Reaction to Our Facebook Profanity Stats

May 27, 2011

This past Monday, we published some stats on the use of profanity on Facebook, the headline being that 47% of our users have profanity on their Facebook Wall.  This piece of news has gone viral like we never imagined.  It all started with an article on All Facebook and then it spread from there.  Articles on the topic started – and are still – popping up everywhere, including on Mashable, the TODAY show website, and Huffington Post.

Most of the articles have focused on the entertaining element of the news, that lots of people cuss on Facebook.  These type of articles spawned intense discussions in the comments section, many people wondering why is it wrong to use profanity in general.  To make our perspective on this clear, we do not feel it is a purpose of Reppler to tell people whether they can use profanity or not.  However, we do feel it is important for Facebook users to be aware of how they might be perceived by others if they use profane words, especially since Facebook profiles are being looked at by employers to screen job candidates and the use of bad language in the workspace is considered to have an effect on how people are perceived.

What are your thoughts on this topics?  Let us know by adding a comment.

47% of Facebook Users Have Profanity on Their Wall

May 23, 2011

It has been a little over a month since we launched Reppler so we thought it would be a good time to share some statistics we have collected.  These statistics, based on the scanning of the Facebook Wall of the over 30,000 users that have used the Reppler service so far, might be surprising to you:

  • 47% of our users have profanity on their Facebook Wall.
  • 80% of our users who have profanity on their Facebook Wall have at least one post/comment with profanity from a friend.
  • 56% of the posts/comments with profanity on a user’s Facebook Wall come from friends.
  • Users are twice as likely to use profanity in a post on their Facebook Wall, versus a comment.  Whereas friends are twice as likely to use profanity in a comment on a user’s Facebook Wall, versus a post.
  • The most common profane word is derivations of the “f-word”.  The second most common profane word is derivations of the word “sh*t”.  “B*tch” is a distant third.

A couple comments on these statistics…

The prevalence of profanity on Facebook Walls is an increasingly important issue as a user’s Facebook profile comes under closer scrutiny, particularly by employers as they screen job applicants.  Here’s a recent Washington Post article that talks about how the use of obscenity in a work environment can impact how others perceive a person.

The fact that a significant percentage of the profanity on a user’s Facebook Wall comes from friends demonstrates one of the issues with Facebook – users don’t have complete control over the language used on their Facebook Wall, yet the language used by friends can have an impact on how others perceive them.

What do you think of these statistics?  Are you surprised at the percentage of people who have profanity on their Facebook Wall?  Do you have profanity on your Facebook Wall?  If so, do you care?

Facebook is a Predictor of One’s Personality

May 11, 2011

An interesting study was presented at The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Vancouver this week by a team from the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the University of Maryland.  The study, entitled “Predicting Personality with Social Media“, presents a method by which a user’s personality can be accurately predicted through the publicly available information on their Facebook profile.  For a summary of the study, you can read this Discovery article.

The results of this study doesn’t surprise us.  This is what we are trying to communicate in the My Impression area of the Reppler service.  My Impression tries to reflect how a Facebook user could be perceived by others when they look at the user’s Facebook profile.

As more and more people look at the Facebook profile of others for various purposes – screen a job candidate, check out a potential date, etc. – how a person is perceived by others on Facebook can have a significant impact.  Over time, we hope to incorporate learnings from studies like this as we improve the Reppler service.

What do you think about this study?  Do you think your Facebook profile reflects your personality?