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Opinion
Parmy Olson

Wordle, BeReal and Even Facebook: Apps Get Less Addictive

The growth of services that prize connection over obsession marks a healthy shift in social media.

More cumbersome, less addictive.

More cumbersome, less addictive.

Illustration: Jessica Karl

How did Facebook become a business worth $1 trillion at one point last year? Not just by fulfilling its mission of “connecting people,” but by keeping them hooked on the site, sometimes for hours on end.

Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube and Twitter Inc. have spent years perfecting the art of building habit-forming products, whether through the social affirmation of “likes,” the allure of a never-ending newsfeed or the way YouTube hits your dopamine receptors each time it recommends a new video.