16 January 2008

US - Researchers tapping Facebook usage for social dataset

(Ars Technica)
It's fairly easy to obtain demographic information - age, ethnicity, health status, etc. - from simple surveys. But researchers are becoming increasingly interested in how some of those demographic features interact with social connections, which are much harder to track. Those interested in studying social networks, however, are finding that today's college students are doing the hard work for them at sites such as MySpace and Facebook. In what may be the most ambitious effort of its type, a group of researchers at Harvard and UCLA is surreptitiously tracking an entire freshman class' social connections using their Facebook profiles.