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May 21, 2010

Does Facebook know who you'll date next?

Posted: 01:29 PM ET

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg genuinely cares about your relationship status. Well, maybe not genuinely, but he may look into it if he’s bored.

One of Zuckerberg’s favorite pastimes is determining Facebook users’ relationship patterns, according to David Kilpatrick’s upcoming book, “The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World.”

Are you constantly chatting with your girlfriend’s best friend? Do you spend more time on your crush’s Facebook page than your boyfriend’s?

You don’t have to be honest with us, but don’t bother lying to Zuckerberg.

A handful of tech blogs have published an excerpt from the book that says Zuckerberg uses certain factors to determine whether your relationship is on the outs and who you’ll likely be dating next.

All Facebook, a blog about the social-networking site, posted this passage:

“By examining friend relationships and communications patterns (Zuckerberg) could determine with about 33 percent accuracy who a user was going to be in a relationship with a week from now. To deduce this he studied who was looking which profiles, who your friends were friends with, and who was newly single, among other indicators.”

So what's your take on Zuckerberg as Cupid? Is his theory on this credible, or just creepy? If he offered you an insider's prediction on your significant other’s romantic future, would you take it?

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Filed under: Facebook

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Russ   May 21st, 2010 5:03 pm ET

Probably only accurate for tweens. LOL!

Albert E.   May 21st, 2010 5:15 pm ET

Interesting. I was married for almost 20 years, but unbeknownst to me, my spouse was connecting on FB with an acquaintance from high school. On valentine's day, I was told by my spouse 'every day that goes by is a day I'll never get back'. The next day, my daughter and I were abandoned – my spouse left for the troglodyte found on Facebook. I love technology, but some humans cannot be trusted with it. The sudden abandonment almost completely destroyed my daughter and me. I don't blame FB for this – I blame my spouse 100%. My soon to be ex-spouse is unemployed and lives with troglodyte and a massive stuffed animal collection. They attend senior proms pretending to chaparone them. Keep in mind they are both in their 40's...

Praetorian   May 21st, 2010 5:17 pm ET

Can Zuckerberg tell me to any degree of accuracy which hypocrite priest/preacher/family values republican I'm going to bash next on my facebook page? Just wondering!

Neil Griest   May 21st, 2010 5:21 pm ET

Facebook directly led to the end of my relationship with my girlfriend of 1 and a half years. She began spending more time on her profile than with me talking to he Ex's that she remained friends with. The day I moved out she "spent the night" at her Ex's in Tampa. I always feared that this guy would be a significant contributing factor to the demise of our relationship. Several times I had walked past her and caught a glimps of the things that they would talk about to eachother. I tried very hard to maintain the relationship with my girlfriend, to keep the romance but she lost interest. Thank Facebook for giving her an outlet that would influence her.

Kevin   May 21st, 2010 5:22 pm ET

Every time Facebook extracts information from a customer's data, Facebook should add to the profile an "Observer" icon representing the recipient of that data. Advertisers, researchers, CEOs, etc.

Dave Walker   May 21st, 2010 5:22 pm ET

Completely creepy when you consider how Zuckerberg founded Facebook. There's a book called "The Accidental Billionaires" by Ben Mezrich that explains what happened.

Evidently, he is a very socially awkward guy and did not do very well with the ladies. One night he was very frustrated after a bad date and hacked into the Harvard computer system. He obtained pictures of all the girls and posted them on a site to be rated based on their looks. This was the beginning of facebook.


He is a 100% complete sleazeball.

Kiefer.   May 21st, 2010 5:25 pm ET

facebook blows. It's a waste of time. Go out there and meet people like our parents and everyone before us did. Down with cyber-life.

Jimdigriz   May 21st, 2010 5:25 pm ET


It's probably because your name is Albert. Tough break; keylogger lock that down next time.

Fred   May 21st, 2010 5:26 pm ET

Facebook is monitoring private communications, and the only attention it gets is excitement about predicting relationship patterns? Umm hello?

