Facebook Knows When You’re Going to Get Dumped

Quick, add all your boyfriend's friends on Facebook.

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sad man with moustache

Everybody start freaking out. New research from Facebook and Cornell University implies that not only can the social network figure out who your boyfriend is — even if it isn’t “Facebook official” — but it can also predict when he’s going to dump you.

According to the study of 1.3 million Facebook users who listed they were in a relationship — called “A Network Analysis of Relationship Status on Facebook” — researchers could most accurately predict couples based on not how many friends they had in common, but what kind of friends they had in common.

That means that people who were friends with a wide array of high school, college, work, [insert weird activity here] acquaintances of their significant others were likely to still be in a relationship 60 days later. That shouldn’t be too surprising considering that good friendship dispersion indicates that a couple is building an integrated life together. If there wasn’t satisfactory overlap … well there’s always Tinder.

9 comments
DarinD
DarinD

my girlfriend and i have been together for 8 years and 7 3/4 of those years I NEVER had a facebook. Just created one bout 6 weeks ago when we moved cross country together so i could keep in contact with family better. I think this study applies to people who take facebook way too seriously.


Heisencat
Heisencat

I think statuses like these are also an indicator.. "Please don't leave me.  I promise, I'll buy white bread.  Who'll change the air filter?"

edwardrj
edwardrj

You guys have misinterpreted the results of the study. A high dispersion rate means the relationship is more likely to last, whereas a low dispersion rate means the relationship is more likely to fail within 60 days. In a nutshell, you have it backwards.

solardive
solardive

Quick, delete this article before anyone else reads it. Seriously, it does not take an algorithm to figure out you will still be friends 60 days from now with your high school or work colleagues. In my opinion the media reviews on the analysis are kind of superficial. 

laurastampler
laurastampler

@edwardrj I believe that that's what the article says. High dispersion doesn't mean it's about the number of friends you have in common, but the kind of friends you have in common. Thus, that they are widely dispersed among you friend circles (rather than having 100 mutual friends from your freshman dorm in college). Quality not quantity.

GabrielM.A.
GabrielM.A.

@edwardrj You are correct; I think they got a case of two tens for a five when they wrote the article reporting on somebody else's article reporting on somebody else's study.

edwardrj
edwardrj

   @laurastampler @edwardrj "A couple in a declared relationship and without a high dispersion on the site are 50 percent more likely to break up over the next two months than a couple with a high dispersion, the researchers found." The NY Times blog you linked to gets it right.

edwardrj
edwardrj

@laurastampler @edwardrj You're getting the idea of dispersion backwards. From the study: "dispersion: the extent to which two people’s mutual friends are *not* themselves well-connected." High dispersion means mutual friends are not well connected, i.e. a lower level of connectivity. Low dispersion means a higher level of interconnectivity.

laurastampler
laurastampler

@edwardrj @laurastampler Exactly. High dispersion means friends from all across the board. As this article states, "people who were friends with a wide array of high school, college, work, [insert weird activity here] acquaintances of their significant others were likely to still be in a relationship 60 days later." Those with low dispersion rates should probably prepare for Tinder in the near future.