Can Facebook actually can predict when couples are going to break up?
Yes, say Cornell University researcher Jon Kleinberg and Facebook senior engineer Lars Backstrom who researched 1.3 million Facebook users with at least 50 Facebook friends each, notes News.com.au.
Kleinberg and Backstrom’s Facebook theory relies on an algorithm they call “dispersion.”
If a couple has a high dispersion level, that means they have a large number of unconnected friends on Facebook. That’s good and they are supposedly more likely to live their own lives, but stay together.
The study says a couple with a low dispersion, which means having many of the same friends on Facebook, are 50 percent more likely to break up over the next two months.
“A spouse or romantic partner is a bridge between a person’s different social worlds,” Kleinberg told The New York Times.
This Facebook algorithm was also able to identify someone’s spouse 60 percent of the time and their “partner” one third of the time.
Kleinberg and Backstrom wrote in their study:
Instead of embededness, we propose that the link between and an individual and his or her partner should display a ‘dispersed’ structure: the mutual neighbors 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.
Sources: The New York Times, Cornell University Library, News.com.au