Researchers determine 3.57 “degrees of separation” between any two people in the world

Researchers determine 3.57 “degrees of separation” between any two people in the

In a recently released report, researchers at Facebook and the University of Milan have upended the famous "six degrees of separation" theory, and have asserted that people across the world are more closely connected than one may think.

The "six degrees of separation" phrase was first used by Hungarian playwright Frigyes Karinthy in 1929. The theory claimed that an average number of 'six' acquaintances separate any two people in the world.

However, on the basis of the results of a month-long experiment, involving a study of 1.59 billion active users on the Facebook social network, the researchers have determined that there is actually 3.57 "degrees of separation" between any two people in the world.

According to the researchers, the "degrees of separation" have decreased over the years; with the result that there presently is "three-and-a-half degrees of separation." In other words, each person in the world is connected to any other person by an average of three-and-a-half other people.

For their study, the researchers used a set of algorithms developed at the University of Milan, and computed a huge number of sample paths among Facebook users, to calculate the average distance between any two people across the world. Reporting their findings, the researchers said: "The average distance we observe is 4.57, corresponding to 3.57 intermediaries or "degrees of separation"."


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