How social media apps keep you addicted and hooked

Have you ever tried to stay away from your phone just to see yourself coming back to it every second?

How social media keeps you addicted [Yahoo]

You crave latest trending gossip or topic and you are eager to chime in. Why is this?

Social media sites use algorithms to keep users online, analysing user actions like likes, comments, shares, and time spent on posts. These algorithms curate a personalised feed based on this data, allowing platforms to display content in a new and improved order.


The primary purpose of social media algorithms is to keep users interested and active on the platform, allowing them to interact with content and view more advertisements. As users interact, platforms learn about their tastes and tailor the material they display.

The addictive nature of social media and the difficulty of putting our phones down is largely attributed to psychology.

What will you see when you open a social media app? You don’t know, but you know you’ll be engaged. Variable rewards are a significant factor in social media addiction, as users are constantly uncertain about what they will receive when they open an app or refresh a page, which can lead to increased engagement and a desire for more.


Infinite scrolling is a feature in some apps, like Instagram, where users can continuously scroll without reaching the end due to the constant loading of new content, ensuring they never run out of content to view. The way social media works, you only stop when you want to; there’s an infinite number of things to look at.

The dopamine effect occurs when our brain releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical, when we receive notifications or likes on our posts, leading to a cycle of craving and frequent social media use.


According to psychologist Nir Eyal, social media companies use the Hooked Model, a theory that explains four stages of user interaction. Users receive a trigger to use the product, perform an action to satisfy it, enjoy a variable reward, and create an investment to increase the product's value.

If you are addicted to your phone and can’t function without it, it’s not your fault. Social media addiction is a complex combination of psychological factors, not just a lack of self-control.

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