Kevin   May 21st, 2010 5:34 pm ET

And this takes a Harvard grad? Person A looks at person B's profile a lot, person B looks at person A's profile a lot. 33% accuracy...Mark may some day decide to try this dating thing in real life. Of course if he cheats in relationships like he did in business, his odds of success aren't too high.

opus   May 21st, 2010 5:35 pm ET

I'm eating dandelions. Not to be confused with facebook.

Tim   May 21st, 2010 5:35 pm ET

Come on, Facebook is for children...too young to date or get married. Everyone else on there are losers who don't date.

JRob   May 21st, 2010 5:38 pm ET

Facebook always assures me that there's no way for another person to see whose profile you've viewed. I guess Zuckerberg doesn't follow his own rules. Not that anyone in the world had any delusions that he has a sense of ethics.

Laurie   May 21st, 2010 5:48 pm ET

My first love from high school found me on Facebook last summer, and we are happily dating now. I am grateful for Facebook, thank you!!

Paul   May 21st, 2010 6:03 pm ET

Dude's a socially inept creep. He makes my skin crawl.

Sarah   May 21st, 2010 6:07 pm ET

I don't think that is what he is doing. The guy has better things to do....

Steve O   May 21st, 2010 6:11 pm ET

Facebook really are just a bunch of whimps they pulled the Draw Mohammad page which was good stuff, now this? Facebook maybe the Antichrist.

Arthur Curtis   May 21st, 2010 6:13 pm ET

Another reason to delete Facebook.

angrywife   May 21st, 2010 6:21 pm ET

It is just great for the recently bankrupt woman looking for a sugar daddy but devistating for the wife.

PJ   May 21st, 2010 6:28 pm ET

33%?! That means he's wrong most of the time. WOW!!!! I have a number in my head- it's the IQ of the CNN Chief Story Editor....guess....

Bob   May 21st, 2010 6:38 pm ET

In spite of all the insane privacy complaints about recent spyware behavior of Facebook, now this guy is bragging about studying people's private communication and browsing habits? Are you kidding me?

The silver lining is that his public comments just make for better law suits. Facebook is a company that's lost any sense of responsibility.

Matthew   May 21st, 2010 6:55 pm ET

It seems to me they are being the nosy nextdoor neighbor or the meddling mother in law. Dating is difficult enough, I really hope what I do in "virtual reality Facebook" doesn't have an influence on whom I spend my time with.

DangoDango   May 21st, 2010 7:14 pm ET

One more reason why a person with any sense of privacy should never be on facebook. Notwithsatnding that the owners of facebook also sell user's infomration to third parties.

Myjah   May 21st, 2010 7:33 pm ET

This is just stupid. Who says the person you are going to date is on facebook? Who says all facebook users keep their profiel so updated? Or are on it everyday? I think Mark Zuckerwhatever-his-name needs to get a life and stop screwing up his own website by making stupid new features no one wants.

Lainie   May 21st, 2010 7:52 pm ET

Dunno... this could be very interesting to follow and see how accurate it is in the long run.

*However*, there are some distinct patterns forming already. Example- my older daughter has been seeing a guy for several months, but the other day, both of them changed their status from 'single' to 'in a relationship'. It was a real marker for them- a transition point, somehow making them 'official'. And I've seen similar things happen with others. I think that this is a significant change in our modern culture, with an online social network being the arbiter of relationship status.

What next? Will we get our marriage licenses from Facebook? 🙂

dave   May 21st, 2010 8:03 pm ET

I thought tomorrow was quit FaceBook day because of the way they sold out their users.

Sean   May 21st, 2010 8:06 pm ET

This is creepy to say the least. Knowing that Zuckerburg is or even has the idea to go over such data regarding a possible outlook on our future relationships. Maybe this is why there are so many inquires about this privacy issue.

Numbers   May 21st, 2010 8:19 pm ET

a 33% accuracy rate means that Zuckerberg is wrong 67% of the time.

