This Is Why It’s So Hard To Quit Facebook

If there is one maxim about our digital lives, it might be this: You always come back to Facebook.

Sure, you may have “taken a break,” going so far as to delete the app from your phone or even deactivating your account. But only about one in 10 Facebook users ever quit for good.

New research from Cornell University may help explain why it’s so hard to quit the social network. In June of 2014, researchers began a campaign called 99 Days of Freedom. Those interested could visit the site, upload the project’s logo as their profile photo and voluntarily pledge to disengage from Facebook for an entire 99 days. At the time the study was published, more than 40,000 people had taken the pledge.

The concept was launched strictly on social media, and was picked up by major news sites including this one. Users’ commitment was based on the honor code; no technology was implemented to block them from accessing their accounts.

Of course, many people didn’t make it 99 days. To determine why, the researchers sent surveys on the 33rd, 66th and 99th days of each pledge, including a mix of closed-ended questions, demographic queries and open-ended free-text responses.

After analyzing completed surveys, researchers were able to decode people’s motives for reengaging with Facebook sooner than promised. These are the four reasons it’s so hard to stay off the social platform:

1. You think it’s addictive.

Researchers found that those who believed Facebook was addictive were more likely to check in before the 99 days were up. When Facebook users consider Facebook a habit, they are more likely to act out the habit. One participant wrote, “In the first ten days, whenever I opened up an Internet browser, my fingers would automatically go to ‘F’.”

2. You —> Read More