'Get the Hell off Facebook': Thousands Debate Societal Addictions in Viral Thread

A recent viral thread has spurred thousands of internet users to share their opinions about various societal addictions.

Responding to a post published on Reddit's popular r/AskReddit forum, commenters lamented about a myriad of ideas and activities that large factions of people believe are imperative. Titled, "What is an addiction society pretends is necessary?," the viral post has received 43,000 upvotes in less than 24 hours.

In fiery comments receiving thousands of votes of their own, Redditors questioned people's seeming need to work overtime hours and turn hobbies into money-making ventures — and questioned why they need to drink astronomical amounts of coffee in order to do so.

Redditor u/wert989 complained about "the entire (side) hustle culture," but acknowledged that they too have fallen prey to the strengthening societal push towards monetizing activities previously meant for leisure.

"I understand the need/desire to do it myself too. But I find it insane that we need to monetize almost every waking moment," they wrote.

And Redditor u/DVT2013, whose comment has received over 2,000 votes, said they are firmly in the minority when it comes to drinking coffee.

"People are always shocked when they learn I do not drink coffee," they commented. "Like I am the one with a problem."

While other commenters examined the necessity of expensive weddings, 24-hour cable news channels, and having to upgrade electronic devices every couple of years, many of the viral thread's top comments revolved around modern society and its rampant social media use.

Multiple social media users
Redditors lamented over the prevalence of social media and the harmful effects it has on society. monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images Plus

In a comment that has received nearly 17,000 votes, Redditor u/AChaoticPrince said that constant connection is detrimental, despite its perceived benefits.

"Being too connected to friends or social media," they wrote. "You don't need to be constantly on your phone and stopping what you are doing every 5 minutes to look at your phone."

According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 70 percent of Americans report using at least one social media site — a figure the center says has remained stable for the last five years. Sites like Facebook and YouTube boast astronomical user rates, with 69 percent of Americans reporting they use Facebook and an even greater 81 percent reporting they use YouTube.

With high social media use rates and an impending plunge into the metaverse (and all of the digital worlds sure to come with it), there have been an increasing number of warnings about social media addiction and its real-world consequences.

According to the Addiction Center, diagnosed social media addiction affects between 5 and 10 percent of Americans, and can look much like alcohol or substance addiction. Defined as "devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other important life areas," social media addiction reportedly produces similar neural circuitry to gambling and, in some cases, "retweets, likes, and shares from these sites cause the brain's reward area to trigger the same kind of chemical reaction seen with drugs like cocaine."

In an October, 2021 interview with Stanford Medicine, Anna Lembke, author of Dopamine: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence, detailed similarities between social media addiction and drug addiction.

"Just as the hypodermic needle is the delivery mechanism for drugs like heroin, the smartphone is the modern-day hypodermic needle, delivering digital dopamine for a wired generation," Lembke told Stanford Medicine.

"We're wired to connect... but social media has become druggified by social-media apps, making us vulnerable to compulsive overconsumption," Lembke added. "Upon signing off, the brain is plunged into a dopamine-deficit state... which is why social media often feels good while we're doing it but horrible as soon as we stop."

Last August, Modern Professional examined social media addiction, the potential harmful effects that platforms can have on heavy users and reported that social media envy — caused by constant comparison to others via sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat — is a leading cause of anxiety and depression among people across multiple age demographics.

In the viral Reddit post's top comment, which has received 30.3K votes, Redditor u/BlossomtheMare echoed those sentiments and encouraged commenters to become more introspective.

"Some people are addicted to comparing their lives to others when they should really strive to be the best they can be. Trying to outperform others leads to endless frustration," they wrote.