Priceonomics

When romances fade and relationships break, where do former lovers turn for support? According to Facebook, they turn to, um, Facebook. 

Data scientists at Facebook pulled together anonymized user data to see what happens when someone gets dumped on Facebook. They looked at the Facebook profile activity that takes place on someone’s profile after they’re on the “receiving end” of their former partner switching their status to single.

The Facebook team just looks at activities that could be construed as social interaction before and after the breakup:

“We tracked a combination of the number of messages they sent and received, the number of posts from others on their timeline and the number of comments from others on their own content, during a period starting a month before the separation to a month after.”

On the day of the separation, Facebook activity skyrockets:

Source: Facebook Data Science

As compared to their average activity, exes use Facebook noticeably more in the 4 weeks after breaking up. The social network becomes a platform for emotional support. According to the data scientists:

“This points towards people receiving support (from) their friends in times where they need it, whether it comes in the form of private message, timeline posts, or comments.”

However, this analysis does not explore what we’d really be interested in finding out - how soon after a breakup do you start using Facebook get into your next relationship? We’d bet that Facebook activity of stalking potential mates increases dramatically after the breakup as well.

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