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A study was published in the Journal of Communication, Dr. Shira Dvir-Gvirsman of TAU’s newly dedicated Dan Department of Communication, and her collaborator, Dr. Nicholas A. John of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, examined the phenomenon of “political unfriending” on Facebook and found that it reflects a new form of political disengagement

The researchers surveyed 1,103 Jewish Israeli Facebook users from between 1 to 10 days after the Israeli-Gaza conflict of 2014 and found that nearly a fifth (16%) of users had unfriended someone based on political comments, while a further 19% considered doing so before ultimately deciding not to.The researchers found that 73% of respondents reported unfriending Facebook contacts whose views differed from their own, but these contacts represented “weak ties” rather than friends they engage with on a regular basis. People have an average of 338 friends on Facebook, more than they can maintain offline.

The people who are most likely to unfriend others are younger, more politically engaged, and more active on Facebook; have lots of Facebook friends; and have more extreme political views,” say the researchers.

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