I am sick this weekend and that’s a justification to stay in bed and play around with the computer a bit. Over these last weeks, I was thinking that it may be interesting to get back to the aging netvizz application and make some direly needed revisions and updates, especially concerning some of the quantitative measures concerning individual users’ activity. Maintenance work is not fun, however, so I decided to add a new feature instead: the bipartite like network.

The idea is pretty simple: instead of graphing friend relationships between users, the new output basically just throws users and likes (liked pages that is – external objects are not available through the API) into the same graph. If a user likes something a link is created. That’s also how Facebook’s opengraph architecture works on the inside. The result – done with gephi – is pretty interesting though (click for bigger image):

The small turquoise dots are users and the bigger red ones liked objects. I eliminated users that did not like anything (or have strong privacy settings), as well as all things liked by a single person only. The data field “likesize” in the output file indicates how often an object has been liked and makes it possible to size likes separately from users (the “type” field distinguishes the two). It is not surprising that, at least in my case, the network of friendship connections and the like network are quite similar. People from Austria do not like the same things as my French friends – although there is a cluster of international stuff in the middle: television shows, music, wikileaks, and so on; these things cannot be clearly attributed to a user group.

One can actually use the same output file for something quite different. The next image shows the same graph but with nodes sized for number of connections (degree). This basically shows the biggest “likers” (anonymized for the purpose of this post) in the network and still keeps the grouped by similar like patterns.

The new feature is already live and can be tried out. If you want to do more than make pretty pictures, I highly recommend checking out the work by my colleagues Carolin Gerlitz and Anne Helmond on what they call the “like economy”.

And now back to bed.


Post filed under facebook, social networks, softwareproject, visualization.


  1. Pingback: Visualizing bipartite Facebook Like networks « Anne Helmond

  2. Charles Santana says:

    Dear Bernhard

    First of all, Congratulations for your great tool, and thank you for sharing it with all of us.

    I am writing because I used netvizz some weeks ago to build my network of facebook contacts and it worked very well.

    But last 2 weeks I have added a lot of new contacts and I reached the limit of 5000 contacts. And now, when I am not able to re-build my network of contacts using netvizz. I am waiting for 2 hours and it still didn’t finish to build the network, is that normal?

    As I saw you did some great upgrades in the library (like the “like network feature”) I thought that maybe other features may have broken.

    Could you help me with this? Thank you very much for your attention!

    All the best,


    • Hi Charles,

      Yes, with such a big network, two hours is absolutely normal. Complexity and waiting time grows quadratically, this means that 4 friends = 16, 5 = 25, and so on. My recommendation would be to leave it running through the night.


  3. Charles Santana says:

    Thanks for the answer, Bernhard! I will try it tonight! 🙂



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  5. Good work Bernhard!
    Is it possible to add feature which build network of people that like specified page?

    It would be cool to use such functionality.

    Best regards,

  6. Tomas Gueneau says:

    This is very interesting indeed.
    I’m just wondering. How do you extract “liked items” from Netvizz? (it’s been more than a year since I closed FB account, but want to see if I can suggest this to somebody else).
    Would be great to know that.
    Thanks and congratulations for the work, very interesting way of mining the network.

    • Tomas Gueneau says:

      Ok, Got it…
      This is the announcement of the feature… just tried it with friend’s account.

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  8. very interesting article! we see that Louis de Funès and ARTE are both well known by people from Austria.

    congrats for the work

  9. Albin Bajramovic says:

    Hello Bernard,

    Every time I try to run Netvizz it gets stuck on 511 out of 634. I left it running over night, tried different browsers, but no love. Any advice?
    Thank you!
    Albin B

  10. Pingback: Summer news | Gephi blog

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