"For the first time," Marlow says, "we have a microscope that not only lets us examine social behavior at a very fine level that we've never been able to see before but allows us to run experiments that millions of users are exposed to."Once they've discovered the infrastructure of social interactions, Facebook and its partners will have the ability to inject information into key nodes (just like the doctors do when they need to anesthetize the patient.) Further, they'll be able to shape the infrastructure in certain ways to streamline information flows.
"The biggest challenges Facebook has to solve are the same challenges that social science has," he says. Those challenges include understanding why some ideas or fashions spread from a few individuals to become universal and others don't, or to what extent a person's future actions are a product of past communication with friends.
tags: distribution, infrastructure, interface, facebook, control