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4.74 Degrees of Separation on Facebook

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the closer-than-you-think dept.

Facebook 216

First time accepted submitter perryizgr8 writes "Facebook Data Team has taken all the friends data of everyone on Facebook and analyzed it, finding out the shortest distance between every two persons. They can now confidently say that the average degree of separation between any two humans is 4.74, not six as previously claimed by various entities."

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Disagree (4, Insightful)

Kazymyr (190114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153462)

Mine is infinity since I don't have a facebook account.

Re:Disagree (3, Insightful)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153528)

That is the first thing I thought. It is like saying of the set of people I personally know, there is at most one degree of separation between any two people.

Re:Disagree (3, Insightful)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153552)

Wait, is the degree 0 or 1 between two people that know each other personally?

Re:Disagree (4, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154040)

is the degree 0 or 1 between two people that know each other personally

The question might be whether the degree between you and yourself is infinity and only approaches 1 after an enormous amount of training. Just a thought.

The implication is that any small number whithin the context given is worth ... well.

CC.

Re:Disagree (2, Informative)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154158)

0 is the degree of separation with yourself.

Kevin Bacon is the only actor with a Bacon number of 0.

Re:Disagree (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153574)

You also don't know anyone with a Facebook account, and no one you know knows anyone with a Facebook account, and so on? I'm not sure you understand what they are talking about, you read "Facebook" and just wanted to tell people you don't use it.

Cool (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153742)

I stopped using facebook way before it was cool to stop using it.

Re:Cool (2)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154276)

ha I've never used it so I got you beat.

no it's not (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153606)

it is 4.74 + 1; think about it...

Re:no it's not (5, Insightful)

Tomato42 (2416694) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153648)

4.75 + 1 in my book is very close to the "old, frowned up, value" of six...

Re:no it's not (3, Informative)

Zamphatta (1760346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153768)

Where are all the mods? Somebody needs to up this guy's score 'cause it's statistically insightful. After all, if it's 4.75 between Facebook friends, then to connect someone without a Facebook account, one would have to add another 1 to it. Which totally blows away the argument.

Re:no it's not (4, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154188)

There are whole villages across Asia, Africa and South America that do not have an internet connection. Are you sure everyone on Earth knows someone with a facebook account?

Not exactly. (4, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154160)

The old value is that no person is more than 6 degrees of separation from ANY OTHER PERSON, period. So, randomly pick any person on the planet, and you should be able to get to that person with no more than 5 intervening people.

An *AVERAGE* of 4.74 doesn't say anything about a 6-person maximum.

Re:Not exactly. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154244)

Mod parent up.

Re:no it's not (1)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153712)

it is 4.74 + 1; think about it...

That's exactly what the voice in my head said.

Re:no it's not (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153864)

Actually, it's 4.74 + 2. +1 for you to your facebook friend and another +1 from their facebook friend to them.

Re:no it's not (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154036)

Which is still within 1 of 6.....5.74 or 6.74, would average out to 6.24, that's REALLY CLOSE. And I was going to say Facebook skews the data by encouraging people who have never met in meatspace to be friends in cyberspace, but I guess I'm wrong.

Re:Disagree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153610)

No one gives a fuck that you're an antisocial prick. It's one thing to not have an account. It's another thing to actually brag about it. What a fucking cunt you must be.

Re:Disagree (1)

Drishmung (458368) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153670)

Derek, or Clive, is that you?

Re:Disagree (5, Insightful)

fisted (2295862) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153856)

yeah, so antisocial not to hand over all data to facebook.

Re:Disagree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154268)

It would be antisocial for me to beat the living shit out of you.

Re:Disagree (5, Insightful)

rapidreload (2476516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153626)

Lemme guess, you don't have a TV either but want to tell the world regardless?

Re:Disagree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153706)

Your degrees of separation would be infinite since no one would friend a cunt like you. How does it feel to be a useless lump of shit?

Re:Doesn't Matter if you have a FB account (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153782)

Mine is infinity since I don't have a facebook account.

Actually, it doesn't matter if you have a FB account or not. If any of your "friends" ever uploaded their address book to FB, then FB knows your email address and can calculate the degree of separation between your email address and any other email address (again FB user or not).

Pause and think about this.

Re:Doesn't Matter if you have a FB account (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154070)

Yeah, well, what if you don't have an email address?

