The number of divorces occurring because of Facebook and other social networking sites has been on the rise since these sites have become increasingly popular, research claims. These sites are being utilized more and more by unhappy individuals to seek out and have an affair and cheat on their partner.

Facebook is being cited in almost one in five of online divorce petitions, lawyers have claimed.

People will post just about anything on social networking sites. And the information can be used against them. David Randall and Victoria Richards report.

In the judicial backwater of a New Jersey federal court, a case is being heard that nominally affects two families but should also make millions of Britons think twice about something they do every day: put highly personal information on Facebook, MySpace or Bebo.

The social networking site, which connects old friends and allows users to make new ones online, is being blamed for an increasing number of marital breakdowns.

Divorce lawyers claim the explosion in the popularity of websites such as Facebook and Bebo is tempting to people to cheat on their partners. Suspicious spouses have also used the websites to find evidence of flirting and even affairs which have led to divorce.

One law firm, which specialises in divorce, claimed almost one in five petitions they processed cited Facebook.

Mark Keenan, Managing Director of Divorce-Online said: “I had heard from my staff that there were a lot of people saying they had found out things about their partners on Facebook and I decided to see how prevalent it was I was really surprised to see 20 per cent of all the petitions containing references to Facebook.

“The most common reason seemed to be people having inappropriate sexual chats with people they were not supposed to.”

An American insurance company, in defending its refusal to pay out a claim, is seeking to call in evidence personal online postings, including the contents of any MySpace or Facebook pages the litigants may have, to see if their eating disorders might have “emotional causes”. And the case is far from a lone one. Suddenly, those saucy pictures and intimate confessions on social networking sites can be taken down and used in evidence against you in ways never dreamed of.

Flirty emails and messages found on Facebook pages are increasingly being cited as evidence of unreasonable behaviour. Computer firms have even cashed in by developing software allowing suspicious spouses to electronically spy on someone’s online activities.

One 35-year-old woman even discovered her husband was divorcing her via Facebook. Conference organiser Emma Brady was distraught to read that her marriage was over when he updated his status on the site to read: “Neil Brady has ended his marriage to Emma Brady.”

Last year a 28-year-old woman ended her marriage after discovering her husband had been having a virtual affair with someone in cyberspace he had never met. Amy Taylor 28, split from David Pollard after discovering he was sleeping with an escort in the game Second Life, a virtual world where people reinvent themselves.

Around 14 million Britons are believed to regularly use social networking sites to communicate with old friends or make new ones. The popularity of the Friends Reunited website several years ago was also blamed for a surge in divorces as bored husbands and wives used it to contact old flames and first loves.

The UK’s divorce rate has fallen in recent years, but two in five marriages are still failing according the latest statistics. Mr Keenan believes that the general divorce rate will rocket in 2010 with the recession taking the blame.

In the US, a sex assault victim seeking compensation faces the prospect of her MySpace and Facebook pages being produced in court. In Texas, a driver whose car was involved in a fatal accident found his MySpace postings (“I’m not an alcoholic, I’m a drunkaholic”) part of the prosecution’s case.

From Los Angeles to Lowestoft, thousands of social network site users have lost their jobs – or failed to clinch new ones – because of their pages’ contents. Police, colleges and schools are monitoring MySpace and Facebook pages for what they deem to be “inappropriate” content. Online security holes and users’ naivety are combining to cause privacy breaches and identity thefts. And what all this, and more, adds up to is this: online social networking can seriously damage your life.

Sources: Telegraph, The Independent

17 responses to “Facebook.

  1. hi kenny hope you enjoy your whitby trip hope to go there myself in the next week or so i adore the place but its in need of a clean p xxjen


  2. I am just calling by to wish you a
    very nice weekend Kenny, be well
    and don’t be getting up to any of
    your mischief… Gardening I meant,
    well that and anything else you are
    contemplating… lol Be good now

    Androgoth ; )


  3. Hi Kenny, Im not a Facebook member, but what ever we print on the net is in public view.. We Live in a world of Gossip- and have lost many values in life… Marriage being one of them.
    Changing the subject…Hope that you are well Kenny, enjoy the weekend Dreamwalker 🙂


    • I am very well ~Dreamwalker~ apart from a touch of lazyitis… most unlike me.
      We have lost many values as you say, but I shall refrain from naming them, to avoid turning my blog into a ww3 battleground.
      peace to you ~Dreamwalker~


  4. hi kenny i think that if a couple are happy together this wouldnt happen theres got to be something lacking in their relationship if your crazy about someone why look elsewhere when i love someone fully im by their side for life unless they hurt me hope your well kenny just had a lovely break in whitby xxjen


  5. Have a nice day…Hugs Nicki


  6. rannycalderon

    A very interesting post. regards~connie


  7. I wonder if Facebook is getting blamed for stuff people do to themselves. It is a tool, misuse it and you could get hurt. :/
    smiles across the miles,
    from Raven to Sir K2d…xox


  8. This is a very good posting Sir Kenny2dogs Hutch and the theme that you have chosen is unquestionably a growing problem both here in the United Kingdom and overseas as these networks run globally.

    I guess on the theme of cheating this would happen anyway I mean whether or not the vehicle used is a networking website or just cheating with someone locally it is just the same thing in my opinion, only online it is a tad more secretive, or is it? As you have pointed out there are many ways to learn of someone’s infidelity and the unfaithfulness of a partner that has taken this route is of course a lost cause in that online cheating is somewhat fantasy based is it not?

    On the flip side of the coin I would imagine that through alternative websites that are designed exclusively for the purpose of meeting new friends that peeps have met and indeed developed their friendships into both loving and caring one’s, but I agree with you regarding your other findings that many peeps have lost out socially and domestically in the fantasies within their own mindsets…

    The online divorce is a tad extreme and certainly aggressive but this is the 21st Century and it would seem that absolutely anything is acceptable, which is a real shame I think? The morals of society have decayed, crumbled and fallen almost to their knees and the crazy thing is that these days nothing is too shocking in a world that would seem to have lost the whole plot on good principles…

    Have a wickedly excellent weekend Kenny



  9. Ouch – that is low, to tell a spouse on Facebook that you are divorcing.


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