Can Facebook Predict The Start Of A Relationship?


By looking at data on interactions between two people, Facebook can predict when a relationship is about to start.

Researchers analysed the number of posts made before and after a couple listed themselves as “in a relationship” on the site.

Their data showed that during the 100 days before a relationship starts, there is a “slow but steady” increase in timeline posts between the couple-to-be.

The peak comes 12 days before the start of the relationship, with 1.67 posts shared per day.


However as soon as the couple are listed in a relationship, the number of interactions between the two begins to decrease.

The fall is probably due to more real-life interactions, or using alternative and more private methods of communication like phone calls and texting.

However researchers say the drop-off is nothing to worry about – they found that the general positivity of timeline posts increases after a relationship begins.

Facebook counted the “proportion of words expressing positive emotions (like “love”, “nice”, “happy”, etc) minus the proportion of words expressing negative ones”.


This data is based on 460,000 couples and 18m timeline posts.

The study was created by analysing a sample of anonymised, aggregated Timeline posts of people who declared an anniversary between April 2010 and October 2013 and were “single” 100 days before, and “in a relationship” 100 days after their anniversary.

Simon Edmunds

Simon is the former editor of Global Dating Insights. Born in Newcastle, he has an English degree from Queen Mary, London and after working for the NHS, trained as a journalist with the Press Association. Passionate about music, journalism and Newcastle United.

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