Re:Doesn't Matter if you have a FB account (2)

ChatHuant (801522) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154226)

Yeah, well, what if you don't have an email address?

Perhaps closer to reality, what if you don't have any friends?

Re:Doesn't Matter if you have a FB account (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154324)

If that's how they did it, then they did it wrong

If I have info@some-online-store.com in my address book to stop it going to spam, and do do all their customers that doesn't count as a degree of separation.
I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to include commercial entities.

I know this company called microsoft, do you know of it too? Do most people in the world know of it? Awesome, there are now 2 degrees of separation worldwide.
There is only 1 degree in USA because every citizen knows obama is the president.

It doesn't work that way, there needs to be a circular link somewhere in the chain, you don't get that from someones address book referencing and email you don't also have an address book for.

If Obama knew all the heads of state, and they in turn knew all people in their states, then there would be 2 degrees of separation. That's not the case though.

Re:Disagree (4, Interesting)

similar_name (1164087) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153930)

I think it would be interesting to see the average degrees of separation for each individual. One person might have an average of 9 degrees separation to everyone else while another individual might average 3. Cross that number with standard demographics data and look at any correlations. x being people not on Facebook you could still compare people with 3 + x degrees vs 9 + x degrees.

Re:Disagree (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154016)

Oh ain't you so fucking cool.

Die, you fucking hipster.

Makes me wonder... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153468)

How many of those people are chubby men? My ass is very tender and needs a lot of love right now.

Come on.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153472)

First comment??
It's not like the entire world is on FB #hadtobesaid

Skewed Data? (5, Insightful)

Sharkyfour (14327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153478)

Wouldn't this be skewed by all the people who befriend random strangers to increase the size of the Mafia's or farm friends?

Re:Skewed Data? (3, Insightful)

aicrules (819392) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153496)

Even better than that, it's skewed to those who are on facebook. So you add those two things and we're back to 6 degrees. Dumbass story

Re:Skewed Data? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153708)

Oh knock it off.

Assuming Facebook relationships are used as a model for our casual relationships outside of Facebook... it probably stands up better than any previously attempted method. It's not like they're working with an overly selective sample group. And what's more, I'm not aware of any major and consistent social differences between people with and without facebook accounts. The tiny percentage of people that don't have facebook accounts specifically because they're socially phobic isn't likely to be statistically relevant.

The real fault in it, if there is one, is that it's skewed towards 1st world people. A kid in some remote part of Africa that's never been to a large school, or even seen a computer probably can't claim to have met 300 people, by phone, computer or other personal interaction. Casual or not, they're just remote and wouldn't have been figured in.

Douchebag neckbeards just aren't relevant.

Re:Skewed Data? (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153798)

However, given the perfectly valid observation that people on Facebook are much, much less selective about who they "friend" than in real life, the results will inevitably be skewed as a result.

Additionally, Facebook has ~800 million accounts of which an unknown number are inactive, fake, duplicate or for some shitty new product, which is less than 12% of the global population.

i.e. Whilst interesting data, it would be stupid to try and claim that it can be used to infer anything about peoples' general relationships outside of Facebook.

Re:Skewed Data? (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154030)

However, given the perfectly valid observation that people on Facebook are much, much less selective about who they "friend" than in real life, the results will inevitably be skewed as a result.

I'm not sure that it isn't a reflection. Myself and my friends tend to be reclusive, we never accept friend invites from people we don't know (I don't even use my real name in FB, so I can do this with impunity). However some of my family are far more gregarious, and not only have more real friends but don't tend to be as exclusive with friend invites.

To the degree that a bullshit term like "degrees of separation" is meaningful or useable, and that a bullshit number like "4.74" qualifies such a term, it seems like using facebook as a model is reasonable enough.

Re:Skewed Data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154076)

As far as being non-selective about friending, you've got it a bit backwards. If I know someone who know someone who knows you, you can count the degrees from that. It doesn't matter if me and the first person are best buddies or if we just sort of know who each other are. So facebook friends are actually a pretty good measure of this.

Re:Skewed Data? (5, Interesting)

meza (414214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154180)

Maybe I'm different from other Facebook users then, sure I have some people on my friends list that I only met once at a party and now don't even remember who they are. But in real life there are so many more people that I know casually and would say I'm "connected to" that I am not friends with on Facebook, such as: my hair dresser, my dentist, my boss, other colleagues, all the people I ever went to school with (of whom I've probably befriended less than 25% on Facebook) all the teachers I ever had, my neighbours, distant relatives, my siblings friends etc etc.

