has more than 500 million active users and each user has an average of 130 friends.
The curiosity about the relationship of these friend relationships and their geographical location led Paul Butler from Facebook to devise an intriguing visual depiction.
By plotting the coordinates of pairs of friends and drawing lines between them he came up with a surprisingly detailed map of the world.
As well as continents, there are clearly visible international borders on the Facebook map. However there are large parts of the world missing, such as China and central Africa because Facebook has very little presence there currently.
In his blog post Visualizing Friendships, Paul wrote:
“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.”