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Many aghast at Facebook friends' politics, study finds

It seems, astonishingly, that people aren't quite so familiar with how politically peculiar their Facebook friends are. At least that's what a Pew Study says. It also says 75 percent post something political.

Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I am a crypto-fascist, proto-communist, middle-of-the-road liberal conservative.

I just wanted to embrace all eventualities, just in case any of my Facebook friends are reading this. For, it seems, that a significant proportion of Facebookers are surprised--perhaps even aghast--when their virtual friends reveal their politics.

This revelation--one that might be critical in determining the future of our nation--was offered by respondents to a Pew Study that analyzed the relationship between social networking and social notworking--aka politics.

Some 38 percent of Pew's sample were truly surprised that their friends delighted in, say, the idea that capital punishment should be visited on all jaywalkers and bicyclists.

Naturally, I paraphrase. But it seems that around 75 percent of people have, at one time or another, posted some content of a political nature on Facebook--content that has caused some of the friends' eyebrows to touch their hairline.

The full report offers further ticklish insights into the human psyche.

When people see a political posting on Facebook, their tendency is not to comment upon it--at least in that forum. A heartily disturbing 73 percent of people agreed "only sometimes or never" with their friends' public leanings.

You will be stunned into disinterring Guy Fawkes when I tell you that those at the extreme ends of the political rainbow are the most likely to voice an opinion about another Facebookers' views.

However, when your shock has subsided, you will hopefully titter at the finding that these enthusiastic extremists are the most likely to be shocked at the politics of their Facebook friends.

Pew also offered the nugget that a mere 60 percent of conservative Internet users commit themselves to social networks, which compares with 70 percent of moderates and 74 percent of liberals.

Could this possibly mean that conservatives, marching in time with Ayn Rand, don't need affirmation from friends who are often fake? Could it mean that liberals and moderates need far more love, even if it be virtual love?

Or could all of this research merely offer the notion that so often makes for a fine thriller: we never really know what goes on in minds of our twisted fellow beings--even after they've posted something political on Facebook.