Using Facebook could make you spend more money on your credit card, a survey has indicated.
Regular use of the social networking site acts as a synthetic "boost" to some users' self esteem leading to a decline in self-control, reported researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Columbia Business School.
The boost is mainly felt by people who are strongly focused on their close friends, they said.
The study looked at 1,000 users of Facebook in the US, graded by the strength of their ties to their friends.
Those with weak ties experienced little boost in self-esteem after using the site, but those with strong ties experienced a big increase from positive comments and 'likes' they received.
After this boost, committed users experienced less self-control, leading them to splurge on items with their credit card. The researchers linked their personality types with higher levels of obesity and higher credit card debt.
A separate study showed people with close ties to their friends were more likely to eat a cookie than a granola bar after using Facebook. They were also more likely to give up on word puzzles and other difficult mental tasks.
"The results suggest that greater social network use is associated with a higher body-mass index, increased binge eating, a lower credit score, and higher levels of credit-card debt for individuals with strong ties to their social network," the researchers wrote.
They now intend to study the effects of using social networks over long periods.
"We find that people experience greater self-esteem when they focus on the image they are presenting to strong ties in their social networks," said Keith Wilcox, assistant professor of marketing at Columbia Business School.
"This suggests that even though people are sharing the same positive information with strong ties and weak ties on social networks, they feel better about themselves when the information is received by strong ties than by weak ties."
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