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Researcher Predicts Your Next Facebook Friend

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the 29-points-of-compatibility dept.

Facebook 66

itwbennett writes "Stanford professor Jure Leskovec knows who your friends will be before you've even met them and has won a Microsoft fellowship for his analysis. 'Data shows that who will be our next friend on Facebook is not so random as we think,' he said. Based on information about the personal networks of users and their communication he was able to tell in advance half of the new contacts they would add shortly after. In the future the rate of correctly predicted new friends could be even higher, he said. 'We are able to train the analyzing methods,' Leskovec said."

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66 comments

Yup, it works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052302)

"You have no friends."

My girlfriend likes anal... (0)

kdawson (3715) (1344097) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052450)

Well I have to say my friends, I am quite shocked and surprised. As my girlfriend was staying with me for a week, because her parents were being dicks and tossed her out, I decided to take advantage of the situation and perform the act of love making upon her every night in my own bed. Now, as last night was the first night. I thought we could do something new and kinky, to which the thought "Anal" popped up.

Now, I was quite nervous to ask her this, as she was already under a lot of emotional stress. But I plucked up the courage and did. It lead to a lot of questions; First of all her saying that why would I want to and it sounds painful and sick. But I managed to convince her by saying that its every single males sexual fantasy to have anal, and that I would always love her if she'd let me. She agreed to try it out.

So, last night we took all the precautions. She had an enema, while I stocked up on the various lubes that we needed. When we began she only wanted fingers inside, until she got used to the feeling. She gave out the usual discomfort signs, but agreed to keep going on as I assured her it would get better. When she said she was ready, I smothered her hole in lube and slowly began to penetrate.

Again, she was showing signs of pain and discomfort, but soldiered on. This was the most amazing feeling for me as well, and I advice all you men out there to try it as soon as you can, with a female if possible. By about ten minutes into it, she was loving it, and moaning for more.
By about twenty minutes into it, she started to come, and apparently had the hardest orgasm she has ever experienced. Take in mind we were also using various vibrators and clit stimulator's. Her orgasm made me come as well, as the tension basically crushed my cock, as I filled her ass with the sticky stuff. We both then had a shower and went to bed.

She was telling me this morning that she is pleased we tried it, and that she would like to do it more often, to my glee.
In my one and a half years of posting on the BBS, I would have to say that this is the happiest post I have ever made.

Re:My girlfriend likes anal... (1)

petman (619526) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052958)

BBS? Haven't seen that in a while.

Re:My girlfriend likes anal... (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 2 years ago | (#37053730)

Dear Sir,

Your writing reminds me so very much of the debauched and ludicrous rants of Poe, sultry Rampling and one promiscuous Dahl.

I thoroughly enjoy your erotic literature, I hope to read more of your emotional exploits in the near future.

Also, I am requesting subscription to your BBS thread titled "Felching for the Beginner kinkster"

Hungrily Yours

Pick-Up Line (4, Funny)

steevven1 (1045978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052308)

"Hey baby, software predicted that we'd become friends..."

Re:Pick-Up Line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052922)

he knew you would do that

"In the future the rate of correctly predicted new friends could be even higher"

Hey /b/tard (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37053192)

How 'bout you help me and my fellow gf's DOS this Facebook sight as a honeymoon gift, and then I'll give you my real pictures so you can see through the fat if I'm a keeper that is cheaper? Just go to Mozilla Foundation's website and download the new Firefox add-on LOIC to point at server IP ( si si duh tu tu oh duh wu fi tree duh wu ni ( aka 66.220.153.19 ).

-Anonymous

PS, I'm not a nigger.

Re:Pick-Up Line (1)

hosecoat (877680) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055826)

this guy should work for eharmony

Re:Pick-Up Line (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37060036)

"Hey baby, software predicted that we'd become friends..."

Except that you don't want the girl thinking of you as a "friend" if your main aim is to pull her...

Cmdr Taco's next friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052318)

the tranny that sells blowjobs under the bridge.

Her name is Taco Supreme, and she users her tongue like a dog licking for peanut butter.

Re:Cmdr Taco's next friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052382)

That's not a nice thing to say about your father

Re:Cmdr Taco's next friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052554)

Be lenient, he doesn't know him.

Re:Cmdr Taco's next friend (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37053010)

Funny how we all get anonymous real fast when Cmdr Taco is involved :) Do you think it matters? (As I check the anon box just in case...)

