Facebook may help predict top times to break up

5 Nov 2010

British journalist David McCandless has come up with a way to predict prime break-up periods – a graph, based on information garnered from Facebook.

McCandless and his colleague, Lee Byron, produced a chart which shows peak times for couples to call it quits, after analysing more than 10,000 Facebook status updates.

The duo searched Facebook members’ status updates for the terms “breakup” and “broken up,” then mapped the frequency of the terms as they correspond to the days of the year.

Their research reveals that top times for breakups fall after Valentine’s Day, right before spring break and two weeks before Christmas. The worst day of the week if your relationship is in trouble? Monday. That day showed small spikes in the number of breakups, as well as months when students are on summer vacation.

McCandless features more of his work on his website informationisbeautiful.net, and he writes a monthly column for The Guardian’s data blog.