So I think if we included everyone we know in real life the degree of separation would probably go down, not up.

Re:Skewed Data? (4, Interesting)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154238)

Except that the idea of degrees of separation isn't 'friends', it's 'People who know each other'. No one ever said those people had to be 'friends'. No one's ever bothered to try to define exactly what that means, although at minimum you probably have to have exchanged words with them at some point, and have a way of contacting them.

Granted, on Facebook, it's probably slightly too loose even with that requirement. Apparently, some people on Facebook go around friending anyone who shows up as a likely friend, regardless of whether or not they actually know the person. And sometimes the other person accepts that request. Clicking on someone's picture and sending a request is probably not actually 'knowing' someone.

So assuming, on average, one of those bogus 'knowing people' per chain of '4.74' people, which caused the calculation to skip a number that really should be there (They aren't X's friend but they are the friend of the friend of X) ...it comes out to essentially what people have been saying all along.

Which is weird, because as far as I know, 'six degrees' isn't based on any scientific information...it's from playing a game with Kevin Bacon. (Which is not about who 'knows' each other, it's about who's been in movies and TV shows with each other.)

Re:Skewed Data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154450)

Unfortunately, celebrities like kevin bacon throw off the count. I'm sure the degree of separation for most middle school girls is only 2 thanks to Justin Beiber.

Re:Skewed Data? (1)

rsborg (111459) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153800)

Assuming Facebook relationships are used as a model for our casual relationships outside of Facebook

That is exactly what the GP is saying is invalid... specifically because "boring" or "privacy-obsessed" people are not "visible" on Facebook... you might even compare it to the whole "dark matter" theory that the matter we can measure and see is only 15% of what exists.

Read up on selection bias [wikipedia.org] sometime.

Re:Skewed Data? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153956)

Assuming Facebook relationships are used as a model for our casual relationships outside of Facebook...

That's probably as valid as taking the opinions expressed on Slashdot as model for the opinion of the general population. In other words, not very.

Re:Skewed Data? (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154056)

The point is, when you add in the data for people who are off facebook, but have friends who are on facebook, you get 6.24 degrees of separation on the average for *everybody in the First world* and with the plethora of cybercafes in the third world, very likely *everybody with electricity on the planet*.

While the number reported is skewed by people who never meet in meatspace and are only friends in cyberspace- it actually works out to be *nearly exactly the same as every previous study of the sort*.

And THAT blows my mind.

Re:Skewed Data? (0)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153814)

Clearly you didn't read the article.
And in true /. fashion, neither did any of the mods.

Re:Skewed Data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154118)

They used a sensational headline to get hits and then provide the caveats in the article. They have not refuted 6 degrees of separation. They just have a large sample for which the average is 4.74. Having a facebook account still is a minority occurence. So yeah that means their dataset is skewed and cannot be used to refute anything. Even if that anything is as benign as 6 degrees of separation.

Re:Skewed Data? (1)

Goose In Orbit (199293) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153500)

I'd say you're spot one on that score

"Research" indeed (5, Funny)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153492)

A good promo for Facebook ... gets it in the news without mentioning 'security' Dammit, I just did.

Re:"Research" indeed (4, Funny)

hellkyng (1920978) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153694)

Right! All this wasted research when anyone on 4chan could easily have told you how many friend requests it would take to find the neighbors hot daughter who just went off to college and joined a sorority...

So overall, it is 6... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153494)

6 degrees of separation, not limited to any single medium

Just under 5 for any two facebook'ees
but to get to anyone not on facebook, you'd have to go one extra hop

Re:So overall, it is 6... (1)

niftydude (1745144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153976)

Actually 7 if you are going from someone not on facebook, via the facebook network, to a second person also not on facebook.

So assuming the traditional value of 6 in meatspace is correct, then the facebook network is actually less connected than the real world.

Re:So overall, it is 6... (2)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154402)

Actually 7 if you are going from someone not on facebook, via the facebook network, to a second person also not on facebook.

So assuming the traditional value of 6 in meatspace is correct, then the facebook network is actually less connected than the real world.

If both people are in meatspace there is no reason to ever hop out of meatspace and in to facespace, so back to 6.

