The word Facebook already appears in 1 in 3 of every divorce cases – yes that’s right, the social networking site helps end a third of all marriages.
And now experts are warning the situation is set to get even more dire with Facebook’s latest innovation, Graph Search, which allows you to search the site for people with similar interests to your own.
When Facebook launched Graph Search, founder Mark Zuckerberg used the examples of finding friends in the same city, or finding friends who liked the same games or movies.
But Divorce-Online says it could actually lead to a huge rise in Facebook instigated divorces around the world because the site will make it “easier for bored married people to look for illicit fun”.
Coupled with another new service which Facebook launched in the US, where, for a dollar, users can send messages to people who aren’t on their friends lists, Divorce-Online believes it could be a recipe for marriage disaster.
Mark Keenan, a spokesman for the service, which has so far dealt with 100,000 divorces since 2000, said: “We have continued to monitor the divorce petitions we produce and the prevalence of the word Facebook in them has, if anything, slightly increased.
“It has become the all pervasive tool for communicating in affairs, replacing e-mail, texting and phoning and the new Graph Search is only going to make it much easier for people to use Facebook as a tool to have affairs, in my opinion.”
The fears come after earlier research from Divorce-Online which found Facebook was implicated in a third of divorce proceedings. Although, it has to be said, the figures do only apply to the cases Divorce-Online deals with and, those who use social networking sites may perhaps be more likely to use an online divorce service rather than going through a traditional solicitor.
Nevertheless, the site says: “If someone wants to have an affair or flirt with the opposite sex then Facebook is the easiest place to do it.”
The most common reasons for Facebook causing issues in relationships were said to be a spouse finding flirty messages, or photos of their partner somewhere, or with someone, they should not have been at or with.
And, many relationship experts and divorce attorneys agree. K Jason and Kelly Krafsky, who wrote Facebook and Your Marriage, wrote on their blog: “People feel bolder behind a screen than in person. People type and press ‘send’ faster than common sense can kick in, and people feed off the rush they’re feeling rather than rationally thinking about what they’re doing.”
Anne-Marie Hutchinson, from Dawson Cornwell Solicitors, said: “If you are keeping things from your partner, Facebook makes it so much easier for them to find out.”
But many forum users commenting on the latest figures said it was unfair to blame the likes of Facebook. One said: “It amazes me to read how many people are blaming Facebook for their failed relationship. Facebook is just a medium for people to meet others. If people are not satisfied by their current partner, they will look for someone else. Facebook provides another medium, that’s all.”