Facebook's Other Top Trend of 2009: Divorce

Facebook is cited in one out of every five divorce petitions, according to some new research published this week.

Facebook just released a list of its top status trends for 2009. The list features mainly mundane topics such as Farmville, Michael Jackson, and Lady Gaga. It may also, however, need to include divorce.

Facebook is cited in one out of every five divorce petitions, according to some new research published this week. Apparently, the ability to "poke" with such ease is simply too tempting to resist.

Facebook updates: What kind do you write?

Facebook Status: Divorced

The research comes by way of a British divorce center called Divorce-Online (a convenient concept, no?). According to the Telegraph, the center claims about 20 percent of all divorce documents include some type of reference to Facebook.

The root of the problem should come as no surprise: Too many spouses are using the social network for flirting -- or more.

"The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to," Mark Keenan, Divorce-Online's managing director, is quoted as saying.

The Telegraph suggests the sudden popularity of sites such as Facebook is somehow encouraging people to cheat on their spouses. My response? Bollocks.

Causal Confusion

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the problem isn't actually Facebook -- the problem is faithless spouses too stupid to realize they're leaving an electronic trail. More and more people may be discovering their significant other's indiscretions via social networks, but there's no reason to believe that one is causing the other. Cheating is cheating; Facebook is just a medium (albeit one that creates an easily findable path of breadcrumbs).

Truth is, the Internet's not always as far of a leap from reality as it sometimes seems. A recent Pew study found that social networks aren't making us any more socially maladjusted than we already were. And despite the fact that some of us are social network narcissists (are you?), the majority of us have Facebook profiles that accurately reflect our real-life personalitie

So, yes, if we're cheating slimeballs in the regular world, we'll also be cheating slimeballs in the virtual world. Otherwise, we're probably fine.

With all of that said, I'm sure it's only a matter of time until someone sues Facebook for "forcing them" to cyber-copulate with strangers. And if and when that happens, you'd better believe I'll be first in line to mock the plaintiff.

JR Raphael is co-founder of geek-humor site eSarcasm. You can keep up with him on Twitter: @jr_raphael.

This story, "Facebook's Other Top Trend of 2009: Divorce" was originally published by PCWorld.

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