Lonely Planet Writer

Facebook envy? Travel pix to blame says new study

While many people love posting amazing photos from their last great trip to Facebook, it may be time to consider how it impacts others. A study has shown that travel photos are the leading contributor to Facebook envy and negative feelings.

Posting travel photos on Facebook is a key motivator of envy.
Posting travel photos on Facebook is a key motivator of envy. Image by Moyan Brenn / CC BY 2.0

The study found that envy is a key motivator for posting things to Facebook, which then has a negative impact on the mental well-being of its users.

The researchers say that Facebook can make users feel their lives are unfulfilled compared to others, and then they react by posting things that project their best selves.

Travel photos are one of the areas where people try to post the absolute best of their lives, leading others to feel worse about theirs. Izak Benbasat, a professor at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business in Canada who co-authored the study,  found that people portraying their lives to be unrealistically perfect is not actually motivated by wanting to make others jealous, but rather a need to compete with others and “keep up appearances”.

The study was conducted by surveying more than 1000 Facebook users at a German university.

The findings back up another study conducted by German researchers in 2013, which was completed by one of the co-authors of the first study. That study found that Facebook did cause envy among users and travel and vacations photos were responsible for more than half the feelings of envy.

Read more: Dubai sets up social media listening room

Warning over sharing boarding pass photos on social media