Why You Should Stop Unfriending People With Different Political Views

The politics that don't bind.


Disagreements in politics have the potential to end relationships. It's a subject where most of us tread lightly. But on Facebook, many of us let our political flags fly, which may rub some people the wrong way.

A recent study published in the Journal of Communication by researchers at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University have evidence to show during politically charged conflicts, you may find yourself unfriended.

We've all resisted the urge to comment on relatives' and friends' walls at some time or another, knowing it will only result in an awkward, tense silence during get-togethers for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Researchers conducted a survey of 1,103 Israeli Facebook users between 3-7 September 2014 — a politically charged time in the Israel-Gaza conflict. During that period, half of the users were more active on Facebook and 16 percent of users said they unfriended someone on the social networking site because of their political comments.

Those who unfriended someone tended to be among the “more ideologically extreme and more politically active Facebook users,” they wrote. However, unfriending someone just because they have a differing political view may be locking us into an ideological bubble and deprive ourselves from another point of view.

“People unfriend people who have different political views to theirs,” said lead author Nicholas John to 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.”

Push yourself out of your comfort zone. I make it a point to do so, even though it often means I have to look at a feed of memes comparing Hillary Clinton to a pile of poop.

***

Natalie has been writing professionally for about 6 years. After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Feature Writing, she snagged a job at PCMag.com where she had the opportunity to review all the latest consumer gadgets. Since then she has become a writer for hire, freelancing for various websites. In her spare time, you may find her riding her motorcycle, reading YA novels, hiking, or playing video games. Follow her on Twitter: @nat_schumaker

Photo Credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN / Getty Staff

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Space toilets: How astronauts boldly go where few have gone before

A NASA astronomer explains how astronauts dispose of their, uh, dark matter.

Videos
  • When nature calls in micro-gravity, astronauts must answer. Space agencies have developed suction-based toilets – with a camera built in to ensure all the waste is contained before "flushing".
  • Yes, there have been floaters in space. The early days of space exploration were a learning curve!
  • Amazingly, you don't need gravity to digest food. Peristalsis, the process by which your throat and intestines squeeze themselves, actually moves food and water through your digestive system without gravity at all.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less