You've heard of six degrees of separation? It's the theory that you and pretty much any random stranger can be linked through a chain of up to six social connections. Well, Facebook looked into this and claims that the number's a bit lower.
On average, people on Facebook are separated by 3.57 degrees, according to researchers at the social network. This means you could be connected to even the most distant stranger, hunched over a computer in some far corner of the world, by fewer than four people.
"We've grown more interconnected, thus shortening the distance between any two people in the world," researchers wrote in a blog post about the experiment.
One caveat about this research, though: It applies only to the 1.59 billion people who are active on Facebook. Given that there are more than 7 billion people on the planet, and that over four billion still lack regular access to the Internet, it's unlikely that the new theory holds for humans at large.
But, for those of us who are online and on Facebook, the findings suggest that strangers might be a lot closer to us than we thought. No word yet on how this affects the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game, though.
Visit Facebook's research blog to see how many degrees of separation you are from the rest of Facebook's population. Here's what I got: