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February 27, 2014

What Facebook Can Tell You About Love

facebook-can-tell-love

It turns out everyone’s favorite social media website has been doing some research on our love lives. A special subdivision of Facebook called Facebook Data Science posted a series of blog posts earlier this month about relationships in celebration of Valentine’s Day. There were a total of 6 blog posts with a different research topic about love and how it plays out on Facebook. After reading the following insights you might just be a little more impressed with Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook.

Love and Religion

Seeing that Facebook is a worldwide phenomenon, the first study the Facebook Data Science team did was about religions across the globe. Research showed that all countries studied (these included the US, China, Malaysia, UK, Spain, Canada, etc.) have low levels of inter-faith relationships. Spain had the highest level of inter-faith relationships, but that was even low still at just 28% of the research population. The U.S. fell in at about 86% of relationships being between people of the same religion; however this rate varies significantly with the religion. Catholics and Jews, for example, are more likely to be in relationships with or married to people from other religions, where Sikhs and Mormons usually stick to their own religion all across the board.

The Age of Love

According to research, 67% of the time the guy is usually the older person in the relationship. Internationally, the male is on average 2.4 years older than the female, but this age difference will vary with age. People who start dating when they are younger tend to be closer in age than people who start dating when they are older. Makes sense right? As you might have guessed, there is also a global age gap with Arab countries having wider age gaps than countries like the U.S. and Australia.

Flings or Lifetimes? The Duration of Facebook Relationships

What is the biggest factor in the life of a relationship? How long the couple has been together. Sounds kind of obvious right? An interesting thing they found was that the success of the relationship may have something to do with the time the relationship was formed. It has been said that summer flings are less likely to last than relationships formed in other months, so Facebook might be onto something here. They also were able to extrapolate that about 50% of Facebook relationships that make it to the 3 month mark are likely to last 4+ years.

Looking for Love

This study was all about where the singles are in the U.S. The top 5 cities with highest levels of singles are:

  • Detroit
  • LA
  • NYC
  • Miami
  • Memphis

The top 5 cities with highest levels of relationships are:

  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • El Paso, TX
  • Louisville, KY
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • San Antonio, TX

So basically, if you’re looking for love, you should probably head down south because us big city coastal folk love to be single. And if you care to know where the most single females are per male, head to:

  • Memphis, TN
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Richmond, VA

And finally, the most single males per female are located in:

  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Seattle, WA
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • San Diego, CA

The Formation of Love

Facebook looked at the “courtship” phase of a relationship and analyzed the amount of posts, messages and profiles visited before a relationship is Facebook official. In the 100 days before a relationship is official, there is a growing number of timeline posts between the two people and the day the relationship is established, that number decreases. While the amount of posts may decrease, Facebook saw that the posts that do happen tend to be express more positive emotions.

When Love Goes Awry

To end the research, Facebook studied people who went from being in a relationship (and this includes all of the relationship statuses on Facebook) to being “single” after at least 4 weeks. Basically what they found here is that right after a breakup, a person is more likely to receive private messages, timeline posts and a higher rate of comments on their own posts. Here’s to supportive friends and family in a time of need!





About the Author

Elisa Freese
Elisa Freese is a lifelong New Yorker with a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY New Paltz and a Master’s degree from New York University. She has always had a love for writing and now that school and homework are finally done forever, Elisa is going back to writing on a regular basis. In addition to writing, Elisa loves anything that has to do with traveling, shopping, social media and TV/movies. With her experiences, as well as the experiences of her friends and family, Elisa hopes to shed some light on the ins and outs of dating to the readers of Nouveau Dating.




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