Can Facebook tell us about the next great human migration?

facebook tell next great human migration coordinated

We enter our hometowns and current locations on Facebook, leaving clues about how we move and where we like to live. And while Facebook uses this information to its advantage sometimes (hence the arrival of targeted ads for Chicago deep dish whenever I return to my midwestern home for the holidays) Facebook’s data team is also making remarkable observations using this data.

In a blog post, the Facebook Data Science team examined “coordinated migration,” or when “a significant proportion of the population of a city has migrated, as a group, to a different city.” 

Looking at the way users change their listed hometowns and current cities, Facebook found that certain places attract a substantial chunk of new residents all from the same place. For instance, one of these places experiencing “coordinated migration” is Miami — a large population of residents have all moved from Cuba. And Facebook found evidence of something called “chain migration” between people from Mexican cities and a handful of U.S. cities, including Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles. Facebook theorizes that these large migrations happen because one person does it successfully and inspires friends, relatives, and an ever-widening circle of contacts to do the same. 

Istanbul is one of the cities with the most instances of coordinated migration. People come in large numbers to the lively metropolis from different parts of Turkey, as well as Bulgaria and Bosnia. 

Now, the users included on this study are self-selecting, and there may be bias when a group of people moves from a place without widespread Facebook use to a place with widespread Facebook use, since it may create a bias that makes it seem like a larger part of the population is moving from one place to another. Not everyone bothers to input both their hometown and their current location onto Facebook, so it’s far from an ideal data set. Also, my friend Roddie insists that he lives in Taipei but he lives in Toronto, so there’s also the whole “people lying” thing to consider. But even if it’s not as accurate as it could be, Facebook’s insight into coordinated migration does showcase how the social network can be used to track broader migratory movements. If Facebook had been around as the Rust Belt tarnished and people in the U.S. moved to the Sun Belt, I’m sure the Data Science team would’ve been able to more or less accurately track that shift — and as the team continues to delve into migratory patterns, it should be able to pinpoint moments of future coordinated migration. 


Amy Winehouse is coming back as a ‘hologram’ for a 2019 world tour

Amy Winehouse is set for a holographic return to the stage in 2019 in a global tour featuring her greatest hits, though how fans of the late singer feel about the "comeback" is another question entirely.

Number not recognized? Here's why you're receiving calls from 'Scam Likely'

While it may seem like a bold marketing move to tag your calls "Scam Likely," these alerts are actually your carrier's way of helping you identify scams. Here, we'll walk you through what exactly these markers mean and how you can turn them…

'4WD' or 'AWD'? Which setup is right for you?

Although four-wheel drive (4WD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) are related, they are actually quite different in how they operate. Here, we talk about the fundamental differences between the two systems, and what it means for you as a driver.

Was your Facebook account hacked in the latest breach? Here’s how to find out

Facebook now reports that its latest data breach affected only 30 million users, down from an initial estimate of 50 million accounts. You can also find out if hackers had accessed your account by visiting a dedicated portal.
Social Media

3D Facebook photos jump out of the newsfeed, no glasses needed

You're not seeing things -- that photo in your Facebook newsfeed is 3D. Launching today, 3D Facebook Photos use the depth maps from dual-lens smartphones to add dimension to an image as you move your phone.
Social Media

Instagram is testing a new way for you to look through your feed

Instagram is constantly tweaking its app to help give its users the best experience possible, so how do you like the sound of tapping — instead of swiping — to look through your feed?

Hinge's new feature wants to know who you've gone out on dates with

With its new "We Met" feature, Hinge wants to learn how your dates are going with matches in its app. That way, it can inject the information into its algorithm to provide future recommendations that better suit its users' preferences.
Social Media

Like a pocketable personal stylist, Pinterest overhauls shopping tools

Pinterest shopping just got a bit better with a trio of updates now rolling out to Pinterest. The first replaces Buyable Pins with Product Pins for more features, including knowing whether or not a product is in stock.
Smart Home

Facebook’s new Portal device can collect your data to target your ads

Facebook confirmed that its new Portal smart displays, designed to enable Messenger-enabled video calls, technically have the capability to gather data on users via the camera and mic onboard.
Social Media

YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world

It's rare to see YouTube suffer serious issues, but the site went down around the world for a period of time on October 16. It's back now, and we can confirm it's loading normally on desktop and mobile.
Social Media

Twitter has sorted out those weird notifications it was sending

Twitter started churning out weird notifications of seemingly nonsensical letters and numbers to many of its users on Tuesday morning. The bizarre incident even prompted Twitter boss Jack Dorsey to get involved.

Adobe MAX 2018: What it is, why it matters, and what to expect

Each year, Adobe uses its Adobe MAX conference to show off its latest apps, technologies, and tools to help simplify and improve the workflow of creatives the world over. Here's what you should expect from this year's conference.
Home Theater

Facebook might be planning a streaming box for your TV that watches you back

Facebook is reportedly working on a piece of streaming media hardware for your living room with a built-in camera for video calls, something people may not want given the company's recent controversies.

Adobe’s craziest new tools animate photos, convert recordings to music in a click

Adobe shared a glimpse behind the scenes at what's next and the Creative Cloud future is filled with crazy A.I.-powered tools, moving stills, and animation reacting to real-time tweets.