The Rules of Facebook: ‘Friends’ and ‘Unfriends’


NEW YORK (MainStreet) – If you obsessively track how many “friends” you have on Facebook, a new survey provides something of a field manual for making and keeping your contacts on the social network.

The survey was conducted by NM Incite, a social media information firm launched as a joint venture between the Nielsen Company and McKinsey and Company, a management consulting firm. The survey was conducted via an online questionnaire given to more than 1,800 social media users in April 2011 which asked their main reasons for adding or removing friends.

The main motivators in both situations aren’t surprising: 82% of users say they add people as friends because they know them in “real life,” while the biggest factor in “defriending” someone is that the friend in question made an offensive post or comment. But there are a number of other minor factors at play, including the fact that 7% of people admitted they have friended someone simply to boost their friend count.

The full survey results can be found in the graphic above.

Matt Brownell is a staff reporter for MainStreet. You can reach him by email at, or follow him on Twitter @Brownellorama.

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