How to Break Your Facebook Addiction

Control your use of Facebook to live a happier and more balanced life

Facebook addiction wasn't much of a thing until the social network made the move to a mobile app. Now, we carry our connection to this massive social networking site everywhere with us on our smartphones. Even when we're not staring at our phone screens, thousands of advertisers on television, in magazines, and on product packaging tell us to "like us on Facebook."

Here are some things you can do to help you break free from your Facebook addiction and spend more time doing the things you want or need to get done.

Person browsing Facebook on their smartphone

Adam Berry / Getty Images

Commit to Deactivating Your Account for at Least a Week

Many people have found relief in deactivating their Facebook accounts for a short period to help take themselves away from it all and realize what they're missing by spending time on the site. Some people do it for a week, others do it for a month, and some never go back to restore their accounts.

The benefit of committing to it for a short time is that you permit yourself to go back to it if you need to, so it won't feel like you're missing out permanently. Aiming to do it for at least a week can help reset your Facebook habits if you decide to reactivate your account.

Clear out Your Facebook Friend List

Over the years, most people can say that they've racked up hundreds of old friends, coworkers, and acquaintances on Facebook. And not to mention public page likes.

An extensive network of people you barely know and tons of pages sharing frequent updates can trigger an overwhelming desire to know what's going on at all times, even if you haven't spoken to any of these people in years or lost interest in those pages months ago.

A good rule of thumb is to go through your friend list once a year and unfriend anybody you haven't made contact with in more than a year, except for family members and special friends who live across the country or overseas. You can cut down the lost connections on your list this way and avoid getting caught up in the lives of people from your past.

Unlike the Pages You Don't Need

As far as liked pages go, ditch the ones you could live without and keep the ones you enjoy or that are useful to you. However, Facebook doesn't allow you to unlike pages in bulk.

Go to Facebook.com/pages and select Liked Pages to see the pages you've liked so you can work your way through unliking the ones you want to unfollow. You can also customize your news feed to hide or snooze post updates from specific pages and people without unliking or unfriending them.

Remove Old Third-Party Apps

While you're on cleanup duty, delete unwanted third-party apps you installed over the years—if not for distraction, then to protect your privacy.

Delete apps by going to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Apps and Websites. Select the apps you want to delete, then choose Remove.

Make it Difficult for Yourself to Access Facebook

Beating your Facebook addiction could be as simple as putting it out of sight and out of easy reach. You can do this by:

  • Activating two-factor authentication and then signing out of your account.
  • Deleting the Facebook app on your phone or tablet.
  • Taking the URL out of your bookmarks.
  • Replacing Facebook as your homepage.
  • Not leaving Facebook sitting open at all times in your web browser.

You could also make use of a time management application or website-blocking tool if you have trouble exercising self-control over Facebook.

Limit Facebook Activity to Once or Twice Per Day

Suppose you're not ready for a detox and not willing to delete your 500 friends. In that case, make a conscious commitment to only checking Facebook and doing all your interaction one or two times per day, like in the morning, during your lunch break, or before you go to bed.

Doing so takes self-control and doesn't work for everybody. If you're disciplined, you might feel satisfied in only spending 10 or 20 minutes a day interacting on Facebook just once or twice rather than compulsively checking it round the clock.

Stop Tallying Likes and Views

One of Facebook's more unhealthy aspects is obsessing over the number of likes and views your post is getting. Perhaps even worse is scrolling through your newsfeed and wondering why other people's posts are so popular. If Facebook has turned into a popularity contest you're convinced you're losing, it may be time to stop counting likes and views.

In May 2021, Facebook unveiled a feature that allows users to hide the number of likes and views a post is getting. Users have the option of disabling like and view counts for all the posts they encounter site-wide, hiding like and view counts for just their own posts, or selecting posts on a case-by-case basis.

Hide like and view counts via your Facebook mobile app's settings. Go to Menu (three lines) > Settings & Privacy > Settings > News Feed Settings. Tap Reaction Counts; you'll be able to disable like and view counts on all your posts or everyone's posts. To disable like and view counts on a single post, tap the three-dot icon at the top of the post, then choose the post's like and view count settings.

Not obsessing over your posts' popularity may be just the thing to bring back the joy of scrolling through Facebook and just catching up with family and friends.

Final Thoughts on Facebook Addiction

Facebook addiction and social media addiction, in general, is increasingly becoming a topic of discussion in psychology and technology. And it will likely continue to be a relevant problem in modern society as more websites and apps compete for our attention.

You ultimately have full power to break your addiction by exercising self-control and addressing the priorities in your life. If you think your problem is serious enough that you can't get your addiction under control on your own, seek help from close friends, family, or possibly a mental health professional.

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