Facebook has been cited as one of the primary causes in an incredible one-third of all UK divorces in the past year, up from 20 percent in 2009.
In stark contrast, Twitter was mentioned in just 0.4 percent of filings. Could Facebook possibly be a contributory factor in 50 percent of all failed marriages within one or two years?
The study was undertaken by Divorce Online, who randomly sampled 5,000 UK divorce filings in December 2009, and again in December 2011, before comparing the results. The latest numbers showed Facebook being used as a direct reason or evidence for a divorce in 33 percent of cases, almost always related to spousal behaviour. Examples included sending inappropriate messages to members of the opposite sex, separated spouses posting nasty comments about each other and Facebook friends reporting spouse’s behavior.
While Twitter came off pretty lightly in the study, appearing in just 20 petitions, the platform was also blamed as a way for users to post negative remarks about their exes.
“Social networking has become the primary tool for communication and is taking over from text and e-mail in my opinion,” said a Divorce-Online in a statement. “If someone wants to have an affair or flirt with the opposite sex then [this is] the easiest place to do it. Also the use of Facebook to make comments about ex partners to friends has become extremely common with both sides using Facebook to vent their grievances against each other. People need to be careful what they write on their walls as the courts are seeing these posts being used in financial disputes and children cases as evidence.”
Even accounting for the difference in the sizes of each network – Facebook, with approximately 800 million active users, is about eight times the size of Twitter (but these numbers are over eighty times apart) – the lesson seems to be pretty clear for married couples: if you want to stay together, stay off of Facebook.
Or, at least, don’t use it to openly comment about your partners or flirt with strangers. After all, that’s what direct messages are for.
(Image credit: mkabakov via Shutterstock.)