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By: David Mielach, BusinessNewsDaily.com
You may want to think twice before unfriending someone on Facebook. That’s because new research has found that serious real-world consequences come from unfriending someone on social media.
In particular, researchers found that 40 percent of people say they would avoid someone who unfriended them on Facebook, while 50 percent say they would not avoid a person who unfriended them. Women were more likely than men to avoid someone who unfriended them, the researchers found.
“People think social networks are just for fun,” said study author Christopher Sibona, a doctoral student at the University of Colorado Denver Business School. “But in fact what you do on those sites can have real-world consequences.”
The research, which was based on 583 responses gathered through Twitter, also found there were several factors that would predict whether or not a person would avoid someone who unfriended them. Those factors were:
- If the person discussed the event after it happened.
- If the emotional response to the unfriending was extremely negative.
- If the person unfriended believed the action was due to offline behavior.
- The geographical distance between the two.
- If the troubled relationship was discussed prior to the unfriending.
- How strong the person valued the relationship before the unfriending.
“People who are unfriended may face similar psychological effects…because unfriending may be viewed as a form of social exclusion,” Sibona said. “The study makes clear that unfriending is meaningful and has important psychological consequences for those to whom it occurs.”