What you post and “like” on Facebook could provide a window to understanding – and potentially treating – mental health issues, experts say.
The language people use, the emotions they convey and the topics they discuss can help medics spot disorders including depression and schizophrenia.
Researchers at the Cambridge and Stanford universities believe better analysing behaviours on the social network could help diagnose and support those with mental health illnesses.
One in seven people across the world use Facebook on a daily basis – and social media use is growing three times faster than any other internet use.
Evidence suggests 92 per cent of teens use the site to share much more online than they would dream of doing so offline.
Writing in Lancet Psychiatry, Dr Becky Inkster, lead researcher of the new study, said: “Facebook is hugely popular and could provide us with a wealth of data to improve our knowledge of mental health disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.