Is Facebook really marital enemy No. 1?

There have been a number of stories about Facebook ruining people’s lives and relationships over the past couple of years. Most recently today we see in the press stories the mess Facebook caused in some people’s lives.

But the question remains: do we blame Facebook or would those people who use it to have illicit affairs do so regardless of social networking sites?

According to the blog ‘The Mom Squad’, “Just a few weeks ago, divorce experts announced that 1 in every 5 divorces last year cited Facebook as a contributing factor”.

Now, since this is a US-based blog and considering there were nearly 1,000,000 divorces in the US in 2007, that means if we are to believe these stats, some 200,000 of those divorces were due to Facebook, which is quite a huge number.

To make matters even more confusing, official US statistics claim that some 27% of all marriages in the US fall apart due to infidelity, which would make most of that cheating courtesy of Facebook- a statistically dubious achievement.

And of course, a lot of these figures would be similar here in Australia but is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg a home wrecker or just a convenient scapegoat?

Reading sites like The Mom Squad does make one wonder whether Facebook is the root of much marital evil.

For example, Twilight13 posted, “…thought my marriage was strong, that was until my now ex-husband, decided to entertained and put his focus on an old high school flame, and neglected his family, over a fantasy that caused him his marriage, and destroyed our dreams. What is so pathetic, is that she knew he was married, and call herself a friend, but I believe what comes around goes around, and they both will pay for their indiscretions. Life goes on, and he did me a favor, I found a real man, and I am so very happy with my new LOVE. But I must say never expected that from my x, and I highly recommend, if you are in a MARRIAGE, DO NOT ALLOWED THIS SOCIAL HOOK UP SITE TO ENTERTAIN AND SABOTAGE YOUR MARRIAGE, AND IF YOUR HUSB.OR WIFE WANTS TO GO TO A HIGH SCHOOL REUNION, THEY MUST TAKE YOU”.

Or how about newlife who wrote: “my husband of 24 years hooked up with his highschool girl friend, but this is the second time he cheated on me. Because of the internet. First time was 14 years ago, should have known then once a cheater always a cheater, and as for her well in my opinion any woman who does what she did is not worth the ground to spit on. A cheater and a home wrecker can have each other. Karma will get both of them a relationship built on what they did will never get respect”.

But is Facebook really to blame for all this infidelity or is just another tool in the cheaters arsenal? Well, we could argue this until the cows come home, however a post by ‘princess’ on a site called summed it up perfectly: “Facebook and other networking sites are just tools. Breakups are always about non-compatibility and differences in personality”.

Most marriage experts I would think concur that cheating is not caused by Facebook- its just that it and other social networking sites make cheating a lot easier and of course increase the number of people to be able to cheat with.

But claiming Facebook makes people cheat in some ways is like saying that cars make people drink and drive- both statements deny human will and choice and somehow strip personal responsibility from people’s actions – and both are inherently wrong.