47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

Summary: Around 47 percent of users have profanity on their Facebook Wall. Do you care?


Social media monitoring service Reppler launched over a month ago, and has been collecting information from users' Facebook Walls ever since. After analyzing data from over 30,000 users, the company has made the following observations:

  • 47 percent of our users have profanity on their Facebook Wall.
  • 80 percent of our users who have profanity on their Facebook Wall have at least one post/comment with profanity from a friend.
  • 56 percent of the posts/comments with profanity on a user's Facebook Wall come from friends.
  • Users are twice as likely to use profanity in a post on their Facebook Wall, versus a comment. Whereas friends are twice as likely to use profanity in a comment on a user's Facebook Wall, versus a post.
  • The most common profane word is a derivation of f*ck, the second most common profane word is sh*t, and b*tch is a distant third.

Reppler argues that the prevalence of profanity on Facebook is something that you need to look out for, especially given that profiles are coming under increasingly closer scrutiny by employers, schools, and other parties that may want to indirectly learn more about you. They are all looking for professionalism, or lack thereof.

While 44 percent of content with profanity can be limited or completely eliminated by simply watching what you write, the rest comes from your friends. This means that you don't have complete control over the language used on your profile, and your friends can have an impact on how others perceive you. Of course, you can always clean your Wall from any such posts, but that's a hassle, and by then it could be too late.

The reason Reppler has published this data is simple: it has a vested interest in doing so. If you sign up for the service, it will help keep your Facebook image "clean" by making you aware of inappropriate content and showing how others could perceive you. It also makes sure to highlight your public information that should be private and flagging malicious links that could result in malware, spam, and so on.

My Wall currently does not include any profanity. That being said, I have definitely sworn on my status before. I simply felt that it was necessary at the time.

What are your thoughts on profanity in general? I personally believe that swearing and cussing are part of every language and I am not offended if someone uses profanity. If profanity is used to insult me, then I am just as offended as when "normal" words are used to insult me.

I have one last inquiry. How did you feel when I censored the three words of profanity above? Would you have preferred if I didn't or would you have rather I avoided including that statistic completely?

Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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  • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

    good one. for me i think one should watch what he/she says on FB...but for prospective employers invading my privacy through FB that i dont get. for crying out loud FB is a social networking site..............
    • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

      Last time I checked, profanity is protected under freedom of speech. Employers who fire people based on what is said on facebook, unless it's directed at the company in which they work for, other then they hate their job type stuff, should be illegal and should be considered wrongful termination.

      Profanity although is unprofessional and should not be used a your jobsite when you are getting paid for it, anything that is posted online by yourself, and employer has no right to punish you for it.

      So what if 90% facebook walls contain profanity, who the heck cares. I know I don't give a rats behind.

      And for those who don't like profanity on your walls and are asking for a filter, maybe you should look for new friends. Or if it's your children you are trying to censor, maybe you should talk to your child and find new friends for them if you are that worried about it.
      • freedom of speech

        @papokergod: The First Amendment constrains only the government. Private citizens and companies can limit speech and set up consequences for exceeding that limit. For example, the private citizen can say, "Get out of my house if you're going to talk like that." The company can say, "You're fired."

        Wrongful termination involves breach of an employment contract or of employment law.

        Long story short, if Facebook decided to ban profanity, good luck finding a lawyer to help you sue them.
      • So according to you employees are not allowed to vent?

        Doesn't everyone hate their job now and then? Even if an employee is writing on their FB page that they hate their job i don't believe this is a reason for termination. People need to vent, it is unhealthy not to do so. Using a social network like FB makes it quick and easy to vent and get some empathy making that hard day at work more bearable.
      • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

        Profanity is just a strong verbal modifier representing a negative emotion. Drunk, mad, sad, or hurt; profanity lets you screw the cap off your steamrolling rampage. Facebook is a SOCIAL network its a cyber house party where people find that drunk chick from last nights party or at least I think it was a chick(jokes). If a company is going to look at all their employees profiles and fire them for profanity, unless you live in Pleasantville noones that perfect hell even priests from the vatican dip their sticks in the pedophile pool from time to time.
      • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

