6 Things Facebook Knows About Your Love Life

Women like older men, relationships that start in winter last longer, and Jedis have a tough time, according to Facebook’s data geeks.

Facebook knows a frightening amount about how we live our lives, particularly how people relate to one another.

And just to prove the point, its data science experts have been providing some insight into how relationships are formed (and broken), according to anonymised user data.

While interesting to look at, this kind of information and analysis will be very interesting to Facebook’s commercial partners.

1. On average, men are 2.4 years older than their female partners.

Facebook says men are the older partner in heterosexual relationships 67% of the time while woman are older in 13%.

As people get older, the age gap in their relationships grows, says Facebook. This is because the younger people are, the more likely it is they met in school.

Egypt has the highest age difference, according to Facebook data — men are 5.09 years older than their female partners on average. Scandinavian countries have the most same-age relationships.

2. The first 12 months are crucial when it comes to determining whether a relationship will last the distance.

So relationships that make it past two years are far less likely to split up compared with one at six months.

Facebook says, in its analysis of long-term relationships: “About half of all Facebook relationships that have survived three months are likely to survive to four years or longer.”

Plus, relationships that start in the winter have a higher chance of lasting than ones starting in other seasons. On the flip side of this, Facebook also says that May through July is the most popular time for breakups.

3. People post loads of Facebook updates in the months before a relationship, but once it’s “official,” they get quieter.

During the 100 days before a relationship starts, Facebook’s data shows that posts increase as people share funny things — to their friends generally and to their prospective partner. It’s generally rude to play on your phone while you’re supposed to be talking to someone, so there’s that.

4. But when a relationship does start, people start posting more happy things almost immediately.

5. Across the world, there is a low number of interfaith marriages, with poor old Jedis struggling the hardest to find someone of the same faith to marry.

“Although considering that Jedi comprise only 0.15% of the population, it is still a rather impressive use of the Force that 13.2% of Jedi manage to find another Jedi to marry”, Facebook says.

6. Facebook users’ friends interact with them more following a relationship breakup.

In a group of people who had been “in a relationship” for at least four weeks and gone to being “single”, analysts found that the level of interactions (message sent and received, timeline comments) increased 225% on the day they changed their status, compared with average volumes.

David McCandless and Lee Byron also made this fascinating graph, showing the peak time for breakups is just after Valentine’s Day and before Christmas.

Read the Facebook Data Science team’s full post here.

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
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