Published October 29, 2013
Facebook can predict when you're going to break up.
Yes, apparently the fate of your relationship is not written in the stars but in your social circle.
Cornell University researcher Jon Kleinberg and Facebook senior engineer Lars Backstrom proved as much when they presented their co-written research paper at a social computing conference in February.
The researchers took the datasets of 1.3 million Facebook users listed as being in a relationship, and found that the more well connected their mutual friends were, the more likely they were to break up.
This theory is described as dispersion.
Couples with high dispersion have mutual friends who are not well connected.
Couples with low dispersion have mutual friends who are well connected.
Therefore the Facebook theory suggests if you and your partner share the same social circle on Facebook (low dispersion), you're less likely to have your own lives and therefore the relationship is more likely to implode.
A healthy relationship, according to Facebook, is one where both partners have connections to a lot of different groups of people, even if those friendships aren't particularly strong.
"Instead of embededness, we propose that the link between and an individual u and v his or her partner should display a 'dispersed' structure: the mutual neighbours of u and v are not well connected to one another and hence u and v act jointly as the only intermediaries between these different parts of the network," the researchers wrote in the study.
In a nutshell, get your own damn lives and friends.
Of course, this algorithm might not take into account the fact that some couples don't take their social circles on Facebook particularly seriously and therefore might look like they don't have as wide group of friends when they actually do.
Probably because they are out living their lives.