Effects of Facebook on Students’ Academic performance


Facebook has emerged as an innovative social networking platform in the very recent years. It is one of the top social networking site with highest number of users. It is a platform where users can generate personal profiles, multipurpose pages, private and public groups, and time limited events to share and promote various content and information with friends, family, and others known and unknown to them. It also offers status updates, picture updates, private messaging, file sharing, and many more services. There are numerous concerns about the effects of Facebook usage on students’ academic performance both in terms of time spent on the site as well as frequency of visit. Literature is full of research studies on effects of social media and social networking sites on students’ academic learning and achievement. For example, Wang, Chen and Liang (2011) evaluated the effects of social media on college students at Johnson & Wales university. Helou and Rahim (2014) studied users’ perceptions about the influence of social media on their academic performance at a Malaysian university. Similarly, Shemberger and Wright (2014) carried out a case study based research to provide an insight into the use of social media technologies like web 2.0 and Connectivism in students’ learning process. According to Petrović et. al. (2012) Facebook subscribers have reached 800 million.  Since Facebook is mostly used for entertainment and non-academic purposes with hardly any examples of educational interventions involving Facebook as a learning tool or platform, this literature review is specifically focused on the effects of Facebook on students’ academic performance. The review will also try to investigate about how to use Facebook as a learning tool.

There will be two independent variables involved in this research study. One independent variable is students’ usage of Facebook. Usage is determined by the amount of time that students spend while using Facebook. Another independent variable is students’ frequency of visit to Facebook. Frequency refers to the number of times a student signs into this platform. The dependent variable in this study will be students’ academic performance. Thus, the study will analyze the dependency of performance variable in relation to the two independent variables.

Research Questions  

This study will try to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the effects of Facebook usage on students’ academic performance?
  2. What are the effects of Facebook frequency of use on students’ academic performance?
  3. How can be Facebook used as a learning tool by students to improve academic performance?

Purpose of the Study

This study aims at finding the impact of time spent on Facebook and frequency of Facebook usage on students’ academic performance. Since Facebook is most widely used social networking platform especially among students, the study will also focus on how can this platform be used to improve learning. Since the time spent on Facebook and frequency of Facebook visits may vary in their impact on student cognitive abilities, therefore, the differential impacts of Facebook usage and frequency of daily use on students academic performance will be individually evaluated.



Definitions of Key Terms

  • Facebook: Facebook is a social networking utility, intended to help people communicate more efficiently with friends, family, and coworkers (McClard & Anderson, 2008).
  • Social Media/Social Networking Sites: Ellison (2007) defined Social Media as, “a web-based services that allow individuals to (1) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, (2) articulate a list of other users with whom they share a connection, and (3) view and traverse their list of connections and those made by others within the system.” These include websites, blogs, content management systems and, web/mobile applications, for example MySpace, Facebook, Cyworld, and Bebo etc.
  • Student Performance: student performance or academic achievement is the extent to which a student has achieved his/her educational goals and objectives usually measured through examinations and continuous assessment.