Nerds (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052330)

Stanford professor Jure Leskovec knows who your friends will be before you've even met them

There's a saying that goes something like this: an expert is someone who knows a great deal about very little. Perhaps the professor knows who my friends are before I meet them, however he completely fails to understand the meaning of the word "friend".

Bullshit.. I call Bullshit (1)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052340)

If he is talking about Facebook then has forgotten two highly crucial variables in his complex data analysis and methods:

1) Farmville
2) Mafia Wars

After he factors that in, I would *love* to see him predict my next friend in the 7000's range. Shiiitttt.. I'll bet $20 and give him 10:1 odds.

P.S - I hate Facebook, but have loved Mafia Wars. Way I saw it, I was messing with their ability to predict precisely that. Fight the power.

Re:Bullshit.. I call Bullshit (1)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052432)

So basically you are saying that Facebook stands or falls with the quality of the games they offer?

Re:Bullshit.. I call Bullshit (2)

The Pirou (1551493) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052524)

No.

He's commenting on the fact that many users of Facebook who ALSO play Farmville/Mafiawars/something else will find themselves inviting strangers to be their friends to increase their whatever. Given the fact that there are a myriad of users utilizing these applications the odds of accurately predicting whom one might invite or accept an invite from next are much greater than were they to stick the numbers racket for clearly defined boundaries of acquaintances.

Re:Bullshit.. I call Bullshit (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052530)

I see what you are saying, ignorance is an unpredictable bliss.

Re:Bullshit.. I call Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37053008)

Given the number of people that do this, it wouldn't surprise me if it's possible to predict even those invites to some degree.

Advertising (3, Insightful)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052356)

The obvious application of this is advertising. Every business wants to sell something. If this research tells them how to convince you to friend them they will be all over it. Political organizations will do the same. I have to wonder if the basic concepts have broader applications outside social media.

Re:Advertising (1)

Q-Hack! (37846) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052730)

When I first read the headline, I had the same thought process. This whole concept is just... scary.

Re:Advertising (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37053968)

The obvious application of this is advertising. Every business wants to sell something. If this research tells them how to convince you to friend them they will be all over it. Political organizations will do the same. I have to wonder if the basic concepts have broader applications outside social media.

While you probably could use it to say "do this to friend X" and there are probably some broad things that reach a large enough population it may not be all that useful for advertisers unless they want to target vary narrow groups. Now if they could put together enough variables so that only a small percentage of each is necessary to reach an audience and the entire set reaches multiple audiences then it may be useful; but we already call that marketing and advertising. They'd probably be interested in they could tell "this group is likely to be interested in buying x" where the profit is greater than the cost of reaching them; or the group is a fashion driver.

The real value of this is the pattern recognition and predictive ability; if you can predict, out of a large group, who is likely to share similar interest or be "friends" then you can target them. Not for advertising, but for other purposes. Suppose you are looking for specific skills - if you know y has them their potential friends might also have them - so you can expand a search. If you are looking for "sleeper" cells you could also use this to bring up a list of potential targets to investigate.

So, IMHO, the inherent "value" is the ability to use pattern recognition and predictive analysis to uncover potential hidden links; the ethics of that is a separate issue.

Can We Have a Story from 2011? (1)

moehoward (668736) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052360)

I quit Facebook all three times. Can this guy predict my first friend on Google+? It has been a lonely, lonely 6 weeks.

I don't want to pay the research cash for a Stanford guy to make this prediction for me. So, maybe I can get a discount and have some MIT geeks figure it out for free?

And yeah, you don't have to mention the MIT grads I know who won't accept my G+ invites. We don't need to discuss that. I just want to know who and when!!!!!!

So, so lonely here online. So lonely....

Moe

Re:Can We Have a Story from 2011? (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052392)

I predict your first friend on Google+ will be one Larry Fine.

Re:Can We Have a Story from 2011? (1)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052540)

Maybe Tom? I hear all his friends have been leaving him.

Obligatory (2)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052408)

FRINKIAC 7 [youtube.com]

In the future... (1)

jefferson (95937) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052410)

"In the future the rate of correctly predicted new friends could be even higher." ...or it could be lower.

I just got myself a new FB account (1)

blai (1380673) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052436)

Who's my next friend?

Re:I just got myself a new FB account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052814)

Who's my next friend?

