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Facebook can estimate how long your relationship will last

facebook thinks knows long relationship will last heart
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The Facebook Data Science team has been busy digging into the network’s statistics in honor of Valentine’s Day, serving up an interesting look at the average user’s love life. One of the biggest takeaways from the study, which used anonymized, aggregated data, is the length of our relationships: the longer you’ve been together, the less likely you are to break up.

“About half of all Facebook relationships that have survived three months are likely to survive to four years or longer,” summarizes Bogdan State of the Facebook Data Science team. Breaking up is most popular during May, June and July, while there was an acceleration of relationships coming to an end during 2011.

The team also looked at interactions between couples who eventually started dating. If you’ve got amorous intentions towards someone on Facebook, you’ll be posting an average of 1.67 messages per day on his or her Timeline before you hook up. Once the relationship begins, this number tails off dramatically, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing: “Don’t be discouraged by the decrease in online interactions, as the content of the interactions gets sweeter and more positive,” says Facebook’s Carlos Diuk.

If you’re looking for love, Facebook has some data for you too. Of the larger cities, the highest percentage of single people can be found in Detroit. The city where singles are most likely to begin a relationship is Colorado Springs. The single females outnumber the single males most dramatically in Memphis, while the opposite effect is most prominent in San Francisco. Adjust your travelling plans accordingly.

There’s a posting on age gaps too. In opposite-sex relationships, the male is older than the female two thirds of the time. Internationally, male partners are on average 2.40 years older than the female. Check out the data for yourself by reading through all of the blog posts. If nothing else, it’s something to discuss with your other half the next time you’re on the same social media network together.

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David Nield
Dave is a freelance journalist from Manchester in the north-west of England. He's been writing about technology since the…
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