The numbers are in. 62% say Facebook DOES indeed cause friends to fight.

I honestly have to say I was surprised at how universal the problem of Facebook fighting seems to be.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

It turns out my experiences are not unique. On Friday, I reported that different groups of my friends on Facebook have tended to pick fights with each other. I asked the question, "Does Facebook cause friends to fight?"

I was curious if my experiences were unique, because I have both very liberal friends and very conservative friends. While I'd never invite both sets to the same party, both groups can interact with each other on my Facebook page. They do, they disagree, and they tend to fight.

Apparently, ZDNet readers have similar experiences.

Reader "macadam" reports "It happens all the time." Regular gadfly reader "Ron Burgundy" reports, "Yep [they fight] and nothing makes me happier than to out an idiot liberal in a discussion." Reader "walterth3rd" talks about how a simple Facebook article posting caused him to lose a friend.

Still, other readers, like reader "Real Life" contend, "No, LIFE causes friends to fight." Reader "Duncan651" says the problem is really, "the lack of respect for another person". Reader "edkollin" tosses the problem right back in our hands here on ZDNet claiming, "ZDNet articles/commentary cause friends to fight."

My colleague Charles Cooper, over on CBSNews.com, agrees. Charles writes, "I can sympathize. Same thing has happened to yours truly as well as to friends of mine."

I also posted a poll and the results, based on 446 respondents are in. 62% report that Facebook does indeed cause friends to fight. By contrast, only 20% report that Facebook does not cause friends to fight. Sadly, some of our readers definitely need to get out more, because 18% selected "Pity me for I have no friends."

While a Web-based poll isn't strictly scientific, 442 respondents do provide a statistically significant dataset, which means I believe the poll results here are indicative of a larger and more universal Facebook friend fighting trend.

I honestly have to say I was surprised at how universal the problem of Facebook fighting seems to be. I thought that because I regularly cross deeply divided lines, my friends were somewhat unique. But apparently Facebook magnifies human nature, and it's our nature to feel strongly about certain topics and disagree with those who don't share our feelings.

Let's remember that one of the founding principles of America is that we're a diverse people with diverse beliefs. Diversity breeds disagreement, but civil discourse is essential to a civil society.

While we might disagree in person and therefore just as easily disagree on Facebook, let's try to keep it all in perspective, keep cool, and avoid fighting on Facebook, okay?

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