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Inside Facebook Data Mining Research Group 30

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-your-business dept.
holy_calamity writes "Technology Review has an in depth profile of the team at Facebook tasked with figuring out what can be learned from all our data. The Data Science Team mine that information trove both in the name of scientific research into the patterns of human behavior and to advance Facebook's understanding of its users. Facebook's ad business gets the most public attention, but the company's data mining technology may have a greater effect on its destiny — and users lives."
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Inside Facebook Data Mining Research Group

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    According to common knowledge they just burn it to DVDs and sell it to unnamed businesses nobody knows.

    I'm going with uninformed nerd rage on this.

  • TL;DR (Score:5, Informative)

    by slasho81 (455509) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @10:40PM (#40318187)

    I went against my intuition and read TFA. The whole 4,200 words of it.

    It's a complete fluff piece and doesn't contain any interesting new knowledge regarding human behavior or social networks, which you would expect from an "in depth" article about Facebook's data mining.

    There are some tidbits regarding old stuff (4 degrees of freedoms between "friends"), obvious stuff (93% of friends met in real life), and a bunch of other vaguely presented stuff with questionable validity.

    • Re:TL;DR (Score:5, Funny)

      by linatux (63153) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @10:50PM (#40318279)

      I followed my intuition & barely skimmed the summary. Mining FB would be like making a BBC documentary about reality TV.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      [i]At Facebook, our engineers collaborate to create an open environment where ideas win and are executed quickly.[/i]

      At Facebook, we don't understand grammar, and we use images of birds holding pens that looks like bird with strange penises.

    • by Raenex (947668)

      It's a complete fluff piece and doesn't contain any interesting new knowledge regarding human behavior or social networks, which you would expect from an "in depth" article about Facebook's data mining.

      Really? I found a lot in the article interesting:

      • "Since last fall, Facebook has also been able to collect data on users' online lives beyond its borders automatically: in certain apps or websites, when users listen to a song or read a news article, the information is passed along to Facebook, even if no one clicks "Like." Within the feature's first five months, Facebook catalogued more than five billion instances of people listening to songs online."
      • "For the first time," Marlow says, "we have a microscope t
  • ... Facebook is running an open call data science competition [kaggle.com] to win an interview/job on their data science team.

    (Disclosure: My work is running the competition for them)

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @12:11AM (#40318921)

      ... Facebook is running an open call data science competition to win an interview/job on their data science team.

      Anyone with half a brain will run away screaming from that offer, but not for the obvious reasons. A company that's recently post-IPO has mostly multimillionaires for employees -- and they can and will treat anyone who isn't like dirt. In a few years, if Facebook manages to turn around it's epic failure of an IPO (Well, from a business standpoint... Zuckerberg and his crew are still flush with cash) and grows their employee base by a significant amount, it may be worth considering.

      But right now, it's a job for the kids fresh out of college; they won't know that the mistreatment isn't normal and might actually stick around for a couple of years before burning out.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        ... Facebook is running an open call data science competition to win an interview/job on their data science team.

        Anyone with half a brain will run away screaming from that offer, but not for the obvious reasons. A company that's recently post-IPO has mostly multimillionaires for employees -- and they can and will treat anyone who isn't like dirt. In a few years, if Facebook manages to turn around it's epic failure of an IPO (Well, from a business standpoint... Zuckerberg and his crew are still flush with cash) and grows their employee base by a significant amount, it may be worth considering.

        But right now, it's a job for the kids fresh out of college; they won't know that the mistreatment isn't normal and might actually stick around for a couple of years before burning out.

        I work at Facebook, and I can tell you that:
        1) Most employees are not multimillionaires
        2) I have been treated respectfully by everyone, from Zuck down, regardless of whether they are multi-millionaires, or hired last week
        3) I work with data at Facebook. It's one of a handful of places on the planet with this rich of a data set
        4) I'm not a kid fresh out of college and I've worked for a lot of companies in my career. The people I work with are the most talented I have met. I consider it a privilege to

    • Ah, Kaggle. That website / company is of personal interest to myself these days. If only their rewards were higher (with the exception of the Heritage Health Prize, which seems to be setting an example to the others; it could be higher, of course, but the fact that it's over a million has the obvious result of drawing in hideous numbers of teams; as such, they will probably get what they're actually looking for, which will save their company billions).

      It's the other competitions that are...kind of weak with

      • by Raenex (947668)

        which is one of my darker fears: finding a solution, and having 40% of the money walk away. A million is a lot of money, true, but accounting for inflation and purchasing power, after taxes...it works out to two year's worth of salary for some of the better paid programmers out there.

        I'd like to know just what percentage of programmers are getting paid 300k per year after taxes in salary. I'm guessing not a whole heck of a lot.

        • Hmm. I believe the median salary for programmers in San Francisco was $150k last I checked...I will have to look into it.

          You have to keep in mind, however, that I did specify 'the better paid' programmers, and that the sheer number of millionaire / billionaire programmers out there will skew the average. It might actually be easier to find someone being paid a few million than $300K...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Somebody post the identities and interests of the team to the open Internet, for the whole world to see.

    Let us track and analyze them like the livestock they believe us to be.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yes, I left facebook several years ago and recently joined google+. What is on here?
    Well...... an endless stream of crap. If you find friends on it, you can put them in your "circles". FANTASTIC!!!
    I guess I'm just too old for this stuff, going back to share my warez on the bbs.

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