The Average Facebook User Knows 73.2% of Friends

Do you ever wonder how many of your Facebook friends you actually know? is a quick, personalized game that helps you figure that out and helps you to increase your privacy online.

"People are getting smarter about their privacy online," the game states. "By now we all know how to restrict our profiles so that only friends can see our personal information. But after 3,4,5+ years of social networking, do you still even know all your friends?"

To see how many of your friends you actually know, you must first connect the app to Facebook. When you hit "Go" you will have 90 seconds to identify and name as many of your Facebook friends as you can. When presented with a profile photo, you must type their first or last name and once you answer correctly, you will see the next friend to identify. If you can't identify someone, click "I don't know" to move on.

One of our editors at LAUNCH truly only knows roughly 60% of her friends on Facebook. As the site reminds her, she shares information with 1,056K friends and the information she shares with 'friends of friends' gets distributed to 460K+ people.

The results show that men 18 years old or younger tend to know 81.36% of friends while men 25+ only know 69.25% of friends on Facebook. Overall, women on average know more of their friends on Facebook than men, with the average woman on Facebook knowing 74% of friends while men know 72%.

"Though fun, we also intend this game to help Facebook users consider their privacy exposure online," the site states. "Most consumers now know not to make their personal information public, but after years of social networking (and hundreds or even thousands of connections) it is clear that many of our online 'friendships' are simply (and sadly) no longer entact. It is worth questioning whether these 'friendships' should remain privy to the same level of online confidence they once held?"

The site recommends defriending certain people who you obviously do not know, restrict certain information to share with those users or create layered friend lists with different privacy settings.

Having an excess of friends on Facebook clearly does not result in having a high-quality network, which is why location-based application Path has a sharing limit of 150 people.

Powered by Ruby on Rails and Heroku, two students from Yale created the project for a class assignment recently, and is hosted publicly on GitHub and provided under the MIT License (MIT).

"The project was pretty open ended, but much of the semester focussed on privacy and control online, and so we thought this data could lead to some interesting commentary," project co-creator Bay Gross tells LAUNCH via email. "The game-aspect was just for fun, and to increase our data sample." 

So far, 800 people have played the game and they have logged over 35K trials. Of those, 73.2% were correct and the rest were "I can't remember." 

"We haven't had a chance to break the data down much beyond what you see at yet, but we plan to in the future," Bay says.  "For now, it's an interesting glimpse at how college students (specifically students at Yale so far) experience their social networks."