How connected our World is through the eyes of Facebook

by Keshav Gupta · 0 comments

in Facebook, Insightful

An intern at Facebook, Paul Butler has created this interesting visualization of Facebook World. He sampled the connections between 10 million friend pairs using the Facebook Graph API to create this beautiful and amazing visualization of the World.


Butler wrote an insightful Facebook note explaining the process and methods he used for creating his visualization:

“I began exploring it in R, an open-source statistics environment. As a sanity check, I plotted points at some of the latitude and longitude coordinates. To my relief, what I saw was roughly an outline of the world. Next I erased the dots and plotted lines between the points. After a few minutes of rendering, a big white blob appeared in the center of the map. Some of the outer edges of the blob vaguely resembled the continents, but it was clear that I had too much data to get interesting results just by drawing lines. I thought that making the lines semi-transparent would do the trick, but I quickly realized that my graphing environment couldn’t handle enough shades of color for it to work the way I wanted.

Instead I found a way to simulate the effect I wanted. I defined weights for each pair of cities as a function of the Euclidean distance between them and the number of friends between them. Then I plotted lines between the pairs by weight, so that pairs of cities with the most friendships between them were drawn on top of the others. I used a color ramp from black to blue to white, with each line’s color depending on its weight. I also transformed some of the lines to wrap around the image, rather than spanning more than halfway around the world.”

If you’ll note here in the visualization you can see that Brazil, Russia, Antarctica, China, Africa and most of the Islamic countries are nowhere to be seen in this Facebook World. As other networks are popular in these countries and some have banned Facebook and Social Networking sites entirely. The visualization also signifies how friendly a Country is to the other. The more these strings  are between them, more friendlier they are!

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