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Surge in Facebook ‘unfriending’ among Israelis during Gaza war

The study was led by Professor Nicholas John, a sociologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Published: Updated:

Almost 20 percent of Israeli Facebook users unfriended or blocked content from their social media peers during the most recent Gaza war, according to a study in Israel.

The study was led by Professor Nicholas John, a sociologist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Times of Israel reported.

Those with a political affiliation that lied on one end of the spectrum or further away from the center were more likely to unfriend or block fellow social media users.

The study also found that those posting politicized content were more prone to severing social media ties with a few peers.

“It shows that unfriending on Facebook is quite a new phenomenon through which people create homogeneous media environments or ‘echo chambers,’ filtering out content that either offends them, that they disagree with, or that they don’t want to be associated with,” John said.

John began surveying more than 1,000 Israelis on 10 days after the ceasefire, during which he found that Israelis were more political on Facebook during the conflict than they were 12 months before it.

Although almost half surveyed said their content did not relate to the war, 6.4 percent admitted to posting a “great deal” of political content

Sixty percent of participants identified as right-wing, while 20 percent placed in the center and 20 percent said they were left-wing.

The study also found that younger people were more likely to unfriend someone as they identified heavily with their Facebook profiles.

In consequence, the study led to a series of descriptions of a typical Israeli “unfriender:” He or she is a young person with a strong and outspoken political affiliation who unfriend people he or she disagreed with yet had weak personal ties.