A new chart issued by Nielsen reveals that the reason people defriend others on Facebook is pretty much the reason the same reason they cut them off in real life — making obnoxious comments.
According to Nielsen's helpful infographic of Facebook use, 55% of users have defriended someone because the no-longer-friend made "offensive comments." Forty-one percent listed "don't know well" as the reason someone got the ax, while 39% referenced "tried to sell me something." These seem like they might overlap frequently — who among us hasn't approved someone we thought we knew, only to find out that this person merely wanted to invite us to constant album-release parties? All of the above seem like more legitimate reasons than the fourth most common — "depressing comments" — which is itself depressing.
The reasons people friend one another are also pretty straightforward. The most popular rationale, at 82%, is "know in real life," followed by "mutual friends." At least from this data, it appears that the fears of Olds are misguided — most people are not using Facebook as a place to compulsively scan the personal data of total strangers whom they have delusionally labeled "friends." Actually, only 7% of users said they friended to keep their friend-number up, the same percentage who did so based on "quality of photo." It's unclear if that's a euphemism for hotness (which was also a choice, polling at 8%), but I'm going to assume that 7% of Facebook users are photography nerds who just really appreciate a good headshot. Be careful, though — for these folks, just posting a blurry cell-phone photo probably counts as an "offensive comment."
Friends & Frenemies: Why We Add And Remove Facebook Friends [NielsenWire, via Atlantic]