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  • A cell phone shows a Facebook page promoting Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, in this photo illustration taken Apr. 13, 2015.

    A cell phone shows a Facebook page promoting Hillary Clinton for president in 2016, in this photo illustration taken Apr. 13, 2015. | Photo: Reuters

Published 26 October 2016

With less than two weeks to go before the U.S. election, people are growing frustrated with political discussions on social media.  

Social media users are growing increasingly frustrated with the political content that bombards their computer screens and mobile devices, according to a new study released on Tuesday.

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The Pew research Center reported that of more than 4,500 U.S. adults surveyed, 37 percent said they were sick of the amount of political content that they see via social media.

Only 20 percent of those surveyed said they enjoyed political content, with 41 percent reporting that they did not have any strong feelings for or against.

The report, entitled “The Political Environment on Social Media,” also noted people’s frustrations in engaging in political debates, particularly with other users and friends on social media. Eighty-three percent said they attempt to ignore political posts they disagree with from friends, with 15 percent saying they respond. 

When discussing politics with people they disagree with, 59 percent said their conversations were “stressful and frustrating” compared to 35 percent who found them “interesting and informative.”

For some people, political posts became too much, with 39 percent reporting that they have blocked, unfriended or changed settings to see fewer political posts from other social media users. Sixty percent said they took up such measures because they found their political content offensive.

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Sixty-four percent said that political encounters with other users via social media left them asking if they have less in common with friends that what they first thought. Forty percent said that those discussing politics on social media say things that they otherwise never would in person. 

“Many users view the tone of political discussions on social media as uniquely angry and disrespectful – although a sizeable share feels that these discussions simply reflect the broader political climate,” said authors Maeve Duggan and Aaron Smith.

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