If you’re one of the world’s 1.3 billion regular Facebook users, you’ll know the feeling of being consumed by your news feed.
If you don’t use Facebook, you need only get on a busy train or bus to see countless people browsing Facebook on their phones, inspecting photos of their “friends” enjoying themselves. Young women in their teens and early 20s spend around two hours on Facebook every day.
When constructing a profile on Facebook, most people choose to present an idealised version of themselves. They upload only the best photographs of themselves to their profiles and remove any images that they find undesirable.
Facebook users post around ten million new photos every hour. This provides users with regular opportunities to compare their appearance with others.
We know that women who often compare their appearance with others are less satisfied with how they look, particularly when they compare themselves with others who they think are more attractive.
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Decades of research also shows that viewing images from traditional forms of media, such as magazines or television, can cause young women to be dissatisfied with their body and put them in a more negative mood.
But our recent research shows that while spending time on Facebook increases some young women’s concerns about their face, hair and skin, it doesn’t necessarily affect how they feel about their body.
This could be because Facebook contains more images of people’s face than images of their overall body. So when browsing your news feed, you are likely to have more opportunities to compare with other people’s faces than with their weight and shape.