AUSTIN, Texas - People with liberal views are almost twice as likely as conservatives to unfriend someone on social media over political disagreements, according to a new Pew Research survey.
In every category, people who identified as liberal were more likely to shun their connections over political disagreements. Twenty-eight percent of liberal users have unfriended or blocked someone, while 16 percent of conservatives and 14 percent of moderates admitted to doing the same.
"Very liberal users and very conservative users are often the most likely to have acted for and against others on [social networking sites]," according to the report, unveiled on Monday at the South by Southwest conference. "They are also more likely than others to have been surprised by their friends' political views and to be in networks where they agree with what their friends post."
The most common reasons that people cited for blocking their friends were disagreement over the content, and people posting too many political comments.
Even those users, however, have as many friends of different political persuasions as friends with similar views. Almost 75 percent of social media users "only sometimes" or never agree with their friends' political views online.
Sixty-six percent of social media users ignore friends' posts that conflict with their political views, according to the study. Nearly 40 percent of of the 2,200 adults surveyed admitted they discovered their friends' political leanings on social networking websites.
Overall, 18 percent of social media users said they had blocked, unfriended or hidden someone because of disagreements over political issues, according to the survey, conducted from Jan. 20 to Feb. 19. The margin of error is +/- 2 percentage points.
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