Can Facebook Predict Breakups? Don't Bet On It

Status updates might not be best data
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 4, 2010 6:10 PM CDT
Gotta be a Monday.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A graphic attracting attention across the web purports to show when it's most common for couples to break up—based, of course, on Facebook status updates. By searching for the phrases "broken up" or "break up," it delivers supposed revelations. For one, we are collectively shrewd about breakups, cutting the chord before vacation times like spring break or summer—but we won't dump someone on Christmas Day. And Mondays are the most likely day of the week to sever ties, Mashable notes.

New York's Daily Intel blog is skeptical and rounds up flaws from critics, including the fact that "broken up" and "break up" hardly cover all the ways people describe their heartbreak. Also, the graph looked at 10,000 status updates, not 10,000 different users. People talking about their own breakups over and over, or celebs' breakups, would have messed things up. Finally, the graph skews toward people who overshare on Facebook, "in which case they probably deserved it."

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