Facebook intern creates visual representation of friendship

Love it or hate it, everyone agrees that Facebook has taken the world by storm, and is the way people of all ages keep in touch with their friends and family. The company is so influential that Time Magazine even named the CEO as their “Person of the Year."

What would happen if you took a sampling of all of the relationships people have on Facebook and created an image based on location? Paul Butler, an intern who is part of Facebook’s infrastructure engineering team, wondered the same thing and went about trying to create a visual representation of Facebook’s users and who they are friends with. The result is similar to a map of the world with some areas like the eastern United States and Europe a bright white, indicating many users while other parts of the world like Africa and most of South America darker, showing a lack of Facebook users.

Perhaps more interesting than what is visible on the image is the parts of the world that have few, if any connections at all. Some of these, like China, are due to governments blocking the site from its citizens.  Others, like the holes in Africa, are probably due to lack of technology in the area.

Regardless of your opinion of the company, the picture clearly states that we like to remain connected to people from all around the world.

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25 Comments

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it seems they discovered the hot water...... as usual. MS did something like this more than ten years ago during a special project running at the time.

Wow, I would love to play with this data. It would be awesome to be able to filter the image with different possibilities. Like what are all the connections between US and Africa. Or my city and Berlin.

...and this confirms that facebook indeed logs everything it can about you, and isn't scared to let anyone in the company gain access to it, even if they are only passing through... Coming up next - facebook earth: predator edition complete with profile photos!

Ruciz said,
...and this confirms that facebook indeed logs everything it can about you, and isn't scared to let anyone in the company gain access to it, even if they are only passing through... Coming up next - facebook earth: predator edition

Please make sure (ASAP) that your tin foil hat has no holes in it, mkay?

Anyhow: Logging IP's, unassociated to user account and other personal information and trashing that info after creating that map would seem okay to me.

GS:mac

Odom said,
Read the article properly, this wasn't done using logged IP's.

How will they get proper location information if not by geoip?
I know, profile details, but that doesn't cut it always...

It doesn't clearly state in the article, or have I missed something?

GS:mac

It is a mild look at relationships at best. Many people have far more "Facebook" friends than they do real ones. With most people on their "friend" list being people they never communicate with, even on Facebook...

So it might be a window in to how much fluff exist in certain cultures...

Glassed Silver said,
Wow... Would make an excellent wallpaper...
But I don't want to change mine hehe...

GS:mac

Me neither.

Glassed Silver said,
Wow... Would make an excellent wallpaper...
But I don't want to change mine hehe...

GS:mac

Would make a nice wallpaper as long as you photoshop the word "facebook" out of it.

Marshall said,

Would make a nice wallpaper as long as you photoshop the word "facebook" out of it.


Well, it's okay, considering it's all about f/b, but yea, just looks-wise it would profit

GS:mac

AKLP said,
And sell those info off to companies as always

in that case, everybody on facebook works for facebook, but u don't get the billions..

grewnd33 said,
Every 500 friends on the internet must really translate into one real friend in reality.

So how many friends do you have?

grewnd33 said,
Every 500 friends on the internet must really translate into one real friend in reality.

I know all of my friends on facebook in real life. Over 200 or so. I also know people not on facebook, so what twisted logic are you using?

lunamonkey said,

I know all of my friends on facebook in real life. Over 200 or so. I also know people not on facebook, so what twisted logic are you using?


That you know people who aren't really your friends.