Facebook, the most preferred social network across the world, has more than a billion users, and there are users who have more than 1,000 connections. But those are not all friends, claims a new study, which says a person cannot have more than 150 friends.
Not all are real friends
The 150 limit is known as Dunbar’s number, and was named after Robin Dunbar, who was a British professor and study author.
Explaining the study, the scientist told AFP, “The 150-layer is the important one: this defines the people you have real reciprocated relationships with, those where you feel obligations and would willingly do favors.”
The study focuses on different boundaries within friends circles on the online social media site. The professor said that a person tends to have five intimate friends, fifteen best friends and fifty good friends. There could be a maximum of 150 friends, while others are acquaintances up to 500, and the rest are people we can recognize on the site, who could be 1,500, the professor said.
The study, which included 3,375 total participants, was comprised of males and females in the age group of 18 to 65. These participants were asked how many genuine friends they had, and the average was 27.6%. But when they were asked how many of them would be there for them in a crisis, the number was reduced to just four friends.
The study also found that the number of Facebook friends a person had did not make any difference to these numbers. Even the respondents with unusually large networks, “rather, added more loosely defined acquaintances into their friendship circle simply because most social media sites do not allow one to differentiate between these layers,” the study found.
Teens leaving but old joining Facebook
The study also confirmed earlier findings that younger users have started moving away from Facebook owing to the rising popularity of other forms of social media. Dunbar said that more youth and teenagers are moving away from Facebook and are making greater use of other forms of social media like Snapchat, WeChat, Flickr and Instagram.
In 2013, 86% of Facebook users were in the age group 18 to 29, but this percentage dropped to 82% by 2015. In contrast, the percentage of 65+ Facebook users on the platform increased during the same period.