To learn about what Facebook Data for Good is doing in response to the COVID19 pandemic, click here.

Social Connectedness Index

The Social Connectedness Index measures the strength of connectedness between two geographic areas as represented by Facebook friendship ties. These connections can reveal important insights about economic opportunities, social mobility, trade and more.

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Features

Friendship Data

The Social Connectedness Index offers a new type of data to the research and non-profit community, measuring the frequency and density of friendship and social ties around the world, a type of data that has rarely been made available to those interested in understanding how relationships affect social outcomes.

Global Reach

With 2.45 billion active users globally, the Social Connectedness Index from Facebook provides the first comprehensive measure of social networks at an international level.

Privacy

The index provides researchers with connectedness scores, but not the number of links between two places or any of the underlying data. All data is aggregated and anonymized.

By making granular geographical data on social connections available, Facebook is helping researchers and policymakers understand the role of information networks on how people respond in this COVID-19 public health crisis. Not only can the data help in identifying and even potentially predicting infection clusters, but it can also help policymakers understand the extent to which social capital and online interactions between different areas can facilitate social distancing, slowing the spread of COVID-19 by having people interact online instead.”

Ben Charoenwong, Assistant Professor of Finance at the National University of Singapore

Who Uses the Social Connectedness Index

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Universities and Researchers

Researchers and universities can use the Index to see whether there is a relationship between social connectedness and socioeconomic trends like trade, migration or the spread of disease.

Non-profits

Nonprofits interested in understanding how social ties affect resilience after events like natural disasters and other shocks can benefit from these data.

Methodology

We use aggregated friendship connections on Facebook to measure social connectedness between geographies. Locations are assigned to users based on information they provide, connection information, and location services they have opted into (to learn more about how Facebook uses location data and how to control location privacy see Location Privacy Basics). We use these friendships to estimate the probability a pair of users in these geographies are Facebook friends (we rescale based on the population of two geographies) and map this to an index score called the Social Connectedness Index (SCI). If the SCI is twice as large between two pairs of geographies, it means the users in the first geography-pair are about twice as likely to be connected than the second geography-pair. More details on the methodology can be found on our website here, or in the paper Social Connectedness: Measurement, Determinants, and Effects published in the Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Learn More

Case Studies

In the News

Start working with the Social Connectedness Index

This tool is only available to nonprofits and researchers. Interested researchers are invited to email sci_data@ fb.com to learn about the current process for working with the Social Connectedness Index data. If you are a researcher who is already working with the Data for Good team, feel free to connect with your standing contacts to start working with this data.

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