Leonard   May 21st, 2010 8:38 pm ET

Facebook probably knows when your date with death will be. With all it's privacy issues.

lisalisa   May 21st, 2010 8:44 pm ET

D. All of the above, are correct

Rob G   May 21st, 2010 9:08 pm ET

I think Facebook needs to worry about his our realationship and not everyone elses!! Mind your business boy!!

For free online dating I use , nice and easy to use, free, and they don't try to tell you who to date!

Rob G   May 21st, 2010 9:09 pm ET

I think Facebook needs to worry about his our relationship and not everyone else's!! Mind your business boy!!

For free online dating I use , nice and easy to use, free, and they don't try to tell you who to date!

Flip   May 22nd, 2010 4:21 am ET

The more I read about facebook, the more it makes me want to delete my account...too bad its such a good tool to keep in touch with old friends

John   May 22nd, 2010 7:56 am ET

Creepy. He may be a success with Facebook, but he's still a young kid using his position to peek in on the peoples private dating lives.

Maxwell   May 22nd, 2010 9:56 am ET

Seriously, i think it will work for a number of people for their next date to be found out. For someone like me, i find it hard giving a comment or contributing to the discussion of someone i will like to date...But if it will probably be feasible,it will be nice..Mark has done one great thing for a lot of pple...

Jen   May 22nd, 2010 10:52 am ET

This is pretty much ridiculous. I'm sure the statistics work out to be pretty close to the real deal, but I don't care. "Excuse me, Mr. Zuckerburg, who do I want to date? I'm not too sure. Can you help me?" Right... As if I don't know who I like. Talk about a waste of time and resources. There's no way he could share that information anyways. So what's the point?

Todd   May 22nd, 2010 12:03 pm ET

My generation remembers when MTV played Music Videos ... The last generation will remember when CNN Sci/Tech stories were about Sci/Tech ... sadly, this generation will only know facebook and apple stories ...

jeff   May 22nd, 2010 5:11 pm ET

hm. I was thinking about getting a facebook account, but then I'd have to post stuff and that would be tedious and boring. Unless of course I just wanted to waste a bunch of time on something as stupid as watching paint dry.

Nano   May 22nd, 2010 5:43 pm ET

I work at Facebook, and this is false.

AK   May 22nd, 2010 6:17 pm ET

so let me get this straight. If I flip a coin, I can have better results than the Big Z. Kind of sad.

bobH   May 22nd, 2010 6:24 pm ET

First of all, if you give enough information to any Con-Artist (Confidence Manipulation Artist) such as an Advertiser, they can Hack their way into your decision-making through conscious and unconscious doorways: your desires and needs.

When they use information we do not wish to give them, or information about our thoughts and desires and intentions that we may not even be aware of – they are Hacking.

We are complex hybrid computing machines (with/without a soul, depending on your spiritual perspective). We can be hacked. Advertisers do it all the time with a very low efficiency. However, they are successful often enough to give their companies an edge.

If they get information about the many things we like (Facebook "Like" Buttons), the many people we like or dislike ((un-)Friends on Facebook) all in a tidy information package that Facebook delivers, they can be much more successful.

Facebook has demonstrated the skill and desire to analyze all that information to synthesize our inner thoughts and desires and allegiances.

The package they can sell is now a much more potent fuel for Advertisers and other purchasers of 'Consumer Information.' We can now be hacked into more easily, and the array our choices that they can influence has been significantly expanded.

They can apologize all they want – and swear they will stop the least justifiable practices, but their tendency to noodle about in the interior of our lives and search for means to market that information has been laid bare.

They can't hack us with perfect efficiency yet. It is but a matter of time and money for them to tune their algorithms. They can do for Marketing and Mass Psychological Manipulation what the Quants have done for the Derivatives Market. They have the time, and their information subscribers and investors have the money.

When they succeed, individuals will be conned and manipulated with varying degrees of success. At a societal level, their success will be consistent and measurable. It only takes a modest level of influence applied at critical times to change the outcomes on great political and economic and military matters. Think about it.

This methods exposed in this article, and the discovery that Facebook has been sending User Identifying information to Advertisers, lays bare the moral sloth and greed of Facebook. Add the advent of "Like Buttons" and tide of communication toward internet-based socializing, and you will see that the keys to the kingdom are falling into their untrustworthy hands.

