47% of Facebook Users Have Profanity on Their Wall

It has been a little over a month since we launched Reppler so we thought it would be a good time to share some statistics we have collected.  These statistics, based on the scanning of the Facebook Wall of the over 30,000 users that have used the Reppler service so far, might be surprising to you:

  • 47% of our users have profanity on their Facebook Wall.
  • 80% of our users who have profanity on their Facebook Wall have at least one post/comment with profanity from a friend.
  • 56% of the posts/comments with profanity on a user’s Facebook Wall come from friends.
  • Users are twice as likely to use profanity in a post on their Facebook Wall, versus a comment.  Whereas friends are twice as likely to use profanity in a comment on a user’s Facebook Wall, versus a post.
  • The most common profane word is derivations of the “f-word”.  The second most common profane word is derivations of the word “sh*t”.  “B*tch” is a distant third.

A couple comments on these statistics…

The prevalence of profanity on Facebook Walls is an increasingly important issue as a user’s Facebook profile comes under closer scrutiny, particularly by employers as they screen job applicants.  Here’s a recent Washington Post article that talks about how the use of obscenity in a work environment can impact how others perceive a person.

The fact that a significant percentage of the profanity on a user’s Facebook Wall comes from friends demonstrates one of the issues with Facebook – users don’t have complete control over the language used on their Facebook Wall, yet the language used by friends can have an impact on how others perceive them.

What do you think of these statistics?  Are you surprised at the percentage of people who have profanity on their Facebook Wall?  Do you have profanity on your Facebook Wall?  If so, do you care?

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53 Responses to 47% of Facebook Users Have Profanity on Their Wall

  1. [...] new survey conducted by Reppler, an online service that helps "keep your social reputation safe," unveiled new data that shows 47% [...]

  2. [...] media? It has been reportedly said that almost 47 percent of the users uses abusive language and profanity on Facebook. According to the Reppler it has been analyzed that most of the users are not making the right use [...]

  3. Mansoor says:

    Facebook is a personal network and people do whatever do want to do. To me all of us should make fair use of the most popular social networking website. LinkedIn is more profession, you won’t find anything like Profanity there just because of professionalism, while coming towards Facebook people are not serious here! There is no ther point!

  4. Patty says:

    yea that is true about facebook and the profanity on there i went back to church and tired of seeing the nasty words on there there has to be something someone can do to get it off of there and myyearbook.com is no better same thing and also the dirty pictures on that one they need to get in trouble for it to vulgar and there are young children on there that doesn’t need to see that i agree 100%.

  5. John says:

    So the sample size is 30k users? Out of 500 million +? Seems that 47% number is a bit misleading. Perhaps 47% of your users have profanity on their walls – but considering your userbase is six thousandths of a percentage, I don’t know if that warrants such a broad generalization. Just a thought.

    • reppler says:

      Fair point, John. For us, the specific number is not the important thing here. The takeaway is that a significant percentage of users have profanity on their Facebook Wall and as more employers use Facebook to screen job candidates, users need to be aware of the potential implications.

  6. Guadalupe says:

    I think that people on Face Book take advantage of the website. For me this is a way to socialize with friends and family about on going issues and events in today’s world. It is easier for me than to phone someone. Therefore I don’t see the need to curse or use foul language. I find that very cheap and lack of manners. There are so many articles and news to discuss mutually and get others’ opinions than to waste your time complaining and cursing people. When I don’t agree with something I just state the way I feel. I still do not see the point for profanity.

  7. Digital Life says:

    [...] numbers come from the folks behind Facebook monitoring service Reppler, which crunched some numbers and analyzed the contents of about 30,000 Facebook walls. From that [...]

  8. [...] 47 percent of Facebook walls contain some form of profanity, according to a study by recently launched reputation management firm [...]

  9. Cindy Lewis says:

    P’shaw…sure, rampant profanity by the user and his/her associates will turn me against potential candidates, but an occasional naughty word isn’t going to vex me as much as poor spelling, bad grammar, infantile ideas and weak ideals.

  10. [...] Reppler blog boils down what this means for people and brands on [...]

