017: Those who went off Facebook for a week and those who remained on the social media platform during that period. The findings, discussed in Nieman Lab, were that the students who were off of Facebook consumed less news and also reported greater overall well-being. 

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“Overall, the effects our study finds on news awareness, news consumption, feelings of depression, and daily activities show that Facebook has significant effects on important aspects of life not directly related to building and supporting social networks,” the study found. 

The people who were off of Facebook for a week ate out less, made fewer impulse purchases, were more productive, and consumed less news. The reduced news consumption among those who avoided Facebook was itself a notable finding. 

“On average, participants in the Facebook restriction group significantly decrease their consumption of news by 0.64 standard deviations with respect to the baseline (p value < 0.05), and this effect is consistent across all news types,” the study concluded. 

This could suggest that when people get off Facebook, they don’t seek further outlets to get their news, which could be troubling given Facebook’s history of perpetuating fake news across its platform. 

Facebook has tried to combat this issue with the introduction of a News Tab curated by seasoned journalists. The social media giant said in August that it plans to hire a team of journalists that will curate a dedicated news section within the mobile app. The News Tab will exist outside of Facebook’s news feed and will contain the most recent and relevant news stories. The feature will reportedly be ready by the end of the year. 

Facebook’s efforts to fight fake news have a focus on limiting the ability of fake news stories (or clickbait) to go viral and providing easy ways for users to fact-check stories. Facebook has also partnered with fact-checking organizations such as Snopes and PolitiFact. 

Digital Trends reached out to Facebook to comment on the study, and we’ll update this story once we hear back. 

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Facebook now allows you to opt out of those ads that target your tastes

Tired of seeing Facebook ads that aren’t relevant to you? Now you can not only opt out of ads from that company, but you can also see why the ad was shown to you in the first place.
This week Facebook started rolling out a new “Why Am I Seeing This Ad?” feature that offers a bit more transparency into why a particular ad might be showing up in your feed, Buzzfeed reports.
Originally teased in April, the tool explains why an ad is being shown to you specifically and also gives you information about how it came to be in your feed, for instance, whether it was posted by an ad agency or a data broker. There’s also information in the report on how to opt out.
To see the info, you have to click on the three dots at the top-right side of an ad and then select “Why am I seeing this ad?" from the drop-down menu.
From there you can ask to opt out of all ads from that particular advertiser, or take things a step further and ask to opt out of seeing ads that are targeting you based on websites and apps off Facebook.

You can tweak all of your ad preferences on Facebook by going to Settings followed by Account Settings, and then Ads.
The "Ad Settings" section will allow you to opt out of ads based on data from partners ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere. You can also opt out of having your name associated with an ad shown to your friends. For instance, an ad for The Chapel, a local music venue in San Francisco, might say “Emily Price likes The Chapel” above it when it’s shown to my friends. The idea, of course, being that your friends will be more likely to be interested in that ad because you have, in a way, endorsed it.
Facebook also offers information about which advertisers have uploaded lists to Facebook with your info included on it. For us, that list was almost exclusively businesses we've never heard of, which made it a pretty enlightening (and also a bit depressing) read.
Sadly, there's still no "opt out of all ads" button. That said, it’s a good idea to check out your ad preferences on a regular basis, in general, to make sure everything there is something you're comfortable with or at least something you're willing to tolerate. 

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In March of 2018, news broke that the social-media giant had let a massive trove of user information find its way into the hands of the shady data firm Cambridge Analytica, which used it to divide and mislead U.S. voters and spread hatred and propaganda.

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It turns out that the social network is working on a solution to help users better manage their time spent on the platform. Developer and tipster Jane Manchun Wong recently posted a link on Twitter about Facebook's upcoming time management program. Based on the screenshots provided by Wong, it looks like Facebook will start showing users how long they spend on the site, while also allowing them to set timers to better manage their social media consumption.

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