Liberals More than Twice as Likely to De-friend You for Disagreeing with Them
March 15, 2012
I was talking with a couple of friends recently about how (in my experience) liberals and conservatives use Facebook differently. The vast majority of political commentary that comes across my news feed is from my liberal friends, not conservatives, and much of it is snide or flippant. Just for example, at the moment, my feed includes (on the one hand) one Christian suggesting that Obama is attacking Christianity, and (on the other hand)
- a liberal relaying a “No, you can’t deny women their basic rights and pretend it’s about your ‘religious freedom'” picture,
- a liberal posting a snide Tina Fey quote about Sarah Palin,
- a “Very Liberal” posting a political cartoon apparently mocking immigration enforcement,
- a “Localist Socialist Anarchist” saying (ironically and non-ironically at the same time) “I am a woo-woo mystic hippie and proud” (this goes on at some length),
- a liberal criticizing (with vulgarity) newspapers for not printing some Doonesbury sequence about abortion, and
- a liberal posting a Youtube video that comes with the description “An overlook at the Hegemonic society that utilizes the media as a tool to dictate gender expression” (no idea what it’s about, not going to find out),
just off the top of the stack. It’s almost as if my conservative friends and I thought it would be poor manners to talk about politics a lot in front of everyone (especially to mock those who disagree with us); it’s almost as if, for some of my liberal friends, such considerations hadn’t even crossed their mind.
One goal of the survey was to see if people are using [social-networking] sites in a way that suggests they live in social network “echo chambers” of like-minded friends.
It wasn’t even a close contest:
Liberals are the most likely to have taken each of these steps to block, unfriend, or hide. In all, 28% of liberals have blocked, unfriended, or hidden someone on SNS because of one of these reasons, compared with 16% of conservatives and 14% of moderates.
In other words, it appears to me (and others I’ve talked to) that liberals are more likely inconsiderately to talk about politics publicly on Facebook. Then, perhaps ironically, Pew reports that liberals are also more likely to react badly to such behavior in others. You probably shouldn’t take my word for the former—it’s anecdotal—but I think you’ll find at least the latter very interesting.
See also Thomas Sowell’s examination of whether liberalism has a tendency to cut itself off from feedback from reality.