New World Map as Defined by Facebook

by Matt Forcey

The above map was created by Paul Butler, a data infrastructure engineering intern at Facebook.  Paul was interested in seeing  how geographical and political borders effect where Facebook users live in relation to their Facebook friends, and set off to create a visualization of which cities had a lot of connections between them. 

Merging longitudinal data with information from Facebook’s own data servers, Paul was able to create a suprisingly accurate graphical representation of most continental borders, and even some heavily populated island chains like Hawaii and Indonesia.  Check out Paul’s blog for a full technical description of how he accomplished this.

Saharan Africa shrouded in darkness should be no surprise, but check out Brazil, Russia, China too.  For the most part, pretty dark as well.  For these three developed countries, Facebook has not yet caught on as the premier social media hub, with each having developed a very popular alternative around the same time that Facebook was growing up.  Check out Orkut, VKontakte, and QZone.

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