A Review of Facebook Research in the Social Sciences

Perspectives on Psychological Science (Impact Factor: 4.89). 01/2012; 7(3):203-220. DOI: 10.1177/1745691612442904

ABSTRACT With over 800 million active users, Facebook is changing the way hundreds of millions of people relate to one another and share information. A rapidly growing body of research has accompanied the meteoric rise of Facebook as social scientists assess the impact of Facebook on social life. In addition, researchers have recognized the utility of Facebook as a novel tool to observe behavior in a naturalistic setting, test hypotheses, and recruit participants. However, research on Facebook emanates from a wide variety of disciplines, with results being published in a broad range of journals and conference proceedings, making it difficult to keep track of various findings. And because Facebook is a relatively recent phenomenon, uncertainty still exists about the most effective ways to do Facebook research. To address these issues, the authors conducted a comprehensive literature search, identifying 412 relevant articles, which were sorted into 5 categories: descriptive analysis of users, motivations for using Facebook, identity presentation, the role of Facebook in social interactions, and privacy and information disclosure. The literature review serves as the foundation from which to assess current findings and offer recommendations to the field for future research on Facebook and online social networks more broadly.

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May 28, 2014