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1. Introduction

Envy is essentially a social emotion driving individuals to react to status threat. As benign/malicious envy, it stimulates conduct in the quest of status (Magrini, 2016) contingent on reputation/ascendancy. Envy may stimulate individuals to annoy and take the initiative against superior individuals, strengthening endeavor for advanced performance (Androniceanu and Ohanyan, 2016) in manners that are organized at enhancing one's own end result without unfriendliness. Benign and malicious envy are essential responses to status threat. To grasp envy, it is imperative to examine how individuals handle circumstances in which increasing social comparisons have reservations about their social status. (Crusius and Lange, 2017) Individuals who use Facebook laboriously have superior levels of envy as they are exposed to countless personal information (Buber-Ennser, 2015) from individuals in their networks, i.e. favorable outcomes, material products, beneficial connections, etc. Exposure to such positive information concerning other individuals may bring about feelings of envy, because information users can feel subordinated to other individuals (Becerra et al., 2016) who give the impression of posting positive experiences constantly. Users hardly ever publish negative experiences, which may dispute the goal of positive self-presentation. When users feel envious ceaselessly, they may advance depression symptoms in time. Employing Facebook for surveillance make individuals less discouraged and brings about depression when users begin feeling resentful of other individuals. (Tandoc Jr. et al., 2015)

2. Literature Review

Variables influencing subjective assessments of personal control and merit throughout intimidating social comparisons should impact whether benign or malicious envy shapes conduct. Such evaluations and their subsequent emotional responses should be associated with how individuals parse status dissimilarities (Brown, 2016) and the manners in which they intend to accomplish status. The aspects that clarify whether maintaining status through esteem or ascendancy (Petcu, 2016) is more advantageous are comparable to benign and malicious envy's factional assessment patterns. Benign and malicious envy are instrumental emotional mechanisms in the handling of social status contingent on esteem versus ascendancy. Broad motivational predispositions in addition to domain-specific motivational propensities (Popescu, 2016a, b) produce the proclivity to undergo benign or malicious envy. Conceptualizing envy as a reaction to status threat enables recognizing dispositional mediators of benign and malicious envy. (Crusius and Lange, 2017) Support networks can assist substantially individuals handle depression equipped with the information that a potential intrinsic reason is the feeling of subservience. Schemes such as confirmation or providing encouragement (Life, 2016) can function to alleviate feelings of subordination that trigger depression. The social medium (White et al., 2016) should not be held responsible for depression but the reactions that it activates, especially Facebook envy, and that cannot be comprehensively required of all Facebook users. (Tandoc Jr. et al., 2015)

3. Methodology

Our empirical data are gathered from replicated surveys regarding technology use and awareness of stressful events in others' lives (close friends and more distant acquaintances). Even though they are predisposed to use the availability heuristic, recurrent Facebook users have more achievable instances from Facebook (Lazaroiu, 2016), being more exposed to an inaccurate perception. When examining other individuals' happy images posted on Facebook, users may infer that others are content, while paying no attention to the contexts (Ramcharan, 2016) that made others delighted. (Chou and Edge, 2012)

4. Results

Examining other individuals' positively presented material on Facebook can have detrimental consequences. The material collected in this research offers a substantial and diverse setting for grasping that increasing comparisons on Facebook can generate feelings of envy, the latter being a significant process (Machan, 2016) determining the effect of growing social comparison (Anderson and Kantarelis, 2016) on psychological well-being. (Vogel and Rose, 2016) (Figures 1-4)
Figure 1 Technology use and awareness of stressful events in others'

           CLOSE FRIENDS

           User of this technology  3 8
Internet   Non-user                 2.4
Facebook                            2.5
Twitter                             3.3
Instagram                           3.3
Pinterest                           3.2
Linkedln                            3.3
Photo                               4.3
sharing                             2.6
Text                                3.9
message                             2.5


           User of this technology  5.2
Internet   Non-user                 3.3
Facebook                            3.8
Twitter                             4.3
Instagram                           4.3
Pinterest                           4.2
Linkedln                            4.5
Photo                               5.7
sharing                             4.0
Text                                5.3
message                             3.5

