MAP: The World According to Facebook


The map, created by Facebook intern Paul Butler, is based upon the localities of friendships within the social network:

"I began by taking a sample of about ten million pairs of friends from Apache Hive, our data warehouse. I combined that data with each user's current city and summed the number of friends between each pair of cities. Then I merged the data with the longitude and latitude of each city."

More of his methodology here.

"After a few minutes of rendering, the new plot appeared, and I was a bit taken aback by what I saw. The blob had turned into a surprisingly detailed map of the world. Not only were continents visible, certain international borders were apparent as well. What really struck me, though, was knowing that the lines didn't represent coasts or rivers or political borders, but real human relationships. Each line might represent a friendship made while travelling, a family member abroad, or an old college friend pulled away by the various forces of life. Later I replaced the lines with great circle arcs, which are the shortest routes between two points on the Earth. Because the Earth is a sphere, these are often not straight lines on the projection. When I shared the image with others within Facebook, it resonated with many people. It's not just a pretty picture, it's a reaffirmation of the impact we have in connecting people, even across oceans and borders."

Click map to enlarge. High-res version here.


  1. ratbastard says

    Mark Zuckerberg and facebook are evil. Millions and millions of folks will live to regret some of the shit they posted on their pages. I personally think there is an intelligence agency behind it.

  2. JP says

    I totally agree Ratbastard. I was just saying the same thing to the man that disguises himself as a fire hydrant and does surveillance on the dog urine in my street.

    But in all seriousness, all this shows is not the ‘reaffirmation of the impact we have in connecting people, even across oceans and borders’. It shows 1 thing:

    – The 3rd world is fucked. Not a lot of light being emitted from Africa is there?

  3. ratbastard says


    It’s not called The Dark Continent for nothing. Looks rather peaceful and uncongested from a satellite.

    BTW: I’m serious about intelligence agencies being behind or at least manipulating facebook and some other online icons.

  4. Dean says

    Ratbastard, Spain does not show up because the country still has a vibrant social life. Only losers need to join Facebook. People with real friends can interact without an online tool/ad server.

  5. John says

    Andy, please don’t take an article like this off another site (even Facebook), quote liberally and snag images, without linking back to the original. It’s just plain rude. Kthxbai.

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