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Facebook Blamed In A Third Of UK Divorces

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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Facebook has apparently been cited in a 33 percent of divorce cases in the United Kingdom in the past year

Facebook users should be more careful in future about reaching out and touching someone after a survey by a UK divorce Website showed that 33 percent of behaviour petitions cited Facebook as a reason for filing for divorce.

The alarming news for Mark Zuckerberg comes from UK divorce website Divorce-Online. It reportedly carried out a survey of 5,000 people in both 2011 and 2009.

Divorce Increase

In 2009 only 20 percent of behaviour petitions contained the word “Facebook” but in December 2011 this number alarmingly increased to 33 percent of petition allegations.

Unsurprisingly, the most common reason was spouses behaviour with the opposite sex. However it seems that vengeful ex-es are also using Facebook after they have seperated to make comments about their former partners on their wall.The online divorce specialist blogged about the most common reasons for Facebook being cited in divorce proceedings.

In summary, the top three reasons are:

  1. Inappropriate messages to members of the opposite sex.
  2. Separated spouses posting nasty comments about each other.
  3. Facebook friends reporting spouse’s behaviour.

“Social networking has become the primary tool for communication and is taking over from text and email, in my opinion,” said Mark Keenan a spokesman for Divorce-Online. “If someone wants to have an affair or flirt with the opposite sex then this is the easiest place to do it. Also the use of Facebook to make comments about ex-partners to friends has become extremely common with both sides using Facebook to vent their grievances against each other.”

“People need to be careful what they write on their walls as the courts are seeing these posts being used in financial disputes and children cases as evidence,” he added.

Tweet them bad

It seems that Twitter is also making an appearance in the divorce stakes, but the word Twitter apparently only appeared in 20 petitions as part of the allegations. Again, it was the use of Twitter as a communication tool to make comments about ex-es that featured in most tweets.

The legal profession is slowly catching on to the increasing use of social networking, and IT in general, in many divorce cases and other legal proceedings. Back in December, 2010, for example, a court case in America resulted in a significant development for co-habiting couples or married people who are sharing a computer with one another.

This was because a man from Rochester Hills, Michigan, was charged under US anti-hacking laws, after he broke into the Gmail account of his wife Clara, who he suspected was having an affair with a former husband. Clara had apparently been married twice before, and the emails that Leon discovered confirmed his suspicions of his wife’s infidelity.

In other instances, escaped criminals have used Facebook to taunt the police. And another recent survey found that most Brits are drunk in their Facebook photos.