The recent proliferation in use of social networking sites (SNSs) has resulted in new research examining the role that SNSs play in identity construction. SNSs are defined as internet-based services that give individuals three major capabilities: First, the ability to construct a public or semi-public profile; second, the ability to identify a list of other users with whom a connection is shared; third, the ability to view and track individual connections as well as those made by others (Boyd and Ellison, 2007
). The most popular of the SNSs, Facebook (FB), now totals more than 500 million registered users (Facebook, 2011
). Based on a recent comScore report (Lipsman, 2011
), FB is the number 1 social networking site as of May 2011 with 157.2 million visitors per month, ahead of MySpace (34.9 million visitors per month), Linkedin (33.4 million visitors per month), and Twitter (27.0 million visitors per month).
Studies examining FB's impact on identity construction have evaluated specific personality characteristics associated with widespread FB use as well as FB's role in user self-presentation. However, to date, no literature review has been conducted that summarizes the existing findings of such studies.
In this article, we conduct a systematic review of the existing literature on the psychological factors contributing to FB use. We examine the technical features of the FB platform related to the user's ability to share social information. We also break down identity construction into the demographics and personality characteristics of registered users, the impact of FB use on narcissism and self-esteem and the role of FB in acting as an avenue for self-presentation and self-disclosure. For this purpose, we conducted a comprehensive literature search using PubMed, PsychInfo and the Cochrane Library with the keyword, Facebook. A total of 279 records were identified from these sources. We removed 12 records, due to duplications, and 189 records, because they did not yield sufficient data. Of the 78 records left, only 42 records were evidence-based studies on factors contributing to Facebook use. All of these studies examined a population sampled from undergraduate and graduate schools. provides a list of these studies and the variables examined for each one.
Sources for Literature Review