Study: Most Facebook Friends Are Fake, About Four Are Real

| by Michael Allen
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Most folks try to gather as many friends on Facebook as they can, but a new study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal on Jan. 20 says that most Facebook friends are not genuine.

Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, found that most people have only about four real friends on Facebook, on average.

For his study, Dunbar analyzed two studies from April 2015 and May 2015 that sampled 3,375 people in the UK, ages 18 to 65, reported CNET.

According to Dunbar's study, the average Facebook user has about 150 friends, but of those friends, only around 14 would be sympathetic to problems.

This shouldn't come as a great shock as the average Facebook user believes that about 27 percent of their friends on Facebook are really their friends, says the study.

Dunbar's research also found that Facebook friends are in psychological categories: about five being closest to the Facebook user, then a group of 15 who are less close, 50 that are more detached, and so on.

The study concluded: "Friendships, in particular, have a natural decay rate in the absence of contact, and social media may well function to slow down the rate of decay. However, that alone may not be sufficient to prevent friendships eventually dying naturally if they are not occasionally reinforced by face-to-face interaction."

Sources: The Independent, CNET, Royal Society Open Science / Photo credit: Derzsi Elekes Andor/Wikimedia