How Much Cash Would It Take for You to Give Up Facebook?

How many times do you check social media every day — once, twice, constantly? Now, what would someone have to pay you to deactivate your account? A new study asked participants just that — to assign a dollar value they would require if they were to give up Facebook for one year. Here’s what the study found, as well as some pros and cons of cutting Facebook and other social media from your life.

Social media: As serious as a drug addiction?

First things first. Why should we even contemplate giving up Facebook if it’s something we enjoy? Well, a new study from Michigan State University compares people who excessively use social media to drug addicts and compulsive gamblers — specifically for their impaired decision-making.

The researchers gave 71 participants a survey to measure their dependence on Facebook. Then, the participants completed an exercise that psychologists use to measure decision-making. The researchers found the participants who performed worse on the decision-making task also had more excessive social media use — and vice versa. Drug abusers and those with other addictions, such as gambling, have similar issues with decision-making.

Although this study only shows a correlation between impaired decision-making and excessive social media use (and doesn’t necessarily blame social media as the cause of poor decisions), it still raises some red flags about how much social media is healthy. “I believe that social media has tremendous benefits for individuals, but there’s also a dark side when people can’t pull themselves away,” the study’s lead author Dar Meshi says in a news release. “We need to better understand this drive so we can determine if excessive social media use should be considered an addiction.”

Still, with users spending an average of 50 minutes each day on Facebook, it might be ideal for some of us to cut back. But what if you had to give it up completely for a year? Could someone pay you to do that?

Putting a price on Facebook use

a group of people staring at their mobile devices on social mediaCredit: pixelfit/Getty Images

In another recent study, researchers from Michigan State, Tufts University, Kenyon College and Susquehanna University aimed to determine how valuable Facebook is to users — a figure that’s difficult to assess when the service is free. So the researchers conducted a series of three “auctions,” asking participants to assign a dollar value to deactivating their Facebook accounts for a specific period of time. Based on each auction’s procedure, there were “winners,” who indeed got paid to shut down their Facebook.

  • The first auction included 122 Facebook users on the campus of a Midwestern college. The average bid for deactivating Facebook for one day was $4.17, three days was $13.89 and one week was $37. And based on this data, the researchers calculated an estimate for a year off Facebook costing roughly $1,500 to $1,900 on average.
  • The second auction used two groups: 133 college students and 138 adults recruited via an online community. This time, the participants bid specifically for what they would have to be paid to deactivate their Facebook accounts for a year. In the student group, 41 participants declined to bid, and two bid more than $50,000 (which the researchers viewed as a protest bid). Thus, their responses were removed from the pool. For the rest, the average bid was $2,076 to deactivate Facebook for a year. And in the adult group, 21 people declined, and two bid more than $50,000, removing them from the pool. The rest averaged $1,139 to shut down their accounts for a year.
  • Finally, the third auction enlisted 931 adult online participants from the United States and asked them to bid on shutting down their Facebook for a year. There were 145 people who declined and 41 who bid more than $50,000, removing them from the pool. The remaining participants bid an average of $1,921 to deactivate for a year.

Although the researchers admitted using largely homogeneous student samples — as well as only considering Facebook and not other social media — might have skewed results, they did point out that the adult community samples were representative of many socioeconomic backgrounds. And across all groups, the average bid to deactivate Facebook for a year still landed at a little more than $1,000 — showing similar opinions among all the samples.

This figure also underscores the idea that consumers often reap value greater than what the market portrays from a free service like Facebook. “Facebook reached a market capitalization of $542 billion in May 2018. At 2.20 billion active users in March 2018, this suggests a value to investors of almost $250 per user, which is less than one fourth of the annual value of Facebook access from any of our samples,” according to the study. “This reinforces the idea that the vast majority of benefits of new inventions go not to the inventors but to the users.”

How social media can impact society

friends happily check social media on a smartphoneCredit: jacoblund/Getty Images

An article published in the International Journal of Computer Sciences and Engineering aimed to analyze every aspect of social media and dissect its positive and negative influences. Here’s how it concluded social media affects society as a whole.

The pros

  • Connectivity: Social media allows society to connect more easily than ever before.
  • Education: Students, teachers, professionals, etc. can more readily connect and share information.
  • Help: People can bring awareness to causes, raise money or simply seek or offer individual support on social media.
  • Information: Social media offers an easy way to receive updates about your social group, as well as the world at large.

The cons

  • Harassing: Social media has brought a new dimension to bullying.
  • Fraud and hacking: Users also have to worry about online scams, as well as the potential for hacking.
  • Addiction: Excessive social media use may squander a person’s time.
  • Reputation: Social media can quickly destroy a person’s reputation, thanks to false stories, misguided comments and so on.

What it boils down to is social media shouldn’t be seen as a positive or a negative aspect of society. It’s all about how we as users engage on it. But if you’re looking to deactivate your account, maybe you can find someone willing to pay you $1,000 first.

Main image credit: marchmeena29/Getty Images

89 comments

Sarah A
Sarah A26 days ago

Thank you for posting

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Leo C
Leo C28 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Louise A
Louise Aabout a month ago

tyfs

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Leo Custer
Leo Cabout a month ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Lisa M
Lisa Mabout a month ago

I never had a Facebook account and never will. You couldn't pay me to join!

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Anna R
Anna Rabout a month ago

Thank you

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Mike R
Mike Rabout a month ago

Thanks

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Gino C
Gino C1 months ago

TYFS

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Thomas M
Thomas M1 months ago

thank you for posting

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Kevin B
Kevin B1 months ago

thank you

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