Concerns About Facebook Among Users and Abstainers: Relationships With Individual Differences and Facebook Use

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Abstract

Facebook (FB) has become a virtually inescapable aspect of modern social life. Yet many people have concerns about using FB and even consider quitting or abstaining from it. To establish a framework for organizing the varied concerns that people have about FB, the present research surveyed 2 groups known to have high rates of FB adoption (e.g., Duggan, 2015): College students (N = 264) and other adults (N = 610) in the United States. Results suggest 3 broad themes underlie people’s concerns about FB— that it can be pointless, a problematic distraction, and raise privacy issues. Compared with adults from the noncollege sample, college students were more concerned with problematic distraction, and less concerned with privacy issues. To investigate the characteristics that may be driving concerns about FB, we explored the relationships between concerns, FB use, and individual differences. In general, people who endorsed problematic distraction tended to use FB more, and be higher in Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Anxious Attachment. For people who endorsed pointless and privacy issues, the relationships between the concerns and individual differences showed different association across the college student and other adult samples. Moreover, results from a series of hierarchical regressions revealed that pointless and problematic distraction concerns predicted FB use, over and above individual differences. Discussion contextualizes the findings with regards to previous research and discusses the possible applications of the results for the general public, commercial entities, and policymakers.

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