Thursday, February 05, 2009

Why is Facebook hiding network statistics?

A while back I compared the Harding University and Old Dominion University networks on Facebook. But in the last several months, I've noticed that the ability to view network statistics in Facebook seems to have been turned off. I can't seem to find any discussions on the Web about this issue, so either I'm the first one to write about it or I've been over-dosing on crazy pills.

Several months ago, you could see your network's statistics (% male/female, top interests, etc.) by clicking the "Network Statistics" link while browsing your network. The URL looked like this:

http://www.facebook.com/networks/16777927/Harding/

where the number is the network ID assigned by Facebook and Harding is the network's name. When I try to access this URL now, I am redirected to

http://www.facebook.com/editaccount.php?networks

which only allows me to view the networks I'm a part of or join a new one (pictured below).



The interesting thing is that when I searched Google for links to network statistics pages, they apparently have hundreds of them indexed and cached as shown below. But when you click on any of the links, you are routed back to the screen above, and when you click on a cached link, you are told your search "did not match any documents".



It doesn't look like the Internet Archive has any of these pages archived.

So is anyone else able to view their Facebook network statistics? And what would be their motivation for hiding this information?


Update later today:

Somehow I missed it... last May Facebook placed an announcement on all network pages:
Network Pages will be discontinued soon
I was able to view a number of cached network pages with Live Search. Although they didn't have Harding's page cached, they had a number of pages from various US cities. Below is a snapshot of Washington DC's page from 10/14/2008 which includes the warning:


Once Live attempts to re-crawl this page, it will disappear into the bit bucket in the sky. All the user comments will also disappear.

It's really a shame Facebook got rid of these pages as they provided an interesting summary of each network.