Is Facebook really a social network service, which is run by sharing information within close friends' network? A report by the Facebook data team has something interesting to tell.
According to a report by the team, people get the new and 'novel' information from those who have weak friendship ties but tend to have different interests and perspectives. On the other hand, being in a network of close friends makes one get confined in similar contents and perspective, which works as just an 'Echo Chamber.'
Eytan Bakshy, a Facebook data scientist brought up the issue in Facebook blog. A chart by the data team shows weak ties friends group and strong ties group. This divided research was on how much they share comments, messages, photos in common.
We found that even though people are more likely to consume and share information that comes from close contacts that they interact with frequently, the vast majority of information comes from contacts that they interact with infrequently. These distant contacts are also more likely to share novel information, demonstrating that social networks can act as a powerful medium for sharing new ideas, highlighting new products and discussing current events, Bakshy said.
Since these distant contacts tend to be different from us, the bulk of information we consume and share comes from people with different perspectives. This may provide some comfort to those who worry that social networks are simply an echo chamber where people are only exposed to those who share the same opinions, he added.
The Facebook data team claims that information shared and consumed within Facebook network is much more diverse than we know. It is not surprising because Facebook boasts of 800 million users and has become an effective method of sharing and consuming the new and vast information that the world has to offer.