Why You Shouldn't Lie on Facebook...

January 6th 2015

ATTN: Staff

Two-thirds of users on social media lie to "airbrush reality," according to a new study. Sounds pretty harmless, though, right? Who doesn't polish their lives a bit on Facebook by making them seem more glamorous?

The problem, according to psychologists, is that exaggerating on social media can have a negative effect on your health. Lying on social media can create "digital amnesia" where the user begins to believe their exaggerated, social-media persona is their real self. This can lead to depression and feelings of paranoia, sadness, and shame when the user fails to live up to the flashy lifestyle they portray on Facebook.

"When this starts to happen, feelings of guilt and distaste towards ourselves can create psychological problems, including anxiety," Dr. Richard Sherry told The Daily Mail. "This can exacerbate certain personality traits which can become unhelpful, if not outright destructive."

One in ten respondents who admitted to lying on social media also admitted that they have distorted memories of the events they exaggerated.

What do people lie about?

An earlier study by Pencourage found that the most common social-media lies include pretending to be out when really being at home, lying about relationships, and lying about career success. The respondents said that they lied out of fear of appearing boring or out of jealousy about their friends' more exciting posts.

A short film from the Higton Brothers perfectly illustrates the problem with lying on Facebook. In it, a man, whose life seems to be falling apart, manages to make it seem pretty great on Facebook.

The film's co-creator Andrew Higton told The Daily News that his brother, Shaun, came up with the idea for the video.

"He was looking at all these posts and seeing people having a wonderful time and traveling to all of these places," Higton said. "He was like, 'Wow, people really can't be this happy.' That's when it started."

Higton believes that lying on social media comes from a natural human desire to impress people.

"You always post a good picture about yourself. There's nothing wrong with that, but are you doing it to look for recognition from other people?" Higton said. "I don't think it's Facebook doing anything wrong. People have that need for recognition."