Nobody likely registered extreme surprise at a new study suggesting Facebook users experience more jealousy in their relationships.

In “More Information than You Ever Wanted: Does Facebook Bring Out the Green-Eyed Monster of Jealousy?” University of Guelph researchers surveyed undergraduate students about their Facebook use and its effect on their love life.

Among the findings: “The ease of making connections on Facebook may increase contact with past romantic and sexual partners, creating the potential for jealousy in current relationships.”

You don’t say.

When the Canadian Privacy Commissioner raised the alarm about Facebook’s possible contravention of privacy laws last month, she was primarily worried about corporate misuse of personal information, not the ways in which your nearest and dearest might use it against you. Big Girlfriend is watching.

One subject told the University of Guelph researchers, “It turns people into nosey parkers.”

The study’s authors also identified a “feedback loop,” wherein information on your partner snooped from Facebook leads to more jealousy.

The amount of time spent on Facebook is also cited as a factor, and this should surprise nobody either.
We so often hear that younger people don’t attach as much importance to privacy as us codgers, but it may just be they haven’t been burned as often as we have. I think some may be catching on.

My girlfriend’s teenaged kids all started out Facebook friends with her, but soon realized the implications of having your mom privy to certain colourful details.

Two of three have since ditched her, and she was actually relieved to be out of the loop.

I’ve opted out of Facebook, which strikes me as kind of an endless high school reunion, an opportunity to interact awkwardly with all kinds of people you never knew well, and probably drifted away from for perfectly good reasons.

It seems we’ve created a technology remarkably well suited for breathing new life into long-dead relationships while poisoning live ones. What will we think of next?

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