It has been widely claimed that the social networking website Facebook promotes narcissism. There has even been some scholarship towards the effect. The paper Narcissism on Facebook: Self-promotional and anti-social behavior published by Christopher Carpenter in the journal Personality and Individual Difference reported that Facebook users that scored higher on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory were more like to use the website more often.
Using data from the personality tests on this website I am going to try to verify this research and extend it to all three of the dark triad personality traits (narcissism, machiavellianism and psychopathy). I will draw the data from three separate tests, one for each trait –the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, the MACH-IV, and the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale– and divide it into two groups, one group that was referred to the tests via Facebook and one group that came to the test via Google (this will serve as the control group, Google users would seem to relatively synonymous with web users, sorry Bing).
The data is graphed below (the vertical scales in each case is the full range each measured by each scale).
As can be seen, those that came to the test through Facebook were actually less narcissistic than individuals who came from Google. Ditto for psychopathy and machivallianism.
So, where does this leave the theory that Facebook is a simmering stew of narcissism? Well, this probably does not say that much as Google users who search out tests of narcissism are probably not an accurate sample of Google users. Still, it is not obviously consistent with the Facebook as narcissism hypothesis.