Facebook Displays Visually Its Impact and Spread

Facebook’s intern Paul Butler made an attempt to visualize data on Facebook connectivity. In the blog he wrote ‘When the data is the social graph of 500 million people, there are a lot of lenses through which you can view it. One that piqued my curiosity was the locality of friendship’.

He added that

I was interested in seeing how geography and political borders affected where people lived relative to their friends. I wanted a visualization that would show which cities had a lot of friendships between them.

Butler took a sample size of ten million pairs of friends from Apache Hive, Facebook’s data warehouse and then combined that data with each user’s current city and summed the number of friends between each pair of cities.

The strategy he adopted said

I defined weights for each pair of cities as a function of the Euclidean distance between them and the number of friends between them. Then I plotted lines between the pairs by weight, so that pairs of cities with the most friendships between them were drawn on top of the others

The outcome of this study represented relationships on a world map, that apart from being a picture that is beautiful and an image of how people of the world are interconnected, it also reaffirms the fact of how widespread an impact Facebook has in today’s internet world.

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