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Facebook may predict whether or not your relationship will last

lifestyle Updated: Oct 31, 2013 12:58 IST


Facebook officially knows everything about you. According to a new study, the social media network may even be able to predict whether or not your relationship will last.

Cornell University's Jon Kleinberg and Facebook engineer Lars Backstrom analysed 1.3 million random Facebook users who listed their spouse or significant other on their profile pages, The New York Times reports. Users were all at least 20 years old and had somewhere between 500 and 20,000 friends. All data was used anonymously.

The researchers then developed an algorithm that could decipher exactly who in their friend list a Facebook user was married to 60 percent of the time based on a metric called dispersion -- meaning the degree to which a couple's mutual friends are connected to one another. People with high dispersion, meaning they have a lot of mutual friends, were more likely to stick together than those with lower dispersion. A couple in a relationship declared on Facebook who had lower dispersion rates were 50 percent more likely to break up over the next two months than a couple with a high dispersion rate. The researchers tracked users every two months for two years.

The paper, posted online this weekend, will be presented at a conference on social computing in February.

While media connectivity with your loved one could be a sign of a strong relationship, this holds true only to a certain point, at least according to another recent study. University of Oxford researchers analyzing the effects of social media on romantic relationships found that couples who communicate with each other via various channels, such as Twitter and Facebook, were less satisfied with their relationships than couples who stuck with fewer methods. The rationale? All the extra upkeep of so many separate channels gets cumbersome and undermines the relationship, the researcher said.