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Originally published November 11 2015

FAKEBOOK: Desperate need to be socially accepted drives Facebook users to stage fake photos, vacations and fashion accessories

by Jennifer Lea Reynolds

(NaturalNews) You know those Facebook friends whose lives seems to be nothing but one joyful, adventurous set of experiences after another? They travel, post about thrilling career moments, upload pics of their smiling selves several times a day, and even laugh off spilling coffee on their expensive new carpet.

Before you feel pangs of envy over such people, consider this: their life probably isn't anywhere near as exciting as they suggest it is on social media.

A survey conducted in Europe by smartphone maker HTC set out to delve into the psychology behind the things people post. The findings? Let's just say there's a reason Facebook is often referred to as "Fakebook." More than two-thirds of the 4,400 people who participated said they post images with the sole purpose of making their lives more exciting, typically exaggerating their experiences or their feelings about them.

A judgmental, fake society

Brits in particular seemed to exhibit some eye-opening Fakebook-worthy behaviors. In an effort to make friends and family jealous, more than half of them said they go as far as to borrow items to put in the background of an image so others will think it really belongs to them. Interestingly, a whopping 75 percent of Brits admitted to judging their friends based on their social media observations of them. This included not just Facebook but Instagram and Snapchat as well. In other words, people are forming opinions about others based on mere illusions and deceit.

Behavioral psychologist Jo Hemmings reacted to the findings with hardly a flinch, saying that the rise of social media hardly makes her surprised. Pointing to instant communication in which people can immediately know what their friends are doing, wearing, and thinking, she says it's basically a sign of the times on par with what other forms of communication used to be. "Fashion and style used to live and die in magazines; now people are in search of authentic, peer-to-peer recommendations as well, making social media an equal power house to magazines and newspapers."

Hemmings says that what people post on social media outlets has a direct correlation with what people purchase.

Social media lets us express ourselves, but how honestly?

While there's no doubt that social media use is as common as brushing your teeth, there must be more to it than the need to impress others, which apparently leads to increased mall traffic. For those not interested in jumping on board the materialistic, show-off bandwagon, HTC's Peter Frolund offers a more down-to-earth reason behind people's social media use: self-expression. "In 2015, everybody is a photographer, and more and more we are seeing people really use photography to express themselves and show the world exactly what makes them who they are," he says.

With all of this fakery and excessive time spent on creating perfectly-crafted outfits (that may not actually belong to the owner), questionable vacations (which might be made up), and pouty-mouthed poses (which just look silly), is this really the "authentic" and "who they are" world Hemmings and Frolund speak of?

Along with jealousy, exaggeration, and fake pics comes social media addiction and... death?

Furthermore, other news also shows that social media is not only filled with deceitful postings, but that dependency on it can be fatal.

If you think that's a stretch, consider the story of a newly married couple that was arguing about the wife's constant social media use. When the husband took her phone away, the woman, known only as Aparna, shut herself in a bedroom. She never came out, despite family members encouraging her to emerge. When her husband broke the door down, they discovered she had committed suicide by hanging herself. All of this was apparently spurred by an argument over social media use.

It's high time for people to reel themselves in and quite literally get back to reality.

While it's fun to interact with others or giggle over funny videos, social media should not be something that turns us into a fake, argumentative, and depressed society.

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