Source: Pew Research Center. Our March 2017 survey. N=1,600 adults.
Note: The average number of stressful events that people knew occurred
in the lives of their friends/acquaintances in the past year.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 2 Most teens think social media allows individuals to be less
authentic and show a different side of their personality (% of social
media-using teens)

                                  NET AGREE 72%   NET DISAGREE 28%

People are less         50%       22              25        3
authentic and real on
social media than they
are offline             STRONGLY  AGREE           DISAGREE  STRONGLY
                        AGREE                               DISAGREE

                                  NET AGREE 83%   NET DISAGREE 17%

People get to show
different sides of      61%       22              12        5
themselves on social
media that they can't
show offline

Source: Pew Research Center. Our March 2017 survey. N=1,420 adults.
Note: Due to rounding, net values may not add up to 100%.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 3 Some teens face pressure to post popular or flattering content
(% of social media-using teens)

                   Yes, a lot  Yes, a little  No  Net Yes

Pressure to post
content that will
be popular & get        8             30      62    38
Pressure to only
post content
that makes you          9             32      59    41
look good to

Source: Pew Research Center. Our March 2017 survey. N=1,350 adults.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Figure 4 The wide range of actions on social media (% of social
media-using teens)

                                 FREQUENTLY  OCCASIONALLY  NET

People stirring up drama             24           49       73%
People supporting you through
challenges/tough times               20           48       68
People posting about things
you weren't invited to               14           39       53
People posting things about you      11           28       39
that you can't change/control

Source: Pew Research Center. Our March 2017 survey. N=1,380 adults.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

5. Discussion

Enviers either attempt to achieve or outperform the status of the superior other, or strive to moderate it (Mihaila, 2016), either by imposing concrete harm (Bauder, 2016) on the envied individual or by denigrating the other. Benign and malicious envy are related to noticeably distinct assessment patterns. A significant dissimilarity refers to personal control (Fujiwara and Lawton, 2016), i.e., the perceived capacity to enhance one's own undertakings (Zavala and Golden, 2016) compared with the other individual eventually. A significant position in the social ranking (Nica, 2016) is related to esteem and pressure from observers (Flegar, 2016), generating significant evolutionary advantages. (Crusius and Lange, 2017) Employing Facebook influences individuals' perceptions of others. For people that have employed Facebook for a long time, it is more unproblematic to recollect positive material and happy images posted on Facebook. The issues of counting on an availability heuristic (Eriksson and Lind, 2016) and having correspondence bias (Popescu and Ciurlau, 2016) are mitigated by having more unbiased material, which can be acquired via more profound interplays with other individuals. (Chou and Edge, 2012)

6. Conclusions

Benign envy assists in reaching comparable status eventually, whereas malicious envy assists in undermining the status of opponents. As envy is a social-functional reaction to status dissimilarities (Malott, 2016), any emotional exhibition of high status or social variable specifically influencing the emotional implications of status rankings (Tulloch, 2016) should bring to mind and shape envy more intensely than the simple knowledge of having a worse end result (Gloukhov, 2016) than another individual has. As status is provided only by observers (Olssen and Peters, 2015), benignly envious conduct is unsuccessful in improving the envier's status in the near future. Thus, benign envy boosts status especially in the long run, when indications of esteem (Ionescu, 2016) become concrete and noticeable (Cimatti, 2016) but for the immediate emotional setting. (Crusius and Lange, 2017) Facebook may be enjoyable, being instrumental in easing tediousness or forlornness (Agostinone-Wilson, 2016), but heavy Facebook users may have superior levels of Facebook envy in comparison to light ones. The more people employ Facebook, the more expected they are to take part in particular conducts (Vecsey, 2015) that direct them to assimilate (Schor, 2016) other individuals' personal information. (Tandoc Jr. et al., 2015)


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NELA MIRCICA Spiru Haret University

How to cite: Mircica, Nela (2017). "The Ethics of Envy on Facebook," Analysis and Metaphysics 16: 124-130.

Received 21 May 2017 * Received in revised form 22 September 2017

Accepted 24 September 2017 * Available online 21 November 2017

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Author:Mircica, Nela
Publication:Analysis and Metaphysics
Article Type:Report
Date:Jan 1, 2017

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