Different social media platforms have distinct effects on well-being during the pandemic, study suggests

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A study published in PLOS One highlights the importance of differentiating between social media platforms when considering the psychological impact of social media. The findings revealed that active use of Facebook during the pandemic was tied to greater negative affect, while active uses of Twitter and Instagram were tied to greater life satisfaction through increased social support.

In the wake of a sudden loss of social contact during the COVID-19 lockdown, people were encouraged to turn to social media to stay connected with friends and family. But according to the current psychology literature, there is some evidence that the use of social networking sites may be more harmful than helpful when it comes to mental health.

Study authors Alexandra Masciantonio and her colleagues say that the overall research on the impact of social media has presented mixed findings. The researchers suggest that this is because most studies have failed to differentiate between specific social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, TikTok) or to distinguish between active and passive use of the platforms. Masciantonio and her team conducted their own study to explore the impact of social media use during the pandemic while improving on these limitations.

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