Facebook Usage

Influence of Digital Forms of Communication on Human Experiences


The current dramatic increase in the usage of the Internet along with other new communication technologies has become one of the most critical aspects that influence human experiences. Social life, especially in America, is transforming rapidly with the upsurge in the application of Web 2.0 solutions. Many businesses are being operated using e-commerce features. Most people take part in politics online. Moreover, education is increasingly becoming dependent on computers as well as access to information. The fact is that such digital communication tools have a significant impact on friendship, love, leisure, and conflicts among other aspects of human experiences. Websites, online applications, and social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest are now used to conduct daily activities. Unfortunately, besides the positive effects, they have on people and their communication, they also have negative ones. Thus, using different theories, one may identify how such social networking sites as Facebook can provoke conflicts among individuals and various groups around the world.

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Background on Facebook Usage

Facebook is a social media platform launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg while pursuing his studies at Harvard University. It started with the registration of 1,200 individuals within the first 24 hours after launch (McEwan et al. 2018). Since then, the sign-up for this platform has increased to millions of people. In this regard, Facebook has extended its reach beyond educational centers to individuals who wish to register. The platform has almost become the following application people open after they unblock the screens on their gadgets. The effect of Facebook on people’s lives has become intense to such an extent that several serious problems have emerged in its coverage and academic studies. Some of the issues include addiction to social media, data privacy breaches, and propaganda.

The present study has revealed that approximately 2 billion smartphones are used around the world. The most surprising discovery is that 85% of these gadget users have Facebook as a social media feature (McEwan et al. 2018). Mobile phone users enjoying the platform in the United States alone have reached 68% which is comparable to 47% around the world. Other figures have shown that 6% of the entire time dedicated to digital communication is being used on Facebook. It is noteworthy that people can connect with others around the world as long as they have access to the Internet. Having a pool of more than 2.2 billion applicants around the world, Facebook remains one of the platforms with the most diverse user information (McEwan et al. 2018). Such figures are indications that digital media channel has influenced people’s lives including their experiences of conflict, as this paper will explain. The figure below represents the increase in the number of Facebook users per year:

Influence of Facebook on Human Conflict

Studies have found that Facebooking can bring benefits to individuals or have detrimental effects on their psychological welfare. The dual factor model theory has been applied in explaining the primary motivators of using Facebook. The results show that the need for belongingness as well as self-representation drives most people. The intensity of usage of this platform has been associated with increased satisfaction, and civic and political engagement among other benefits (McEwan et al. 2018). However, the negative side of Facebook is that the number of friends is indirectly linked to their self-esteem, correlating with romantic jealousy, and heightened discontent in relationships. Research has also revealed that personality traits can influence how a user behaves on Facebook (McEwan et al. 2018). Ideally, all these explanations give a clue as to how this platform can eventually lead to human conflicts.

Events have emerged where Facebook has started or accelerated conflicts in various settings around the world. For instance, in 2016, the outcome of police gunfire of an African-American male was spread on the platform. Immediately, many Americans went online to discuss racism in the United States and began to attack each other online (McEwan et al. 2018). Not only have such incidents happened in America but also in other countries, such as India where a cartoon image spread around Facebook representing Prophet Muhammad. The result was increased mob violence that left one individual dead. The reaction of people can be associated with a behavioral theory which refers to the explanations of how and why individuals respond to situations within their environments. Humans tend to react to conditions within their surroundings since their experiences have positioned them to do so when events occur (McEwan et al. 2018). Therefore, people are now using Facebook as a communication tool in various ways that were never envisioned when establishing the platform.

Furthermore, there have been instances where Facebook has spread political hate and propaganda in different parts of the world. In this regard, impression management on this platform has proved to be a complex undertaking, especially when using it to make political expressions. Facebook has been used for political mobilization and conversion in positive and negative ways (McEwan et al. 2018). Posts and comments that tend to demonstrate political opinions can lead to intense arguments, offended users, and damaged relationships. Moreover, an individual’s desire to be perceived favorably may deter their communication of honest views. In most cases, this happens when people fear that their opinion may not coincide with the common views on the platform. The challenges of holding political discussions on Facebook escalate during moments of high political activities and conflicts where controversies and debates may emerge (McEwan et al. 2018). Heated disagreements arise due to the lack of tolerance and acceptance among users of the social media platform.