We all know it's your old FB account, of course ;-)
Ye olde friend inflation tactics, predicted once again!

is it Kevin Bacon yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052490)

waiting for my 15 degrees

Hi, this is a Facebook message (4, Insightful)

Centurix (249778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052492)

We've added these friends to your profile automatically. You were going to add them anyway. You're welcome, because I knew you were going to thank me.

Love Mark.

Re:Hi, this is a Facebook message (2)

Inda (580031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37053190)

Message me when Facebook can predict a 'friend' is not going to pay back that 20 quid.

Re:Hi, this is a Facebook message (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#37059422)

Oh, that's been figured out. What you do is get 40 random strangers to front you 50 cents each, with an offer to pay them back 1/40th of any payments that come in at 4%. Then you only loan your friend $18 and keep $2 for yourself. While you're at it you give $18 more to every homeless person you can find, and there isn't any way that anybody could lose money on such a deal. But, if they're worried they can all promise to pay each other $500 for each homeless guy who defaults.

Re:Hi, this is a Facebook message (2)

AtomicJake (795218) | more than 2 years ago | (#37054346)

We've added these friends to your profile automatically.

If you do not want that we add these frinds automatically in the future you can opt out. This easy 30-steps-opt-out process is described somewhere in our FAQ.

Half the time (1)

Zeikzeil (1099785) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052502)

"he was able to tell in advance half of the new contacts they would add shortly after" So the other half of the time he was wrong. Maybe he was trying to predict who you wouldn't befriend...

Re:Half the time (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052572)

You got that wrong. Half of the time he was wrong. The other half he predicted that the person who just got friended (and who he predicted wrongly) will friend the first person back.

So. Where's my grant?

Re:Half the time (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052662)

TFA doesnt actually specify which of the two types of wrong he was, ie false positive or false negative. False positive means that he predicts you will befriend bob, but you dont. False negative means that he didnt predict you would befriend bob, but you did. If his "wrongs" were only false negatives and he didnt care about false positives, then its pretty easy to get a 0% false negative rate, predict you will befriend everyone!

So shut it down. (1)

tchdab1 (164848) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052510)

If analysts can now predict relationships without FB, then they can make money off those relationships without FB. So turn off all the servers and give me back my free time and shut down FB please - it's no longer needed as a profit source.

Re:So shut it down. (1)

AmberBlackCat (829689) | more than 2 years ago | (#37055956)

The application I see for this is not predicting who you will add as a friend. Rather, it would be in predicting who will accept your friend requests. I suspect those, who are all about making their friend list as big as possible, would like a tool that automatically selects the people who will accept it. I suspect Slashdotters would like the tool even more if it filters the list of people who accept friend requests until it only includes attractive females.

Can it predict (0)

papasui (567265) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052526)

That Facebook is rapidly becoming unrelevant? Also fuck Mark Zuckerberg.

Re:Can it predict (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37058710)

True. Although obviously Facebook has an algorithm to try and do this already (their "Find Friends" result, which they changed recently). It's a pretty weak algorithm though.

Slashdot users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052580)

Slashdot users next were predicted to friend computer geeks that lived in their parent's basement. All friend requests of geeks to friend Playboy Playmates were declined so the obvious result was all new friends were other geeks. This isn't logic or programming but common sense. A program predicting that geeks will "friend" other geeks is like predicting the sun will rise in the east and set in the west. Here's a prediction that doesn't require a line of code. Pretty and popular people will friend pretty and popular people. I'll bet I get better than 50% so where's my Microsoft grant?

Research not worthy a student (1)

home-electro.com (1284676) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052626)

I think the research is bullshit and the professor is an idiot. What the hell "shortly after means"? Some time in future? Yeah there is a certain probability that I'll add some of my friend's friends in future. Pick a random one. It's not hard to be correct half the times.

Good luck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052630)

Good luck with that. The friends I have are "stumbled upon" outside, while I seldom randomly wanders outside.

Feel free to predict mine.. (-1, Redundant)

sstamps (39313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052666)

My Farcebook account URL is /dev/null

C'mon, surely you can predict my next FB friend; you claimed to be able to do it, after all.

Idiot.

Re:Feel free to predict mine.. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052700)

My Farcebook account URL is /dev/null

C'mon, surely you can predict my next FB friend; you claimed to be able to do it, after all.

Idiot.

Actually, given the above, I think it's pretty easy to predict that you have no friends, nor are you likely to make any anytime soon.

Re:Feel free to predict mine.. (1)

sstamps (39313) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052930)

Then it seems you're just as likely to be correct in your prediction as he is.