And, for a price, these keys can be had by the highest bidders.

Knowing this, we can enter this new age with our eyes wide open, and all forms of our personal information firmly in our conscious control. Alternatively, we might wake one day, like Neo, and discover we have been living in a dream world, and not the one we would have chosen.

bobH   May 22nd, 2010 6:47 pm ET


Actually you would need one coin for everyone known to a person on facebook, and flip a coin for every person.

Whenever all flipped coins turn up tails, you have to flip them al again.

For every person who's coin is a head, you'd have to flip a coin again, and keep going until only one person's coin turns up heads.

That makes Z's results a little more interesting.

J-Dub   May 22nd, 2010 9:00 pm ET

Facebook won't predict your love life, but it will determine how many Trojans will get on your computer before it crashes on you! Facebook has more garbage on it than a NYC sewer.

pat   May 23rd, 2010 1:27 am ET

I have just dumped Facebook, and deleted my facebook account for good.

Dawn   May 23rd, 2010 11:18 am ET

I could just *guess* and be 33% accurate...

Alexis N   May 23rd, 2010 11:35 am ET

It's more than a bit disconcerting to know that Facebook is analyzing this kind of data without my explicit permission.

Consider my account cancelled.

joe   May 23rd, 2010 2:03 pm ET

i think he should mind his own business facebook's privacy is already F**cked up enough without this

Adam   May 23rd, 2010 6:02 pm ET

I found my girlfriend on facebook and moved from Wisconsin to Oklahoma to be with her. Definately worth it and I enjoy every minute with her. I gotta thank Facebook, because without it I wouldn't have her in my life rite now. I love her to death.

Shane   May 23rd, 2010 6:12 pm ET

Facebook doesn't show a graphic for it, but all of us have a web of connections to people (and places and things) in our life. The more info we get about time and energy invested in each item on the web, the better we can analyze how close we really are.

When I first realized this about 10 years ago, I did some mental math and realized that the people I thought I loved most and I interacted very, very much less than I thought. It was cause for major depression.

Bulbo Dfondo   May 23rd, 2010 6:48 pm ET

Facebook measures one million dimensions of compatibility.

GreenSky   May 23rd, 2010 7:36 pm ET

Stop using Facebook, or anything like that.

laxbro   May 23rd, 2010 7:53 pm ET

i think he should worry more about who hes dating than who we are dating seriously computer nerds arnt famous for being casanovas

Mark C   May 23rd, 2010 10:44 pm ET

Are you telling me they're actually tracking how much time I spend on which friend's page? These guys are evil.

Mark C   May 23rd, 2010 10:45 pm ET

*** seriously computer nerds arnt famous for being casanovas ***

Seriously billionaires do fine.

Brad   May 23rd, 2010 10:56 pm ET

Sounds like Zuckerberg is turning into Big Brother.

Franko   May 24th, 2010 12:12 am ET

Search & Watch
Facebook Hates You, Synthia

Yellow   May 24th, 2010 12:32 am ET

welll now we know its not a myth that the people behind facebook are creepers who make so much money out of ad sales that they spend time looking at our relatioships-profile views, comments... for what? write books, make more money. woohooo

Yellow   May 24th, 2010 12:37 am ET

By the way... May 31st is the official Quit Facebook Day! great timing creepers

goddog   May 24th, 2010 12:41 am ET

I find this very intrusive...I will never get one of those pages.

Franko   May 24th, 2010 12:56 am ET

 With the recent Synthia revelation, all pretense of privacy is moot.
 FaceBook Emperor is without clothes.

Kevin   May 24th, 2010 1:14 am ET

So this kind of stalking is OK with people?

Sency   May 24th, 2010 1:35 am ET

Interesting article in Time Magazine about Privacy and Facebook.

