Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

In interviews, several voters pointed to Facebook as an aggravating factor, a space where relationships and politics seemed to collide unavoidably.


How Times reporters cover politics. We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.

“It’s like you’re walking down the street and you see someone holding up a stupid sign, but the person holding up that sign is someone you care about,” said Nelson Aquino, 40, a Democrat and an information technology project manager near Orlando, Fla. “You want to be like, ‘Put down that sign and go home.’ And you start having these arguments.”

For Earlette Bleasdale, a retired customer service manager in Garland, Texas, Facebook was once a means of staying in touch with a family spread across a sprawling state. “It’s real easy to post pictures and stuff,” she said.

But during the Trump presidency, Ms. Bleasdale, 63, a registered Democrat in a family of Republicans, couldn’t resist needling them about the president. “On Facebook, it’s so easy to post memes, post opinions,” she said. “People I wouldn’t normally talk politics with, now we’re talking politics.”

She said that both of her brothers and her brother-in-law had blocked her on the platform. “Some of my friends have blocked me, too,” Ms. Bleasdale said. “Nothing like screaming and yelling at each other, but there’s no contact.”

Richard White, a building engineer in Des Plaines, Ill., and a Republican in a mostly Democratic family, said that the politics of recent years had “really taken a toll on mine and my father’s relationship.” He said he lamented the lack of open debate about politics in his social circle and the way that snap judgments had been substituted for both argument and understanding.



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