Facebook Can Predict Your Relationship: Less Mutual Friends Means You'll Last Longer

Facebook
Facebook knows if your relationship is going to last or hit the skids soon. Reuters

Facebook can accurately predict if you and your significant other are going to last. Researchers from Cornell University and Facebook used over one million Facebook users to determine what social networking can say about relationships.

A research team headed by Cornell’s Jon Kleinberg and Facebook engineer Lars Backstrom tracked 1.3 million Facebook users who registered as “In a Relationship.” Each user was over the age of 20 and recorded between 500 and 2,000 friends. Researchers checked up on users every two months for two years.

To establish the strength of a relationship on Facebook, Kleinberg and Backstrom decided against a method known as “embeddedness,” which focuses on the number of mutual friends that two users share. Instead they used “dispersion,” a factor of social media use that is based off the amount of friends shared through unrelated groups, NBC News reports.

Results indicated that Facebook couples who had low levels of dispersion stood a 50 percent higher risk of breaking up compared to couples with high levels of dispersion. Dispersion rates successfully revealed a user’s spouse with 60 percent accuracy.

A similar study asked Facebook users how often they used the social networking site and if it resulted in conflicts within their relationship. Individuals who spent more time on Facebook also spent more time arguing with their spouse or significant other. Couples who fight due to Facebook use are more likely to break up, get a divorce, or cheat.

"Previous research has shown that the more a person in a romantic relationship uses Facebook, the more likely they are to monitor their partner's Facebook activity more stringently, which can lead to feelings of jealousy. Facebook-induced jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners,” said lead researcher Russell Clayton from the University of Missouri. “Also, our study found that excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners, which may lead to emotional and physical cheating."

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