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Facebook friend requests tied to longer life?

Posted: 12:45 PM, Nov 01, 2016
Updated: 2016-11-01 12:45:43-04

Turns out, having lots of friend requests on Facebook is good for more than just your ego.

According to  a new study , Facebook users who get a substantial amount of friend requests could live longer.

To come to this conclusion, researchers took about 12 million California Facebook profiles and matched them to public documents from the state, like birth and death certificates.

Those analyzed were born between 1945 and 1989. The study's authors made sure the users' information was kept private by aggregating the data before they analyzed it.

And they found the Facebook users who had received and accepted the most friend requests were  34 percent less likely to die  within two years, compared to those who got the least amount of friend requests.

Which is pretty surprising, considering all of the warnings doctors typically give about spending too much time online.

But as  a news release  about the study put it, "The research confirms what scientists have known for a long time about the offline world: People who have stronger social networks live longer."

As The New York Times  points out, two of the researchers who participated in the study had worked for Facebook. But they say the company didn't influence the results. 

"We had some things in writing that they couldn't interfere with the publication of the research no matter what the result was," said William Hobbs, a postdoctoral fellow at Northeastern University.

To read more about the results of the study, head to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences'  website .