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Facebook says the world is a smaller place than believed earlier

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The world is a small place, but if Facebook is to be believed, it is smaller than ever before. The social giant is proving the popular notion of six degrees of separation wrong, and says that it is in fact down to around 3.57. Also Read - Top 5 WhatsApp features expected to roll out soon

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On its 12th anniversary, Facebook released its research that claims the 1.59 billion people on Facebook are ‘connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people’. The degrees of separation falls to 3.46 for people living in the US. As per Facebook’s research, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is connected to people at an average degrees of separation of 3.17, while Sheryl Sandberg’s degree of separation from everyone is 2.92. Also Read - Using Instagram to connect with friends? Beware! Your chats may be at risk

“Imagine a person with 100 friends. If each of his friends also has 100 friends, then the number of friends-of-friends will be 10,000. If each of those friends-of-friends also has 100 friends then the number of friends-of-friends-of-friends will be 1,000,000. Some of those friends may overlap, so we need to filter down to the unique connections. We’re only two hops away and the number is already big. In reality this number grows even faster since most people on Facebook have more than 100 friends. We also need to do this computation 1.6 billion times; that is, for every person on Facebook,” the company explained.

Facebook’s research proves just how connected the world has become, and in fact the degrees of separation has fallen to 3.57 from 3.74 degrees in 2011. While the degrees of separation theory still has its detractors, there’s no denying how connected the world has become thanks to Facebook and the companies it owns.

ALSO READ: You can t have more than 200 real friends on Facebook: Survey

Recently, Facebook revealed that its user base stands at around 1.59 billion with over a billion users coming on Facebook daily! WhatsApp’s monthly active user base recently crossed the billion mark as well. Instagram, which Facebook owns as well, has a monthly active user base of around 400 million. Facebook’s Messenger service also claims to have 800 million monthly active users.

The six degrees of separation is based on an experiment conducted in the US in 1967 by Jeffrey Travers and Stanley Milgram. In their research paper — An Experimental Study of the Small World Problem — the authors came to the conclusion that a person in the US is connected to any other random person via six people.

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  • Published Date: February 5, 2016 1:00 PM IST



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