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The social media apps we use, from best to worst

For a bunch of people who supposedly hate social media, we sure do spend a lot of time on it.

Just 33 percent of U.S. adults have "some or a lot" of trust in social media, according to a late 2022 report from the Pew Research Center, and people who spend time on social media are more likely to experience mental health problems, including depression. According to BroadbandSearch, an independent research site that compares internet providers, the average American spends a little more than two hours a day on the very same hurtful platforms they purport not to trust. And it seems like new social media platforms — any sort of online space in which people are publicly chatting with each other, including Facebook and Twitter and TikTok and, yes, LinkedIn — are popping up every day.

SEE ALSO:The best sex and dating apps for hooking up

There aren't loads of social media platforms that are brand new in 2023, but there are dozens that we spend our time on every day that have had some pretty radically nightmarish moments in 2023. Unfortunately, as it is the middle of the year, it's time to rank these nightmares.

While evaluating these social media platforms, I've considered five questions: 

  1. How widely-used is the app?

  2. How grumpy does the app make me because of the content?

  3. How grumpy does the app make me because of the interface?

  4. How likely is the app to disrupt democracy?

  5. How annoying are the influencers on that app?

There are many apps that launched recently that didn't make the list — Geneva, Diem, Melon, Pineapple, Somewhere Good — because they just aren't widely-used enough to asses just how awful they are. I'm omitting far-right social media apps like Parler and Gab — they are all worse than the apps I'm writing about here, and their content is too vile for me to make fun of in a listicle.

Here are the social media platforms that have stolen our brains so far in 2023, from least bad to worst. This list is just my opinion, but it is also correct.

Mastodon

A very nice escape from Twitter for the 20 minutes it was relevant.

BeReal

Fine, but no one uses it anymoreso it is now therefore boring. Boring, to be clear, is not necessarily an insult when it comes to social media (see: Facebook further down the list, which I wish was more boring).

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Artifact

Boringbut alright. 

BlueSky

This app seems fine but I don't have access to it. Send me an inviteand I will do my best to accurately review it.

Lemon8

A new app that is annoying to me, but others find it lovely.

LinkedIn

There are LinkedInfluencers, which is annoying but not actively harmful.

Substack

Stay with me, but the newsletter platform is kind of killing it this year. It launched chatsand a Notes featureto rival Twitter and some of the more popular Substack writers make a pretty good living from their newsletters. It's this far down, though, because Substack isn't without its problems: The platform allows some pretty hateful speech, like the transphobic newsletter from Graham Linehan. 


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Snapchat

This would be higher if it didn't force Snapchat AIonto every single user.

TikTok

Can be vile, but can also feed you a pretty consistent number of frog videos. It's lower down because entire nations are banning itfor — you guessed it — potential threats to democracy.

Instagram

I swear to God if I get fed one more video about dietingI'm going to scream.

Facebook

Unfortunately for Facebook, most of us simply refuse to forget 2016and the Facebook Papers. There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probablyin Tennessee — that says, ruin democracy once, shame on — shame on you. Ruin democracy twice — you can't get democracy ruined again.

Twitter

Elon Musk 🥴

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