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Media ecology theory strives to explain how media and communication aspects affect human perceptions, emotions, and values. A society can’t escape the influence of new media platforms as such technologies remain core to almost all the practices in daily life. As such, the media ecology theory relates to what Facebook has caused to the world. Instances of broken relationships for couples have been reported to be the result of using the platform (Toma 2016). Facebook can be a fun way of updating life affairs. However, it can become addictive to a point of stirring conflicts in a relationship. There are many times when people have posted things on the platform without gaining consent from their partners. The fact is that one of them may not be ready to display their relationship with the world. When this happens, disagreements that lead to conflicts arise. It is impossible to hide the feeling that Facebook can influence one’s perceptions and emotions. In this regard, break-ups can occur because of such misunderstandings.

Additionally, the human conflict has been associated with cyber bullying on Facebook. Cyber bullying can be a form of intimidation, online harassment, propaganda, or drama that takes place on digital platforms. Many instances have been registered where users have been assaulted on the Internet (Toma 2016). Facebook is the leading social media platform that has had the highest number of cases of cyberbullying. The results of such ruthless actions online have been detrimental, including reported cases of suicide. Such issues have given rise to contentious disputes among online users on how these instances should be handled. Laws have been passed to curb this menace. However, the cases of cyberbullying are still on the rise despite stringent mitigation measures. Some parents have established strict rules for their children on the usage of social media platforms, such as Facebook, to save them from the issue (Toma 2016). Such confusion has triggered conflicts among institutions, families, and social groups. The following figure demonstrates how Facebook facilitates cyberbullying:

(Toma 2016)

Reports have shown that 26% of teenagers have engaged in confrontational fights with a friend because of drama that happened on Facebook (Fox & Moreland 2015). When it comes to conflicts that shift their focus from online to offline, the problem becomes worse. 32% of females have been engaged in a heated disagreement that initially started on the Internet compared to 20% of males (Fox & Moreland 2015). Such incidents indicate the looming danger of using Facebook during the current era when almost everything is being done online. According to the actor-network theory, there is a distinction between individuals and objects used on online media platforms. Different individuals can have a distinct reactions to certain information or posts on the Internet. The notion brings one to an understanding that people respond differently to things happening on Facebook, in that certain aspects may offend some but not others (Fox & Moreland 2015). Confusion on this platform leads to heightened conflicts, which can be seen in increased confrontational fights offline.

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The religious dispute has also taken place on Facebook. There are instances where this digital platform has been used to spread good messages of hope and inspiration by various religious doctrines. In this regard, it had a positive impact on human experiences. However, there have been cases of spreading religious hate through Facebook among diverse people from different doctrines. For instance, the current religious conflict in Myanmar has been attributed to Facebook (Men & Tsai 2015). This has happened despite the urgent calls of various stakeholders to engage the platform to resolve the matter by reporting any cases of hate speech or related incidents of propaganda. In this case, the ultranationalist Buddhists have created their fun page and continued to incite conflict and hatred in their opposition to Rohingya and related ethnic minority groups in the region. Reports have indicated that almost 30 million people in Myanmar’s population have access to Facebook, which worsens the situation since they can watch videos and read news, and view pictures and messages they upload.

Another incident happened nearby Sri Lanka. In this area, a brutal civil conflict between the two religions, the Sinhalese Buddhist majority, and the Tamil Muslim group had come to an end two years ago (Men & Tsai 2015). Efforts had been put on Facebook to help end the war. However, the same emerged in March when posts and comments went viral with accusations of Muslim entrepreneurs incorporating sterilization pills in food products that the Buddhists mostly consumed. The power of social media was evident when the stories spread a flurry of messages on the Internet. There were rumors of fictitious conflicts with some users coercing Buddhists to murder the Muslims in the region (Men & Tsai 2015). It resulted in a road accident the following week where a team of Muslims murdered a Sinhalese driver because of the stories that had spread on the Internet about violence, arson, and damage to Muslim neighborhoods. A Muslim was burnt to death in a house that had been set on fire. Such incidents reveal how Facebook can be used to spread hate speech and spur religious conflicts among people who have lived together for years.


In general, Facebook emerged as a strong digital tool and social media network. Its roots were first in the United States, at Harvard University. Initially, it was meant for educational institutions but later spread to other sectors and the entire world. Since then, it has gained massive following from individuals, businesses, and institutions across the globe. However, the detrimental effects of Facebook have been experienced in diverse settings including conflicts among individuals and groups. There have been reported cases of cyberbullying, propaganda, hate speech, and offline fights that have emerged from Facebook interactions. Such concepts as dual-factor model theory, media ecology theory, and actor-network theory help understand the reasons behind these conflicts. The discussion indicates that digital media communication channels have a significant influence on human experiences, and this impact is often negative.

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