Friendship over: Is it fair to ‘unfriend’ someone over political differences?

May 25, 2018 - 3:11 PM
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Rodrigo Duterte
The toxic political landscape has a way of putting a strain on friends who have opposing views. Is it okay to unfriend someone with different political views?
FROM AROUND THE WEB

Should you stop being friends with someone over differences in political views? A recent online thread explores this amid the never-ending slew of criticisms exchanged between supporters and critics of the government.

On a May 11 thread, Twitter user @undertwotrees expressed that dismissing friendship over political views was “fair.”

“This tweet is brought to you by a memory from a year ago. Facebook reminds me today of the non-friends I’ve lost through their unwavering support of fascist regimes,” the user added.

The viral post, which was also shared on Reddit, gathered mixed reactions, mostly saying that people shouldn’t be too worked up over politics alone.

Why it’s ok to “unfriend”

Twitter user Joseph Raymond Sim argued in his reply that he “might as well unfriend anyone” who opposed his views, and questioned what type of opinions is worth dismissing friends over.

To clarify his point, @undertwotrees added two days later that he was not telling people to let go of just anyone they disagree with, rather, it’s “perfectly fine” to dismiss those who “degrade” or oppress the rights of others.

“I repeat: I’m not telling you what to do with your (e.g.) fascist-enabler friends. You get to decide on that. But hear me out when I say that unfriending over oppressive politics is perfectly fine. I have no regrets cutting off toxic relationships. Wala akong time diyan, okey?” the user explained.

Meanwhile, those who agreed aired that it’s hard if the people you disagree with on politics are your family members.

In Reddit, one user who agreed with the post shared another interpretation, wherein dissent over issues is a “valid reason to end a friendship,” but should not be the only reason.

Divided nation on political views

The political perspective of Filipinos is mostly evident on social media with groups and accounts that are seemed to be divided solely between supporters and allies of the government.

Since Duterte’s presidency, many Filipinos believe that there are only two sides—the Liberal Party supporters or so-called “dilawan” and the allies of the administration or members of the Diehard Duterte Supporters.

A report last year cited US-based Freedom House findings that social media influencers were paid to operate fake accounts for either “supporting President Rodrigo Duterte or attacking his detractors.”

New norm 

In the United States, cutting off ties with people over politics became common after the 2016 presidential election, based on a Washington Post report.

“Interestingly, the most common reason for unfriending someone over politics was not the content of their posts — it was because they were posting too much,” Leticia Bode wrote.

Interestingly, the people who would likely “unfriend” on social media over political disagreements are the most politically engaged ones, while it is “relatively rare” among the rest of the users.