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Want To Keep Your Facebook Friends? Don’t Talk Politics

What do people do when they encounter political posts they disagree with on social networks?

Facebook Friends (Flickr: GOIABA)
(Flickr: GOIABA)

A new survey released yesterday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project sheds some light on the subject.

While the vast majority of respondents choose to ignore political posts they disagree with on social networking sites, some take more drastic measures, by blocking, hiding or un-friending people who post politically-charged content.

The survey, “Social Networking Sites and Politics,” examines how political conversation can affect relationships on social networking sites. Three quarters of respondents say their friends have posted some kind of political content on their profiles.

It concludes that almost 1 in 5 social networking users have blocked, hidden or even un-friended a person because of their political posts. In contrast, 1 in 5 people also say they have refrained from posting something political on their profile pages for fear that it would incite, offend or upset someone.
Most who admitted unfriending others because of political posts said they did so because the person posted too often about political topics or because they found the political discourse disagreeable or offensive. A smaller amount said they’d hidden posts from people they disagreed with politically.

A large block of people, 38 percent, say they were surprised to learn that their friends’ political beliefs were different than what they though they were after reading their posts.

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