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World map created solely from Facebook friend connections

This is really interesting. Paul Butler, an engineering intern at Facebook created a visualization of friendship connections via geo-location of 10 million Facebook users. For example, if a person in Australia has a friend in Spain, it will draw a line connecting the two via their geo-location. And what was the result? Check out the resulting image:


You should click the image for a bigger version.

Yep, looks like the world map huh? It’s important to note that the pairings are not graphed onto a map. Each point is a geo-location of a friend and the map was formed through the sheer number of connections of 10 million users.

“œAfter a few minutes of rendering, the new plot appeared, and I was a bit taken aback by what I saw,” said Butler. “œThe blob had turned into a surprisingly detailed map of the world. Not only were continents visible, certain international borders were apparent as well. What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn’t represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships. Each line might represent a friendship made while travelling, a family member abroad, or an old college friend pulled away by the various forces of life”¦When I shared the image with others within Facebook, it resonated with many people. It’s not just a pretty picture, it’s a reaffirmation of the impact we have in connecting people, even across oceans and borders.”

Along with US and Europe, Philippines is well represented (heavily lighted) as you can see from the detailed rendering. And where’s China? Well Facebook is banned in that country. Russia and Central Africa are also dark mainly because Facebook has little presence in those parts.

Cool huh?

[Facebook | Visualizing Friendships]
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