Re:So overall, it is 6... (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154074)

This would assume that Facebook is the most efficient separation path. I.e. there are paths of friends who aren't facebook friends (I have quite a few of those actually), who don't use Facebook, etc. So you cannot use this statistic for any person or people who are not on Facebook, nor can you draw any accurate conclusions about their degrees of separation.

Re:So overall, it is 6... (1)

JeremyBanks (1036532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154436)

Facebook's got about 1/8th of the world's popular as users, so 4.47 + 7/8 = 5.3 users on average. It doesn't even round to 6.

Kevin Bacon (2)

Aaron32 (891463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153510)

I wanna know my link to Kevin Bacon. Do you think FB would tell all of us how we get back to him?

Re:Kevin Bacon (3, Funny)

sco08y (615665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153620)

I wanna know my link to Kevin Bacon. Do you think FB would tell all of us how we get back to him?

Facebook can't, because ever since the introduction of CCTV and police cruiser dashboard cams, they've had to rename it the Six Degrees of Lindsey Lohan.

Re:Kevin Bacon (1)

ratguy (248395) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154306)

I've got a Bacon Number of 4 (Cousin was married to Dustin Hoffman's father, and Dustin Hoffman was in Sleepers with Kevin Bacon)

So just friend me on Facebook and you'll have a Bacon number of 5. :)

Re:Kevin Bacon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154316)

A Kevin Bacon number is traverses movie roles (and TV and possibly the other stuff listed on IMDB), not friendships/acquaintances. If you're not on IMDB, you have no Kevin Bacon number. If you are on IMDB, just use the Oracle of Bacon to figure out your number.

We don't 'know' our Facebook friends (1)

Dr Black Adder (1764714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153560)

Unfortunately, for the most part we don't know the people on our Facebook accounts. I am a loser at the facebook game, I only add people I actually know, but still sometimes end up going 'who is that, why did I accept them?' Once you factor this into the argument, it's easy to see how the 6 degrees of seperation can be diluted down to 4.74, artificially through 'friends' that we don't even know of.

Just friends? What about association? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153568)

If you and X were tagged in a photo, but have no relationship outside of that specific encounter, was that brought into the equation? Like and subscribe aside, it appears they did not include other interactions that may not require friend associations. Did you both attended the same event? Commented on the same post?

A person that makes coffee.for me is 1 degree of separation but I don't call them my friend.

Minimum (2)

Zaphod The 42nd (1205578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153586)

I'd be curious to know what the minimum number of connections necessary to link any two persons is, over the average.

Re:Minimum (2)

pipedwho (1174327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153766)

I'd be curious to know what the minimum number of connections necessary to link any two persons is, over the average.

Probably infinity as there are most likely some small subgroups that don't contain a friend with an account that links outside that subgroup. That means that Facebook can't reliably measure a maximum connectivity estimate without saying 'infinity'. And even if they remove the infinity outliers, there would still be some higher number linkages simply due to a lack of active friending between people that do know each other, but don't want them to be 'friends'.

In the real world, one of those people in the outlier groups probably 'knows' someone outside of the clique group. But, within Facebook, they may not have an account (or may be intentionally 'non friended') so are not a measurable link.

This brings us back to the old claim of a maximum 6 degrees of separation between any two people on the planet.

Re:Minimum (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153804)

Just taking a shot in the dark here, but, maybe 4.74.

Re:Minimum (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154054)

The minimum would be 1, unless you are trying to connect yourself with yourself.

Re:Minimum (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154336)

That depends on what you mean by 'link'.

As others here have pointed out, on Facebook, often people 'Friend' people they literally do not know at all. Facebook recommends them because they share a group of friends, but that does not actually mean they ever met.

And thus, with people doing that sort of things, we end up with an average of 4.74.

In meatspace, where we do not overhear friends of ours taking about friends of theirs that we have not met and inexplicably decide they are 'friends' or even 'acquaintances' without ever interacting with them, the number is a bit higher. Studies say about 6.

OTOH, there's plenty of people I know in real life that are not friends on facebook, either because we share no interests at all or they are not actually my 'friend'. Sometimes they are, in fact, an enemy. (This does not exclude them from the chain of people, which just requires that two people 'know' each other.)

It is also entirely possible that the difference isn't 'Facebook' per se...it's people who are active on the internet, which lets people know people all over the world. It's possible that just starting and ending with such a person lowers the average, because otherwise one of the steps 'finding a person who knows people living far away'.

Regardless, the number appears to be much smaller than anyone would assume.

