Frown face for Facebook as survey finds most Canadians believe it harms their mental health

Three in four respondents believe the social network helps them stay connected to their loved ones

A survey has found the vast majority of Canadians give an unlike to Facebook but not enough to unfriend.

Forty per cent of respondents to an online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies said they had a negative opinion of the company, and half of the respondents said the social medial giant should be regulated or broken up.

Facebook’s corporate image and finances have taken a bath of late due to allegations by a whistleblower and a six-hour worldwide outage.

The vast majority of respondents to the survey also agreed that Facebook amplifies hate speech, helps spread fake news, damages individuals’ mental health, and poses a risk to children and teenagers.

Despite the negative feedback, more than three in four believe the social network helps them stay connected to their loved ones, with just over 50 per cent saying it is key to sharing information and positive for free expression.

Conducted Oct. 8 to 10, the online poll surveyed 1,545 Canadians and cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

Last week was a brutal one for Facebook, and not just because of the six-hour outage.

Whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before a United States Senate committee that the company’s products harm children and fuel polarization in the U.S., a claim backed up by internal company research leaked to the Wall Street Journal.

In an emailed statement to the Canadian Press, Facebook Canada said it continues to make investments that target misinformation and harmful content.

“Canadians come to Facebook to connect with their loved ones, grow their businesses, and share what matters to them,” the company wrote.

Canadian Press said the email also highlighted the platform’s banning of several Canadian hate organizations and a $500,000 partnership with Ontario Tech University’s Centre on Hate, Bias, and Extremism that aims to bolster research on the spread of those elements online.