Go figure.

Article lacks important information (1)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052676)

How do we know the researcher couldn't get the same results picking people at random? The article doesn't describe the method or contain a statement of the problem. What's the null hypothesis, sample space, control group?

Re:Article lacks important information (1)

Warlord88 (1065794) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052722)

To me, it seems like a simple Machine Learning problem. The number of common friends will obviously be the most influencing input parameter followed by school, work place, etc.

Unless someone makes me understand the complexities underneath, I am going to assume that anyone can solve this problem by taking one course in Machine Learning.

Re:Article lacks important information (1)

RussR42 (779993) | more than 2 years ago | (#37053038)

Facebook seems to have solved it already. As much as I hate it, it's still good for finding lost people and many of them were suggested by facebook.

Re:Article lacks important information (2)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37053294)

Yes and no. Where it fails is when it suggests friends of friends on the periphery. For instance, I have friends and acquaintances from school who were friends with people I couldn't stand. Facebook seems to suggest these people constantly. They would probably rank highly based on the fact that I "went to school" with them and have lots of friends in common but I have no interest in being their friends after the fact. Similarly, I'm friends with my wife's cousin on Facebook. Facebook suggests her friends to me. I meet the cousin at family get-togethers, weddings, funerals etc. but I have zero interest in adding her friends on Facebook. For anyone, like me, who only adds friends and family to my friends list, the suggestions are way off base.

It worked up to a point and like you, I was impressed, but once you're friends with all the people who you want to be friends with on Facebook, they really struggle to suggest more friends. Just wait, and you'll see what I mean... :)

what surprises me (1)

middlemman (2434912) | more than 2 years ago | (#37052720)

what surprises me the most is that there is a study about this.

Predictive Law Enforcement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37052802)

Well, buddy, our predictions show that your next friends are all members of the Aryan Nations, so we decided to arrest you pre-emptively. You'll have to explain your anticipated future actions to the Judge...

self-referential (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37053328)

So Facebook has become self-referential now?

Sorry, 90% of the people I add as friends I do so because I've met them IRL. How are you going to predict that?

But, apparently, I'm in the minority and too many people have begun to consider the people they add on Facebook to be their friends instead of the other way around. Am I getting old, or is the world getting stranger?

Re:self-referential (1)

UnHolier than ever (803328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37054834)

Most of the people you meet in real-life, someone you know has met in real life before, and has added to facebook. It's not that hard to see that if someone suddenly becomes friend with people in your social circle, they are likely to become friends with you too.

Social Networks Don't Waste Time, People Do (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37053592)

And so do researchers. It shows how much gray matter is being devoted to social networking that could be spent on better things. That's because the social networking problems are easy. Curing cancer is, you know, hard work.

Very unclear description of 'predict'. (1)

Cant use a slash wtf (1973166) | more than 2 years ago | (#37053972)

Can someone actually find anywhere in the article where it states exactly what it means by "tell in advance half of the new contacts"? Does this mean they literally pin-pointed the exact person 50% of the time ahead of time? Because that sounds like a heap of bullshit. If it just means it predicts some aspects of the next person you will friend/be friended by, then I would find it much easier to believe yet much less impressive.

Do they include genealogical research? (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 2 years ago | (#37054432)

The most recently added individual on my FB friends list is an illegitimate third cousin that no one in the family knew about. He took his step-father's surname. While he does, in one sense, fall within their "six degrees" model, I doubt that any algorithm could have discovered him. There were certainly no clues on Facebook.

Predicting 50%!!! WOW!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37055338)

That's amazing! I predict that if you flip that coin, it's going to be heads!

The 'friends' we pick on F@c3B00k.... (1)

landofcleve (1959610) | more than 2 years ago | (#37056280)

Would have to be real friends for this to reliably work, wouldn't it?

I am more interested in preemptive unfriending... (2)

bodland (522967) | more than 2 years ago | (#37057336)

Why wait until someone pisses you off...?

Not that difficult (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37059070)

It is easy to predict my next Facebook friend: nobody! I have an account, but the fact that I have not logged in for a year or so is probably enough of a clue that I really couldn't care less about it. Perhaps the real challenge is predicting how long the next friend request will sit unacknowledged in my queue before my never-to-be-friend gives up.

Obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37080324)

We tend to meet people through other people. Therefore, friends-of-friends are the most likely new friends. Duh?

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