Science Reveals Why People Are Unfriending You On Facebook

Photo: Etienne Ansotte/REX Shutterstock
Apparently, that old adage about avoiding talking politics with friends and family holds true on Facebook, not just holiday gatherings. A new study published in the Journal of Communication, called "I Don't Like You Anymore," suggests that unfriendings that are politically motivated are a "new kind of political gesture."

To test that theory, Nicholas John of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Shira Dvir-Gvirsman of Tel Aviv University conducted an online survey among Jewish Israeli Facebook users between September 3 and 7 of 2014. This was just 10 days after the Israel-Gaza conflict's open-ended ceasefire on August 26, 2014. The survey included results from 1,103 respondents. They found that during the region's turbulent times in 2014, 16% of study participants had unfriended a Facebook friend based on political comments.
“People unfriend people who have different political views to theirs," John told the PsyPost. “We already know that Facebook and search engines provide us with a feed and search results that are tailored to us. By unfriending we are further contributing to the formation of echo chambers and filter bubbles. More than that, these findings suggest that the people most likely to unfriend are younger, more politically active, more active on Facebook, have lots of Facebook friends, and have more extreme political views — these are important people in online discussions.”
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In short, they found that although social networks might expose us to a plethora of different views, we tend to cut our "weak ties" with people who push us out of comfort zones.
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