Study finds 18 percent of social media users block, 'unfriend' over politics

About 18 percent of social media users have blocked, unfriended or hidden someone because of political material the person posted online, a study released Monday by the Pew Center found.

Users said they cut off contact with someone if that person posted too frequently about politics, posted something offensive or argued about politics online.

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People usually block distant friends or acquaintances, not close friends or family members. But about a third of those who have cut off social media contact with a person over politics say they have ended contact with a close friend or family member.

Two-thirds of users said they usually ignore political posts that they disagree with, while 28 percent said they usually respond and 5 percent said it depends on the circumstances. 

About a fifth of users said they avoid making any political comments for fear of offending others. But 38 percent said they have posted positive comments in response to a political post and 47 percent said they have pressed the "Like" button on a political post on Facebook.

The study found that the people who post the most often about politics are usually either very liberal or very conservative.