Study: Facebook Causes People to Envy Friends

| by Michael Allen

A new study by two German universities - Humboldt University and Darmstadt's Technical University - found rampant envy on Facebook when users witnessed pictures and posts of friends' vacations, love lives and work successes.

The researchers found that one in three people felt worse after visiting the world's largest social networking site. People who browsed Facebook without contributing were affected the most, reports Reuters.

Researcher Hanna Krasnova told Reuters: "We were surprised by how many people have a negative experience from Facebook with envy leaving them feeling lonely, frustrated or angry. From our observations some of these people will then leave Facebook or at least reduce their use of the site."

Vacation photos were the biggest cause of resentment, with more than half of envy incidents on Facebook, researchers said in the report 'Envy on Facebook: A Hidden Threat to Users' Life Satisfaction?' released on Tuesday.

Other sources of envy included how many birthday greetings people received in comparison to their Facebook friends and how many "likes" or comments were made on photos and postings.

Researchers surveyed 600 users and found that people in their mid-30s were most likely to envy family happiness, while women were more likely to envy physical attractiveness than men.

Men posted more self-promotional content on Facebook to let people know about their accomplishments, while women stressed their good looks and social lives.