Facebook’s Big Data: Equal Parts Exciting and Terrifying?

Facebook, the popular social network with over 1.2 billion users world wide, has not just big, but gigantic amounts of data at their disposal, making it a big data paradise.

We as the users of Facebook happily feed their big data beast. We send 10 billion Facebook messages per day, click the ‘like’ button 4.5 billion times and upload 350 million new pictures each and every day. Overall, there are 17 billion location-tagged posts and a staggering 250 billion photos on Facebook.

All this information means, Facebook knows what we look like, who our friends are, what our views are on most things, when our birthday is, whether we are in a relationship or not, the location we are at, what we like and dislike, and much more. This is an awful lot of information (and power) in the hands of one commercial company.

As someone that helps companies get to grips with big data, I am in awe of the big data gold mine Facebook is creating. I believe that even if we all stopped using Facebook today, the company would have enough detailed insights about us to exploit that for years. No other company in history has ever possessed this level of detailed personal information and I believe that, apart from Google maybe, there is no other company on the planet that comes close to those levels of ‘intemate’ big data.

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