Cis 207


CIS 207

Facebook: A Social Network Engine
How Facebook Works
To use Facebook a person, group or corporation registers an account and then specifies some basic profile information. Afterward the user can post status updates, upload videos and pictures, or “check-in” by posting their location.
In addition to their basic profile information, the user will also specify their social circles. Examples of social circles might be people that worked at Contoso, live in Seattle, or are friends of Bob. Through the use of these declared social circles, Facebook then finds content that the user’s “friends” have published. This content is dynamically presented as a personalized view (Bosworth & Cox, 2006, 200800403 70).
When selecting which content to show; the frequency is based on the affinity of the friend’s relationship. To measure the affinity of this relationship, the number of actions involving both users is counted; where a higher count signifies a higher affinity. Actions could include mentions in a post, “Liking” the friend’s content, or tagging a friend in a check-in (Bosworth & Cox, 2006, 20080040475). Not all relationships need to be calculated; in many scenarios the user will proactively declare relationships in terms of being family members or husband/wife (Facebook, 2007, 20080235353).
A common scenario where this can be seen is with a user that is part of a social circle consisting of three people: good friend, your mom and a random stranger. The affinity between the user and their mother would be high due to the declared relationship and the good friend through the number of shared posts. Therefore when determining the probability a friend’s status update should be shown to another user, a post from the mother or good friend should be shown more frequently than the random stranger.
Changes Brought to the Users
Facebook has brought about many changes to its user base. Some of these places include exposing private information to...