People who detox from Facebook become less likely to believe fake news, says new study

Researchers have discovered that taking a six-week detox break from Facebook can significantly reduce a person's chances of falling for online misinformation.

The study, published in PNAS, is the largest social media deactivation experiment ever conducted, involving over 35,000 Facebook and Instagram users who agreed to disconnect during the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

The results? Those who unplugged from Facebook (but not Instagram) emerged from their digital hibernation less likely to believe the tall tales and urban legends flooding the internet during that turbulent time. However, this enhanced BS detector came at a cost: participants also became less politically engaged, especially online.

While the study couldn't definitively blame Facebook as a reason for Trump's 2016 victory, there were some hints that the platform played favorites. "Deactivation decreased Trump favorability, decreased turnout among Republicans and increased turnout among Democrats," said the report.

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