When we talk about the harms of social media, we tend to focus on psychological problems related to body image or money. But there is also a hidden environmental cost to our daily scrolling habits.

It takes a huge amount of energy to store all those cat videos and photos of your mates’ latest culinary experiments. The result is a surprisingly large volume of CO2 emissions – most of which users are unaware of.

But not every platform emits equally. BanklessTimes.com has gathered data on several top social media brands to discover how the environmental impact compares between platforms.

Key findings:

While the popularity of a social media platform matters, there are other factors to consider. Both YouTube and Facebook boast considerably larger user bases than TikTok. But TikTok emits three more CO2e per minute of use than Facebook – and five times more than YouTube.

Equally, users spend 50% more time on both YouTube and TikTok than they do on Facebook. As a result, the companies’ overall carbon emissions are somewhat surprising given their differing scales.

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