Facebook Study: Six Degrees of Separation Down to 4.74

Facebook really is bringing the world closer together. A new study says that the famous “6 degrees of separation” theory could actually be called the “4.74 degrees of separation” if you use Facebook.

Scientists at Facebook and the University of Milan used Facebook to do a modern version of the “Small World Experiment.” The results, announced on Monday, say that any two people on Facebook can be connected by 4.74 people.

The “Small World Experiment,” conducted by psychologist Stanley Milgram in 1967, used 296 volunteers and the US postal service. The Facebook study was conducted on a slightly different scale.

The Facebook data team writes:

“We examined all 721 million active Facebook users (more than 10% of the global population), with 69 billion friendships among them. To date, these are the largest social network studies ever released.”

Here are some findings from the Facebook data team.

    • 10% of people have less than 10 friends. 20% have less than 25 friends. 50% have over 100 friends.
    • The average friend count is 190.
    • The separation between any two Facebook users is smaller than six degrees, and the gap is continually shrinking.
    • Although the entire world is only separated by a few degrees, most Facebook users have friends that are similar in age and location.

The Facebook data team writes:

“When considering even the most distant Facebook user in the Siberian tundra or the Peruvian rainforest, a friend of your friend probably knows a friend of their friend. When we limit our analysis to a single country… we find that the world gets even smaller, and most pairs of people are only separated by 3 degrees.”

Do you feel more connected to the world when using Facebook?