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How politics divides friends in Facebook

There is a cliché that says that in the family meals should not be talking politics. And is that the policy is able to flourish our side more intolerant, which can harm our relations with the closest people.

Family dinners are not the only contexts in which it is not advisable to talk about politics. According to a new study, the policy is also a factor of division between relationships on Facebook.

In fact, according to the study, those people who believe that most of their friends have political opinions different to yours tend to be less active in Facebook. In addition, those people who are most active politically tend to stay in their circles intimate, ignoring the users of contrary opinions, and helping to polarize the political debate.

The study followed more than 100 users in the united states were politically active during the spring of 2013, which produced the debates about budget cuts, gay marriage and gun control. The majority of the participants were women, liberals, and below the quarantine line, according to the authors, the typical profile of the user of Facebook.

More than 70% of the interviewed confessed to not talk about politics with their friends of different political opinion. When they did not agree with someone, the 60% I said ignore the contact and not to make any comment; when they do, they often questioned the relationship, and may even cause it to break.

The authors suggest that changes in the social platform could contribute to reduce the gap policy: for example, by presenting content that will make relation to shared interests, Facebook could help diffuse arguments and to reduce extremism.

Despite the limitations of the sample (it would be interesting to extend the profile of the participants), the study re-introduce a social dynamic clearly based on the homofilia: Facebook does not only not contribute to facilitate the creation of new shared knowledge in that policy relates, but, on the contrary, it would contribute to the polarization of ideas.

You can read a review of the study in EurekAlert .

Image via LifeHacker