Sometimes, you just have to hit "unfollow."

By Maggie Seaver
October 21, 2019

Have you ever blocked someone on social media to avoid their aggressive political posts, or unfriended someone to declutter your feed from constant TMI life updates? You’re definitely not the only one. According to a survey by Influence.co, a global influencer marketing platform, social media users find a lot of online behavior irritating enough to warrant an "unfollow."

Social media is fun and infectious, but it’s still a relatively new world that comes with its own ever-changing set of unspoken rules. Online, as in life, it’s hard to enforce in any sort of common sense etiquette protocol, even with the platform-specific behavioral best practices at our fingertips (like Facebook’s Community Standards or Snapchat’s Community Guidelines).

Since the interpretation of social media etiquette standards are so subjective, it makes sense that certain users’ behavior can not only rub others the wrong way, but offend/annoy them to the point of cutting cyber ties. And this goes for friends and strangers alike.

So what’s the most egregious thing people do on social media? According to Influence.co, nearly every survey taker (91 percent) named “bullying others in comments” the most inappropriate social media behavior. Similarly frowned upon are inexcusable things like “sharing discriminatory content” (89 percent), “posting fake news” (88 percent), “making passive-aggressive comments about an unnamed person” (78 percent), and “oversharing details about personal life” (77 percent).

Interestingly, while posting political opinions was only deemed inappropriate by about 20 percent of overall survey takers, political commentary and content was still the top reason people had for choosing to unfollow a friend online. It seems like posting political content isn’t inappropriate in itself (it can be interesting, informative, and prompt a healthy dialogue), but at its worst, it can become one of the most problematic behaviors for other users. 

“I was sick of seeing their political posts—they were aggressive and mean-spirited, not constructive or meant to provoke thought or conversation,” wrote one survey participant on their decision to unfollow someone on social.

Other behavior that prompted survey-takers to block or unfriend people on social media include others’ “excessive posting,” “discriminatory posts,” and “bullying or aggressive language.”

What else do people hate to see online? Sixty-four percent of respondents find it unforgivable when a friend posts a photo of them without asking, while 48 percent don't like to be tagged in a photo without consent. It might seem like a trivial offense, but almost one in 10 people reported ending a friendship over social media content posted without their permission. (When in doubt, ask your pals before you post anything!)

While social media may sometimes feel like a lawless place, every single user should do their part to keep etiquette standards high. Step one: Remember that those on the other end of your pics, posts, tweets, and comments are people too (whether they’re old high school classmates or big-time celebrities). Also, if you feel the need to rid your feed(s) of hurtful, annoying, or inappropriate behavior, here’s how to do so on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

RELATED: The Unwritten Rules of Money-Sharing Apps That You Need to Know

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