  11. Wilson says:

    How did Reppler get this data? I have my privacy settings so that only my friends and family (100+) can see it and is not open to the public. Is that 47% of the people that don’t know how or don’t care about privacy settings? I’m curious as to the demographics of the data and wonder what age group swears the most on Facebook.

    • reppler says:

      The 47% represents that percentage all of our users. We scan the Wall of all of our users, no matter what their privacy settings are for a couple reasons. One, through out research, we found that many users – particularly young ones – have LOTS of friends. Some of their friends are actually friends. Some of them are business colleagues. Some of them are people they hardly know. As a result, these users really have no idea who has access to their content. Second, many users don’t have their privacy settings set so that only their friends can see their content. Some users don’t change the default setting, which is public, and some users have it set as “friends of friends”, which means people they don’t know people can see their content.

      We haven’t analyzed the data yet from an age perspective. If we do, we will post what we find.

  12. [...] 47 posto Zidova (Walls) na Facebooku sadrži neki oblik prostote, pokazalo je istraživanje koje je nedavno provela tvrtka Reppler koja se bavi reputacijskim [...]

  13. Wilson says:

    My personal settings on Facebook are set to friends only on a few items and none at all on most. If I have set this up correctly, you may see some of my comments on my friends’ walls, but not my personal status updates on my own wall. I agree that most people pick the default settings, but I wonder how many people have it setup like I do. This may factor into a +/- error difference in the 47% if you don’t have 100% access to every single comment and update.

    Looking forward to your analysis of your data as it grows over time. If you can’t tell, this is all very interesting to me and have happily subscribed to the RSS feed.

    • Exactly! Reppler is apparently trying to build something up – probably in order to start charging for it’s use.

    • John Detlefs says:

      I work for myself now, but even clients will check up on the net to see who they’re working with.

      I’ve now made it a point to make my profile unsearchable in the search engines and only add close friends as “friends”.

      As you say, even just having friends who add anything that could be labeled as profanity can stick on you.

  14. [...] numbers come from the folks behind Facebook monitoring service Reppler, which crunched some numbers and analyzed the contents of about 30,000 Facebook walls. From that [...]

  15. Johnny B says:

    Which “derivations” of profane words are being considered profane themselves? “Shoot” is sometimes used as a clean substitute for “Sh*t”, but is it being counted as profane? What about “frick” or “frack” or “frak”? What about stuff like “mothertrucker”? And, even though “b*tch” is on the minds of HR people for pointless sexual harassment claims, it’s certainly not on the “list of 7 words”, or anywhere near a censorship list as far as the FCC is concerned.

    Without knowing which derivations of profanity were being counted (or why “b*tch” is being considered “profanity”), it’s hard for me to say whether of not the results are actually significant, especially since I can say the words “frak”, “shoot”, “dang”, etc. at work all day long and never hear from HR about it, but one utterance of “the REAL f-word” will land me in hot water before I can take my next breath…

    • reppler says:

      We were pretty narrow when it came to what we considered a profane word. We didn’t flag words like “frick” or “frack” at all, let alone as derivations of f*ck. We also didn’t flag words like “shoot”, “dang”, etc.

  16. [...] “A prevalescência de palavrões nos murais do Facebook é uma questão importante, já que  perfil do usuário é constantemente examinado por possíveis empregadores em processos de seleção”, adverte a empresa, em seu blog. [...]

  17. Kermonk says:

    First of all “profanity” is a religious construct, which presupposes the disapproval of some unprovable supernatural being.
    Second of all, the totally up tight over the top censorship of the Americas by religious groups who fear the use of a handful of words is not representative for humans as a while.
    In a free adult country, you can say “fuck” on primetime without getting beeped or censored, and as such people write this on facebook because they don’t share your censorship agenda.

    • reppler says:

      We generally agree with you, Kermonk. We are not trying to be censors and we are not trying to tell people that they cannot use profanity. We just feel it is important for Facebook users to be aware of how they might be perceived by others if/when they use such words, especially since Facebook profiles are being looked at by employers these days as they screen job candidates (whether that is right or wrong is a completely different issue).