        @papokergod : So a teacher gets on Facebook and vents about your kid being the stupidest f*cker in the class. Would you be O.K. with that?
        @Cyraxote: Would a public school teacher be protected while a private school teacher would not?
      • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

        @papokergod I couldn't possibly agree more!!!! Companies should be held liable for any losses incurred on the individual as well by about ten times. This would discourage them from nosing into your personal life. (Cyraxote)If the police can't pry into your personal life, then the law didn't somehow imply for companies to be able to! It's called "private" for a g*& d@#$*ed reason!
      • Whole lotta flaggin going in

        Seems ironic that so many people appear to be being flagged during a discussion about free speech.<br><br>I did a quick law/caselaw search and it seems that firing someone over FaceBook chatter can in fact get an employer in hot water. That being said, it seems that those cases may be the exception, not the rule and usually involved people in "protected classes" or protected work discussions (e.g., among workers about work conditions).<br><br>That being said, I suspect that we'd all rejoice at a hospital which decides not to hire a brain surgeon, or a school district who decides not to go with a bus driver because he posted a picture of himself passed out drunk with the caption "I got myself so ****ing ****-faced that night again. Can't wait for my shift to be over"<br><br>But maybe that's just me.

        Now, will my asterisks get me flagged as well?
        Mr. Copro Encephalic to You
    • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

      @Enodano ... Which anyone who will allow all kinds of logger and tracking cookies can attest to: It is open to the PUBLIC! If you don't want it seen, get rid of it; it's actually that simple.
      You sound as though you think it's a private area; it's NOT.
      • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

        @tom@... I, too, am shocked at the recent news about Facebook. I thought I could enjoy communicating with others online ...
        Let's keep Facebook an area for clean, pleasant communication that people can enjoy, shall we?
    • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

      I have nothing against venting. I'm just telling you that an employer can terminate an employee for any reason whatsoever unless there is a contract or the employer is breaking a law by doing so (i.e., age, race, or gender discrimination). The idea is that if the government prevents you from speaking, you have no recourse; if a company seeks to prevent you from doing so, you can quit. It may not be the most convenient solution, but it is recourse of some kind.

      @dougchappelle: That's a good question. I think that some abridgment of free speech by the gov't is thought to be permissible (e.g., you can't yell fire in a crowded theatre). In your example, what the teacher said could be defamation, and if you argued that a Facebook post is a "publication," you could call it libel, perhaps. Your rights end at the tip of your nose, and as soon as you push up against somebody else's rights, you're in trouble (and a big gray area).

      Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, so you can take what I say with a grain of salt. I've learned about employment law from being on the receiving end of it...
  • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

    I thought it was a little lame that you used the asterisk when spelling the profane words. On the other hand, I understood why you did and also appreciated that you gave enough of the word so that I could know what word you were saying. I hate it when cuss words are censored to the point that you have no idea what the word was. On a movie on television this can sometimes completely obfuscate the essence of the interaction and it's possible to lose the thread of the plot because an important part of the conversation was censored out because of the cuss words.
    • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

      @josh92 ,,, Bull Pucky!
    • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

      If the "important part" of the conversation consisted of profanity, then the individual in question has a very poor grasp of the English language.
      • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

        Yeah... and if i really wanted to comunicate a feeling of disgust...? isn't that just the exact way for doing so.

        Bad words also exists in the languages of every country... it' a world wide phenomenon that occurred naturally.

        That you can't simply say it's bad or wrong... that would be SO NAIVE.
  • In Other News

    The Sun rises in the East and Sets in the West and if it is raining out you may get wet if you go outside in the rain.

    Who cares really.
    • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

      @bobiroc ,,, Mothers, fathers, siblings if any, bosses, customers, clients, co-workers can, friends from church, man on the street, many people you don't know, other relatives/friends who always though you were better than that, instead of short of the English language, and a host of others.
    • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

      @bobiroc Darn straight!
  • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

  • RE: 47% of Facebook Walls contain profanity

    Most article containing profanities will also get comments with profanities. F$#@!