This study explored how people argue on social-networking sites. Specifically, participants (N = 170) responded to open and closed-ended questions about the most recent argument they had engaged in on Facebook. Results of a content analysis of participants' answers revealed individuals tended to argue mostly about public issues, in somewhat complex arguments that involved a median of six people and with about 30 comments exchanged. Individuals often pursued multiple goals, with persuasion and defending themselves or others also reported by some. Arguments tended to end without resolution, and most had no effects on arguers' relationships; however, for 20% of the sample, arguments permanently damaged their relationships. Although the number of friends participants had did not have a substantial effect on their frequency of arguing, the frequency with which one's friends argued on Facebook was positively related to one's own arguing frequency. These results are interpreted in connection to argumentation and computer-mediated-communication literature. Limitations of the study as well as directions for future research are also discussed.
Cionea, I., Piercy, C. W., & Carpenter, C. J. (2017). A profile of engagement, topics, goals, and outcomes of Facebook arguments. Computers in Human Behavior, 76, 438-449. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.08.009