London: People glued to Facebook for hours are more likely to lose friends on the social networking site.
Researchers found that friends' frequent posts about nothing in particular were most likely to lead to a severing of online ties. This was followed by comments about polarising topics like religion and politics.
Computer scientist Christopher Sibona, who surveyed more than 1,500 Facebook users on Twitter to get to the bottom of the new phenomenon of 'unfriending', said: "The 100th post about your favourite band is no longer interesting."
"They say not to talk about religion or politics at office parties and the same thing is true online," he added.
Inappropriate posts such as crude or racist comments were the third reason for the severing of relationships, reports the Telegraph.
The study also showed 57 percent of those surveyed unfriended for online reasons while 26.9 percent did so for offline behaviour.
Sibona, a PhD student at Colorado University in the US, observed a sort of online hierarchy of dominant and subordinate relationships.
For example, those making friend requests stood a much higher chance of being abruptly unfriended. At the same time, those doing the unfriending seemed to hold the upper hand in the relationship.
With over 500 million users worldwide, Facebook has become a global phenomenon, a vast cyber neighbourhood where friends meet to share photos, news and gossip.
It is when those relationships turn sour that 'unfriending' occurs - something those unfamiliar with social networking sites may not have heard of but that was chosen by the New Oxford American Dictionary as its 2009 Word of the Year.
Sibona said making friends on Facebook is a delicate dance with its own rules or "nettiquette" - far different from face-to-face interaction.
First Published: Thursday, October 07, 2010, 21:04