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Politics And Religion Don't Mix, Neither Do Politics And Social Media

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Political debates among friends and relatives during election season are as old as -- well -- politics.

Back in the day -- politically divided families might battle it out once a year over Thanksgiving dinner.

Once dinner was over -- you could return to your own life.

But social media is changing the debate. There is no escape.

And people can post any opinion they want -- whether you agree with it or not.

Richland College psychology professor Jennifer Jones says people normally adhere to the rule of not discussing religion and politics, but that norm is gone in the digital world.

"Nobody talks about religion or politics to friends, people or anything. But, see, the thing is, that was one of the norms in person. That norm is gone away online now," says Jones.

And forget the partisanship in Congress. The political division has reached social media and it has led to a new phenomenon: Facebook fury.

According to a recent survey by Pew Research -- nearly one-fifth of people admit to blocking, unfriending or hiding someone on social media because of their political postings.

And by having a digital spat, Jones says you don't see or feel the consequences of how your friends react.

"It's much easier because I'm not seeing you face to face. I'm upset about what we're saying to each other, but if you and I were at a lunch or something, we'd probably shut up about it unless we didn't want to see each other ever again," says Jones.

There are a couple of cartoons making the rounds on Facebook about the issue.

"I desperately need a 'hide political posts' button on Facebook so I can still like all my friends after the election year is over," says one.

Another reads, "Because of your post on Facebook I am totally changing all of my political ideals! Said no one, ever."

Fort Worth resident Warren Dodge is one of the many who have "unfriended" pals online.

"I think everyone should keep their opinions to themselves. Let whoever likes Obama like Obama. Whoever likes Romney, like Romney," says Dodge.

If you're sick of politics poisoning your feeds, you can vent about the non-stop political venting on a few different Facebook pages.

But if that's not enough and you feel the need to get rid of some of your Facebook friends -- there are several apps that can help.

Then you might be able to return your political debates to Thanksgiving dinner.

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