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Recommendations for researchers to more accurately measure time spent on Facebook

Facebook Blog: “People often ask whether spending time on social media is good or bad for us. To answer this question, researchers need accurate ways to measure how much time people spend on platforms like Facebook, among other things. The most common approach, found in the vast majority of published studies, is through survey questions asking participants how much time they spent on these platforms. However, participants’ reports of their own use have well-documented limitations. Participants may not report accurately, because they either can’t recall or don’t know. Keeping track of time is hard, and people may report in biased or skewed ways. Some people may be more prone to recall errors. Further, validating these self-report measures is challenging in the absence of data from internal server logs. Our aim is to provide researchers with validated self-report time measures that more closely capture people’s actual time spent on Facebook. In our latest paper, “How Well Do People Report Time Spent on Facebook? An Evaluation of Established Survey Questions with Recommendations” (CHI 2020), we evaluate common survey questions from the literature, provide recommendations to researchers, and provide translations for 14 languages…”

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