Tolerance on Facebook: Exploring Network Diversity and Social Distance

Lee Farquhar, Butler University
Theresa Davidson, Samford University

This is a post-print version of an article originally published in NMEDIAC: Journal of New Media and Culture, 2015, Volume 10, Issue 1. The version of record is available through: NMEDIAC: Journal of New Media and Culture. Archived with permission from NMEDIAC: Journal of New Media and Culture, all rights reserved.


This study examines Facebook usage, network composition, and desired social distance from groups often perceived as the “other”. Specifically, we examine attitudes toward Atheists, Muslims, and Gays. Findings indicate that social network composition (ie - network diversity, number of unique groups, number of Facebook friends) plays a significant role in participants’ desired social distance from said groups. Generally, these findings suggest that increasing diversity in a Facebook network may lead to a decrease in prejudice.