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Facebook says we’ve all become friends of a friend

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 NEW YORK — Facebook launched a dozen years ago, and to celebrate it’s released some mind-boggling new statistics.

Each of Facebook’s 1.59 billion users are now connected to every other user by an average of just three and a half degrees of separation.

Consider that not so long ago, conventional wisdom had it that every person on the planet were separated by six degrees.

Maybe that’s why the company calls its February 4 birthday “Friends Day.”

Facebook’s data science team crunched the numbers on the social network’s friendship graph. The conclusion: The average “degree of separation” between a single user and any other person on Facebook’s massive network is just 3.57.

That means everyone “is connected to every other person by an average of three and a half other people,” Facebook’s blog post says.

In other words, any random pair of people — from a famous French pastry chef to a veterinarian in small town Idaho — probably knows someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who’s friends with the other person on Facebook.

Users can visit the research blog to see how many degrees of separation there are between them and CEO Mark Zuckerberg or COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Zuckerberg said at an event earlier this week that the point of Friends Day is to celebrate the connections that Facebook makes possible.

He launched the site out of his Harvard dorm room in 2004, and it’s now worth more than $320 billion.

For its 12th birthday on Thursday, Facebook also put Friends Day videos on users’ news feeds. The videos greet Facebook users by name and cycle through pictures of their friends.

There are also two new friendship-themed sticker packages available, which can be sent to other users via Facebook’s Messenger app.

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