Social media websites such as Facebook make people more sociable, researchers say.

The findings contradict a widespread belief that online socializing is replacing in person contact as people shun the world beyond their computer screen.

"Our findings suggest that Facebook is not supplanting face-to-face interactions between friends, family and colleagues," said S. Craig Watkins, an associate professor of radio, TV and film at the University of Texas.

"In fact, we believe there is sufficient evidence that social media afford opportunities for new expressions of friendship, intimacy and community," Watkins said, according to Reuters.

The researchers surveyed 900 college students and recent graduates about how they use Facebook. More than 60% of Facebook users said posting status updates was among the most popular activities. Sixty percent said they wrote comments on their profile and 49% posted messages and comments to friends.

"Facebook brings all our different networks and social scenes together. We present ourselves in different ways, whether to friends, co-workers, or family," Watkins said.

Facebook has more than 500 million users worldwide.





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