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Facebook: there are 4 degrees of separation between people.

Facebook: there are 4 degrees of separation between people.

A few hours ago were published which are by far the largest research project on social networks ever made. It happens that Facebook examined 721 million active user accounts, which form a network of 69 billion connected by ties of friendship (not more to add that this represents just over 10% of the world population). And what was it that Facebook found? Let's start with hard data, of course calculated by a supercomputer consisting of 2,250 teams:

    10% of people have less than 10 friends
    20% less than 25
    50% just over 100
    The average user has 190 friends

Using algorithms developed in the Laboratory's Web Algorithms Università degli Studi di Milano, it was possible to estimate the number of network hops between each pair of people on Facebook. The scientists found that the average number of persons related to one person and another is exactly 4.74, slightly less than in 2008 when they were 5.28. In more precise:

    Just over 30% of all pairs of people have 4 degrees of separation or less
    92% have 5 degrees or less
    99.6% is 6 degrees or less


    84% of the connections between people occurs in the same country
    People tend to have a number of people close to almost the same age. For example, for people 60 years most of his friends is 60 years old

The history of research on degrees of separation between network nodes in 1929, the date when the Hungarian Frigyes Karinthy diagnosis that the world was going through a lot of shrinkage due to the increased connectivity between people. These issues came to Stanley Milgram who in the early 60's became famous with one of his experiments in which I conclude that we live in a "small world", that is, despite the immense and intricate social networks are often find short paths between people. Milgram found that are on average six intermediate connections, six degrees of separation between us.

As we said once the new century science is the science of networks . And I'm not talking about social networks, but rather the more general concept of the so-called complex networks, studying the things and their relationships, their complexity, chaos and unexpected behaviors that emerge from there.

In conclusion: the world is smaller than previously thought, at least from the window of Facebook.

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