It was a good read

Rachel   May 24th, 2010 2:24 am ET

If anyone from facebook reads this... give us a little privacy. Let us customize our own profile the way we want to. Seriously, it's getting a little annoying how we have to watch our every move and if we cancel our facebook then I'm basically losing every contact I ever made in college because I don't have everyone's email or number in my address book. I'd like a little consideration, not to mention a notification when something regarding my privacy is being changed.

LegoTroll   May 24th, 2010 2:29 am ET

I find this rather creepy. To have Zuckerberg or anyone else on his staff just trolling though user profiles looking for "patterns" gives rise to "Big Brother" making sure little brother is behaving.

Sorry, just another reason why I'll be leaving Facebook. I do enjoy staying connected with my friends, however, when people that I haven't invited start viewing my info and actions to look for patterns for any nefarious reason. . . it's time to go. Sorry Zuckerberg, it was a great idea but you've lost your focus for the end user and have turned to the dark side.

E   May 24th, 2010 5:14 am ET

I'm still hoping that Zuckerberg will return the 'No One( but me)' option on the privacy setting. Especially on photo albums, friends list and profile...

Boy   May 24th, 2010 5:21 am ET

Zuckerberg, can you who I'm gonna date next week? It is very interesting to know it 🙂

Odette   May 24th, 2010 6:47 am ET

It's a lot of bull. Privacy on fb sucks!

Marie   May 24th, 2010 7:40 am ET

I met a wonderful man on facebook.......Never thought I would trust the internet.....but it changed my just have to be very careful

George   May 24th, 2010 7:53 am ET

Awe, look, now a corporation is using its customer's for social science studies. How's it feel to be guinea pigs, lemmings?

Than   May 24th, 2010 9:05 am ET

Zuckerberg scares me to begin with. Some kid's website having all of the personal information about me AND everyone I know... sounds like something from a bad 80's movie.

sam   May 24th, 2010 12:47 pm ET

when they say 'zuckerberg' do they really mean the guy himself or facebook? cos i think it wud be really wierd if it were him

Bill   May 25th, 2010 5:13 am ET

This is not only creepy, but I'm pretty sure that it's illegal invasion of privacy.

Russ   May 25th, 2010 8:23 pm ET

Facebook doesn't know squat.

all their stupid ads and hundreds of steps you have to do, I would rather listen to a pigs advice than Facebook's.

ohm   May 26th, 2010 5:57 am ET

wow cnn, you're lame.

j   May 26th, 2010 9:13 am ET

So what If I date someone I met on facebook, better than finding an hypocrit in church.

Ronald-Quinzy52   May 26th, 2010 4:31 pm ET

I had an ubfortunate accident in early 2005. It left me Paraplegic. Can a woman look past that fact to give me a chance? I like to to think of myself as a "Nice" guy. I think of myself as Reliable,Dependable,Respectful and Punctual. Hockey,Basketball and Football are the sports I like. Music from the 50's to the 80's with Huey Lewis being my favorite band. I like who are 48 to 57 with short hair. I am in Quincy,MA and want someone nearby.

Adam   May 28th, 2010 4:25 pm ET

I believe there's some credibility behind his prediction model, but it's wrong more than half the time. Which doesn't surprise me, especially because you've got people like my girlfriend who almost never updates her Facebook page. As a result, I almost never look at her profile. According to "the Zuckerberg Model," that probably indicates that our relationship is on the rocks.

Z   May 29th, 2010 9:53 am ET

Well I think it's difficult to work that out. You might think someone is cool but no particularly want to date them.. plus if you live with your partner you're less likely to view their profile right?

Mary   May 29th, 2010 3:52 pm ET

If you are one of these stupid kids whose whole relationship exists solely online or via text then maybe you should ask him to set up a dating site for you, you weirdo.

綱手- Penny   June 3rd, 2010 12:51 pm ET

While I don't like the idea of some college-aged, immature, bratty juvenile looking at my site to see who I am dating/not dating, I realize that my information is shared on the web by other places I go to on the web. Idk if you are in a "secure" site, no site is 100% secure. I was just on a so-called secure site making a financial transaction only to find that malware tried to attack my computer. If anyone thinks anything is secure, think again.

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