Interesting (4, Funny)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153628)

So if you're on Facebook you're only 4.74 degrees from some maniacal jihadist, right-wing Christian extremist or a pedobear...

Re:Interesting (2)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153750)

.... on average.

Re:Interesting (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153812)

Sounds pretty much like Thanksgiving dinner at the in-laws to me.

Re:Interesting (1)

Nationless (2123580) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154270)

According to the theory, all of the above actually.

Re:Interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154342)

Since as far as I know, researchers estimate that 1% of the population is a pedophile and maybe another 1% of the population is a christian extremist, if you have 50 friends, you are probably more like 1.00 degrees from one. :-)

Doesn't that cook your noodle?

Bad Claim (4, Interesting)

Ibiwan (763664) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153634)

1) As others have pointed out, not all humans are on Facebook. I'm sure the FB researchers would be hard-pressed to believe that, though.

More importantly,
2) The "six degrees" is supposed to be the MAXIMUM linkage between any two people -- not the average. Good job disproving something nobody ever claimed, guys!

Re:Bad Claim (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153880)

2) The "six degrees" is supposed to be the MAXIMUM linkage between any two people -- not the average. Good job disproving something nobody ever claimed, guys!

I'm pretty sure the "six degrees" was the average linkage between two people without perfect information - eg with each link making routing decisions to the best of their ability. This Facebook research is the optimal path computed with knowledge of every link in the network, so it is not surprising that it produces a lower number.

OMG! Cowboy Neal Naked! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153652)

So if someone can come up with just the right thing to trick everyone into clicking, malware is 5 hops from infecting all of Facebook?

3.74 I think you will find (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153718)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-15844230

Biased sample (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153770)

FB is the biased sub-sample of the human population. It's made mainly on young english speaking people living in rich countries. FB is banned in some coutries (like China). If those people joined FB, I'm sure the 4.74 figure would go up.

But anyway, it's still an interesting news.

Misrepresentation of the original research (5, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153774)

If anyone wants to read a good analysis of the *original* six-degrees-of-separation study, Malcolm Gladwell wrote about it in The New Yorker [gladwell.com] about ten years ago. (You may wish to skip ahead to part 3.) The researchers -- and this was Stanley Milgram, of the infamous Milgram Experiment [wikipedia.org] involving people's willingness to torture other people -- gave people envelopes addressed to a specific person, and told them to write their names on the envelopes then give them to someone they thought might know the addressee. When all the envelopes came through, they analyzed both the number of hops and the route. (The average was somewhere between 5 and 6 hops, with some being higher. There is no assurance this is the shortest route, but their initial estimates were 100 hops, not five.) The most interesting part was that of the envelopes that reached their destination, more than half came through just three people. It's the discussion of those people, the ones who know people in various different close-knit communities, that matters: they're the connection points.

Re:Misrepresentation of the original research (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154398)

I hadn't read the research (In fact, I didn't realize there was any.), but I suspected something like that.

In fact, I suspected the routing normally goes:
Person A in community X
X Community hub person
Person in X who knows someone in community Y
Person in Y who knows someone in community X
Y community hub person
Person B in community Y

And that is five degrees of routing. With manual inefficiencies, you'd get a bit more.

And sometimes, sometimes, the community hub in Y knows the community hub in X, essentially making a direct call.

Nice to be 2 degrees away (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153778)

It feels quite good to have to degrees of separation from the average victim of this spy/gossip ring.

Average? (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153786)

FTFA:

The “six degrees” concept dates to a 1929 short story, “Chains,” in which Frigyes Karinthy, the Hungarian author, suggested that no one is more than a string of six friends away from any other person.

Six isn't the average, it's the maximum. I'd be more interested to know the 95% upper limit. The median would also be interesting, as that's how far you are away from 50% of the internet connected world (roughly). I'm not quite sure what the mean really means in this situation, as the distribution is likely skewed toward people that barely use Facebook, thus a higher distance from everyone.

this just in (5, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153788)

average is less then the most.

Re:this just in (1)

giorgist (1208992) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154148)

People on average have less than two feet.

sheeple not people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153822)

1.26 degrees less separation for sheeple.

How many of those friends do they really know? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153824)

Or met at least once?

Re:How many of those friends do they really know? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153934)

met at least once? Nearly every single one of them. I have maybe 5 people on my Facebook that I have never met, and I might meet them someday when the timing is good.

