According to researchers, Facebook does not cause loneliness and people use the social network in an effort to feel more connected.

"Compared to non-lonely people, lonely people spend more time on Facebook. Lonely individuals who are shy or have low social support may turn to Facebook to compensate for their lack of social skills and/or social networks in face-to-face settings," explained Hayeon Song, assistant professor of communication at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in US.

To reach the conclusion, the team analysed a collection of studies to find that a connection between Facebook and loneliness exists.

They found that the lonelier someone is, the longer he or she spends time on Facebook.

"The interesting point of this study is that it both supports and corrects the original internet study, which is one of the most influential studies in internet research and was produced by researchers at the Carnegie Mellon University," stressed Song.

"To the question of whether or not the internet increases psychological dysfunctions such as loneliness, the internet study suggested that internet use has detrimental effects. Our study supports this in that internet use is associated with loneliness," Song maintained.

"However, we found the previously suggested causal direction to be erroneous: lonely people spend more time on the internet rather than internet use making people lonely," the researchers concluded.

The paper appeared in the journal Computers in Human Behaviour.

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