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Facebook says its 1.59 billion users are connected by way less than six degrees of separation

Bono, right, leans in to talk with Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, at the Clinton Global Initiative, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Excuse me, but don’t I know you from somewhere?
  • Mike Murphy
By Mike Murphy

Technology editor

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

“Six degrees of separation” is a longstanding theory, first suggested by Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy in 1929, that everyone on Earth is only six introductions away from meeting everyone else on Earth.

On Facebook, though, the connections are significantly tighter.

New research from the company suggests that for the 1.59 billion active users of Facebook, there are only 3.57 degrees of separation, on average, between everyone on the social network.

Facebook says the majority of users have between 2.9 and 4.2 degrees of separation. (Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s separation number is 3.17, while chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s score is 2.92.) If you’re logged into Facebook, you can go here to see the research, along with the degrees of separation the company has calculated for you.

Facebook Research
How connected everyone is on Facebook.

According to the company, an earlier study, conducted in 2011, found that there were about 3.74 degrees of separation between Facebook users. Back then, the site had about 721 million members, meaning that as the site has grown, nearly doubling its active user base between the two studies, its users have become roughly 5% more connected.

As Facebook attempts to connect even more of the world’s 7.4 billion people, perhaps we will all become even more closely connected—especially to Kevin Bacon.

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