For the first time, the dynamics of how Facebook user communities are formed have been identified, revealing surprisingly few large communities and innumerable highly connected small-size communities. These findings are about to be published in EPJ Data Science by Italian scientist Emilio Ferrara, affiliated with both Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, USA and his home University of Messina. This work could ultimately help identify the most efficient way to spread information, such as advertising, or ideas over large networks.
No previous work has attempted to analyse the community structure of Facebook as a proxy to understanding real world communities at the same scale.
The author elected to analyse Facebook with the mathematical tools typically used to study complex systems in order to uncover its dynamics. First, Ferrara acquired a snapshot of the structure of the users' friendship network using several techniques of statistical sampling applied to the anonymised public profiles of Facebook users. He then validated his approach to detect communities by comparing the outcome of several statistical methods and by using various algorithms.
He found that Facebook communities emerge as a result of the network's structure, which is based on creating networks of friends. It therefore has little to do with how individual users behave. Ferrara also realised that only few large communities emerge. Instead, users tend to aggregate in small-sized communities that are extremely interconnected. This type of structure is known to optimise the efficiency of communications among users. Indeed, short paths of communication can connect any pair of users, even if they belong to completely disparate communities.
Ultimately, this approach could be applied to verify a social theory known as Granovetter's "strength of weak ties", whereby loose interconnections among users yield better opportunities and more efficient communication channels.
E. Ferrara (2012), A large-scale community structure analysis in Facebook, EPJ Data Science 1:9, DOI 10.1140/epjds9
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
It's another day of abuse for this poor robot named Atrias. If not being kicked around, Atrias spends hours being pummeled by balls. But, remarkably, through the abuse, the robot stays on its feet.
A Dutch energy company is joining forces with a tech startup to turn heat-generating servers into "e-Radiators"
And that puts anyone who visits them at risk, too, according to a new report
A drone spent hours swarming around Rio’s iconic Christ statue to show a cheap way to capture highly accurate 3-D scans.
The Tesla CEO said cars driven by humans and may one day be "outlawed" because they're "too dangerous"
That venerable browser brand goes away with Windows 10, leaving the company's future in corporate computing hazier
The firm announced Mario is headed for mobile and teased its "entirely new concept" gaming console, codenamed NX
High-speed rail has had a difficult time catching on in the U.S. The White House unveiled its vision for new train corridors in 2009, but so far, there has been little progress. Top speed on Amtrak Acela trains only reaches about 150 miles per hour, but now there are high speed rail projects underway in the country that will go 50 miles per hour faster. The people pushing the projects forward believe the idea of high-speed rail in the U.S. has finally turned the corner.
A metal alloy that powers its own movement and deforms to get through tight spots could let us to build a Terminator 2-style robot (minus homicidal tendencies)
A Polish firm who develop new technologies for the military has devised a system of miniature drones capable of operating from vehicles for surveillance and even directly supporting infantry units.