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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

No More Political Posts on Facebook?

According to a study cited in Quartz, "only" 8% of Democrats and 6% of Republicans reportedly answered yes to the question of whether they've ever been swayed by a political post on Facebook. However, "only" is a relative term. The chance of you being struck by lightning even during a thunderstorm is exceedingly low (say, .5%), yet most would regard the odds as high enough to warrant staying inside. Yes, those who changed their minds are in the minority; but, by my estimates, this amounts to over 200,000 people. If I were to write that "hundreds of thousands" of Democrats and Republicans have changed their minds following a political post, many readers would draw a very different conclusion.

Also, these results are only meaningful if people have worse luck on Facebook than they do elsewhere when it comes to changing people's minds (yet no distinction was drawn between FB or other venues). I find that most people are reluctant to reconsider their deeply held values, regardless of the venue

So, in the words of Madonna, "Express yourself, don't repress yourself."  Obviously, it's important to do so charitably, and without idolizing politics.  But if your friends don't like what you write on your own wall, the solution is to simply unfollow or unfriend you.