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Facebook Did Stuff

See also: posted earlier today

Facebook just made some important changes to the ways in which nodes in their social network (people, pages, apps, etc) can connect to each other. Beyond simply allowing a few new behaviors beyond “like”, however, Facebook has chosen to allow developers to define any new actions they want, essentially making the graph as expressive as possible. And while this will allow people to connect to companies and brands more easily, this is not the most interesting effect it will have from a networking-related point of view. It will give Facebook enormously more information about its users, allowing for better-targeted advertisements and correspondingly higher profits, and even non-sponsored suggestions along the lines of but for everything and potentially smarter. Facebook is fundamentally social, with interactions generally based on what your friends like or do rather than the Internet as a whole, so if any user starts giving the site more information then that information can be automatically shown to hundreds of their friends, with much more impact than if they were a stranger.

The potential impact of this, combined with Facebook’s near-ubiquity and therefore ability to immediately get massive adoption through the network effect, is not only that Facebook will model more real-life connections but that it will act as the impetus for new connections to form, such as by telling people about recipes, movies, and so on that they are likely to like. Since Facebook can often tell whether a connection is strong or weak (if you listen to a song often, cook a recipe more than once, or “like” a movie the connection is likely strong) and recommend more highly based on strong connections, the ultimate result ought to be a strengthening of the Triadic Closure Property, more strong ties being created, and therefore people finding music, recipes, and so on that suit their tastes better.


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