Facebook shrinks world to four degrees of separation
The old adage that anyone anywhere can be connected to anyone else in just six degrees of separation has been debunked by Facebook – who’ve gone two better.
The social networking giant has conducted a study of its users, finding that they can all be linked to each other within a mere 4.74 ‘hops’ on average.
The conclusion was reached after an exhaustive month long study of the connections between 721m active users
In a statement the team said: “Using state-of-the-art algorithms…we were able to approximate the number of ‘hops’ [degrees of separation] between all pairs of individuals on Facebook.
“We found that six degrees actually overstates the number of links between typical pairs of users: While 99.6% of all pairs of users are connected by paths with 5 degrees (6 hops), 92% are connected by only four degrees (5 hops).”
Analysts caution however that the study takes no cognisance of actual friendships, instead lowering the bar to mere links in a chain.