Recent analyses of self-reported data (mainly survey data) seem to suggest that social rules for ending relationships are transformed on Facebook. There seem to be a radical difference between offline and online worlds: reasons for ending online relationships are different than those for ending offline ones. These preliminary findings are, however, not supported by any quantitative evidence, and that is why we put them to test. We consider a variety of factors (e.g., age, gender, personality traits) that studies in sociology have found to be associated with friendship dissolution in the real world and study whether these factors are still important in the context of Facebook. Upon analyzing 34,012 Facebook relationships, we found that, on average, a relationship is more likely to break if it is not embedded in the same social circle, if it is between two people whose ages differ, and if one of the two is neurotic or introvert. Interestingly, we also found that a relationship with a common female friend is more robust than that with a common male friend. These findings are in line with previous analyses of another popular social-networking platform, that of Twitter. All this goes to suggest that there is not much difference between offline and online worlds and, given this predictability, one could easily build tools for monitoring online relations.
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