Another Bad Claim (1)

kogut (1133781) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153832)

From the linked article: "Somewhat surprisingly, even for individuals aged 60, the distribution of their friends’ ages is sharply peaked at exactly 60." Really bad explanation of the accompanying graph. The distribution for people aged 60 is wildly different than the distribution for age 20. And it's unsurprising that people have friends of the same age.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153840)

They can now confidently say that the average degree of separation between any two humans is 4.74

What do you mean? African or European degrees?

Friends really? most are just passing acquaintance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153854)

If you were having a party or getting married you would invite your friends, 99% of the "Friends" on facebook wouldn't get an invite.

Re:Friends really? most are just passing acquainta (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153996)

If you were having a party or getting married you would invite your friends, 99% of the "Friends" on facebook wouldn't get an invite.

Not intentionally, at least. :-)

Average with inifinty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153916)

"degree of separation between any two humans is 4.74"

Are they counting company-run facebook pages?

And how are they taking into account the infinite degree of separation between two humans not on facebook? One might think that would screw up the average by a little bit eh?

Skewed by celebrities? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38153926)

Isn't this skewed by celebrity facebook pages? Any people that 'friends' with say Michael Jackson is only 2 degrees removed between themselves!

Re:Skewed by celebrities? (1)

GiMP (10923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154046)

I've noticed this on LinkedIn as well, where celebrities are less likely to be making random friends.

islands (2)

stud9920 (236753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38153938)

What I'd like to know is: "are there islands", i.e. groups of people completely unrelated to other groups? And if there is no such island, what is the max distance between any two people?

Nice! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154032)

Four people and a midget!

Pretty Graphic (1)

pgn674 (995941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154034)

I did an analysis of me, my Facebook friends, and my Facebook friends' Facebook friends who are Facebook friends with more than one of my Facebook friends.

The result is a pretty graphic [blogspot.com] .

So... (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154082)

If there was a security setting to expose your account to friends of friends of friends of friends, would that include everyone?

Incorrect conclusions (3, Insightful)

ThePeices (635180) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154122)

"They can now confidently say that the average degree of separation between any two humans is 4.74, not six as previously claimed by various entities."

Wrong.

They can confidently say that the average degree of separation between any two humans on facebook is 4.74.
Not only that, but "various entities" never claimed that the value was six for facebook account holders, they claimed 6 degrees of separation between all people.
The authors incorrectly assumed that every human has a facebook account.

Re:Incorrect conclusions (1)

sugarmotor (621907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154422)

"The authors incorrectly assumed that every human has a facebook account." -> On top of which, some people have more than one.

Does this mean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154246)

that me and obama are just 4.74 friends apart...

You Guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38154264)

are honestly so fucking annoying. This was an interesting article, but it mentioned facebook so you just have to try and pull it apart, and most of you are doing a shitty job at it. The editors need some fucking codeword for facebook to keep the comments tame.

Soooo stupid (1)

jvkjvk (102057) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154366)

NO.

The problem is that people who used to be related in 2nd degree are in an environment (Facebook) where they are much *MUCH* more likely to then be linked in the 1st degree. And so on.

In fact, FB itself puts pressure to narrow the degrees of separation of every active member.

So, NO, this data mining mission means nothing about how people are really connected outside of FB.

Kevin Bacon? (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38154390)

google kevin bacon facebook

  1.Kevin Bacon * | Facebook

    Personal Information: Disclaimer: This page is not created by the "real"
    Kevin
    Bacon but is meant as a tribute to him and his work. | Facebook.
    www.facebook.com/pages/Kevin-Bacon-/59999919189 - Cached - Similar

D'OH, looks like the facebook degrees of separation to the real Kevin
Bacon is actually infinite.

FBEngineer1 "Hey guys, I just ran Dijkstra on Kevin Bacon and it says
the degree of separation is oo"

FBEngineer2 "Whoa, what's that number 8 doing lying down on its side
             like that? Hey FBEngineer3, FBEngineer1 says there's 8
             links to Kevin Bacon."

FBEngineer3 "That can't be right. Did he count the inlinks and the
outlinks together or what?  He has to divide by two! Hey, FB
Engineer4, there's 4 degs of separation between people on facebook!"

FBEngineer4 "What'd you say? Only 4? Did you add a safety margin?
Let's make it 4.74 just in case Zuck gets involved. That's better,
it's ready to publish on the web!"
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