Post political content on Facebook and risk losing friends

Results from a new study show that 18% of adults on Facebook say they have responded to political posts by friends by dropping those friends or blocking their posts:

Eighteen percent of the 2,253 adults surveyed by Pew said they had blocked, unfriended, or hidden a friend on a social network over a political post. It isn’t hard to see why: The Pew survey found that because people who post about politics tend to be very liberal or very conservative, the offending posts are more likely to be out of line with other people’s views. Indeed, only one in four users surveyed by Pew said they “usually” or “always” agree with their friends’ political posts; 73 percent said they only sometimes or never do.

Though most people—roughly two in three—take no action over political posts they disagree with, some 28 percent said they counter with a comment or competing post, another behavior the Pew survey said leads to friends going their own way.

Despite everyone’s apparent distaste for other people’s political views, the survey found most users continue to post their own: 75 percent of adults who use social sites said their friends post political content, and 37 percent said they post at least some of their own.

My interpretation (filtered through my own research): political comments (and some discussion?) are common on Facebook but it doesn’t appeal to everyone and some people can go over the line (either through posting more “extreme” political posts or posting too many political comments).

I would be interested to hear a lot more about this: what is the threshold for appropriate political posts? Why are some users so uninterested in political posts to go so far as to block/drop friends? Are there similar areas of discussion, perhaps religion, that evoke similarly strong reactions from other users?

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