  18. [...] half of all Facebook users have swear words on their walls – this is according to a study done on 30,000 Facebook users. It turns out that 56% of the profane posts on people’s walls are not from themselves, but [...]

  19. [...] The Reppler Effect « 47% of Facebook Users Have Profanity on Their Wall [...]

  20. [...] reppler, une société chargée de nettoyer la e-réputation à qui lui demande ses services, 47% des [...]

  21. [...] confirms those suspicions. Reppler, a Palo Alto, CA-based social media monitoring service, recently scanned some 30,000 Facebook members’ walls … and what they found wassn’t exactly the language of [...]

  22. sudon't says:

    Neither my employer, nor any potential employer, will ever see my Facebook page, because I’m not so stupid as to ever use my real fucking name on the internet.

  23. [...] on my wall, which is not surprising to me. Something else not surprising—47% of Reppler's users have profanity on their Facebook walls. 56% of the posts/comments with profanity on a user’s Facebook wall come from friends. For me, [...]

  24. [...] closer look at the study on the site of its authors revealed what should surprise no one: news outlets are misreporting the [...]

  25. [...] on Facebook Wall: A recent study by Reppler, which studied 30K Facebook users, identified that 47% of Facebook walls contain profanity. Be sure to monitor and manage your Facebook wall because [...]

  26. [...] on Facebook Wall: A recent study by Reppler, which studied 30K Facebook users, identified that 47% of Facebook walls contain profanity. Be sure to monitor and manage your Facebook wall because [...]

  27. [...] on Facebook Wall: A recent study by Reppler, which studied 30K Facebook users, identified that 47% of Facebook walls contain profanity. Be sure to monitor and manage your Facebook wall because [...]

  28. [...] statistics provided by The Reppler Effect found that 47 percent of their users’ Facebook walls have profanity,” said Russ Warner, CEO of [...]

  29. Smith says:

    Although it is a good step forward, who is going to make sure businesses and larger conglomerates are actually going to use it?… ielts lahore

    • Patty says:

      yes they do constantly i closed out my account there is alot of trash and filth on that network plus hate and racism on there i filed a complaint and people commented on that calling me a psycho no those looney toon’s are psycho on facebook and it is not safe for children they need to get the forum’s or group’s or duscussion page’s off of there they ought to follow that in myyearbook’s shoe’s they did take off there mymag forum’s and i don’t see why facebook can’t do that.

  30. Patty says:

    there popularity has also fell to the floor since they started also now i see why those folk’s alot of them have issues.

  31. Patty says:

    check there status they need to clean the network up it’s too trashy.

  32. Geoff says:

    I personally don’t give a fuck, don’t like my posts? delete me.. Thats all

  33. It appears like your site ate my first comment so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’mthoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything.heathrow airport transfer

  34. [...] on Facebook Wall: A recent study by Reppler, which studied 30K Facebook users, identified that 47% of Facebook walls contain profanity. Be sure to monitor and manage your Facebook wall because [...]

  35. [...] on Facebook Wall: A recent study by Reppler, which studied 30K Facebook users, identified that 47% of Facebook walls contain profanity. Be sure to monitor and manage your Facebook wall because [...]

  36. [...] on Facebook Wall: A recent study by Reppler, which studied 30K Facebook users, identified that 47% of Facebook walls contain profanity. Be sure to monitor and manage your Facebook wall because [...]

  37. [...] on Facebook Wall: A recent study by Reppler, which studied 30K Facebook users, identified that 47% of Facebook walls contain profanity. Be sure to monitor and manage your Facebook wall because [...]

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  39. [...] on Facebook Wall: A recent study by Reppler, which studied 30K Facebookusers, identified that47% of Facebook walls contain profanity. Be sure to monitor and manage your Facebook wall because [...]

  40. [...] on Facebook Wall: A recent study by Reppler, which studied 30K Facebook users, identified that47% of Facebook walls contain profanity. Be sure to monitor and manage your Facebook wall because [...]

  41. Josephine Alistar says:

    I don’t use Facebook, but profanity is a part of human culture and a part of language. It seems silly and pedantic to worry over something so trivial.

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