You may have seen a Facebook video that shows a “flashback,” a collection of posts, likes, or images. This is similar to the one you see on your birthday or the anniversary of becoming friends. In addition, you have seen examples of Facebook using Big Data.

McKinsey & Co. reported that companies with over 1,000 employees had over 200 terabytes of customer data stored by 2009. Add that staggering amount of stored data to all the data provided by social media platforms over the past few years, and you can see how it is a significant addition to the rapidly growing data. For example, there are billions of Facebook likes and trillions of tweets. Other social media sites such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest only add to this data deluge.

Social media can accelerate innovation, drive cost savings and strengthen brands through mass collaboration. Companies use social media platforms in every industry to promote and hype their products and services and monitor what their audience thinks about them.

The convergence of big data and social media has created a new level of technology.

What is Big data?

Big data is data that is so large, fast, or complex that it’s difficult or impossible to process using traditional methods. How long has accessing large amounts of data for analytics been done? The concept of big data was first popularized by Doug Laney, an industry analyst. He defined the two V’s of big data.

Volume: Organizations gather data from many sources, including business transactions and smart (IoT) devices, industrial equipment, videos, and social media. It would not have been easy to store it in the past. However, cheaper storage options on platforms such as Hadoop and data lakes have made it more accessible.

Velocity: Data streams into businesses at unprecedented speeds with the Internet of Things. This data must be managed quickly. Smart meters, RFID tags, and sensors are driving the need for data management in near-real time.

Also Read: Exploring the Benefits of Cloud Computing in Mobile App Development

Why big data in Facebook is related to app development?

Big data is related to app development in Facebook because Facebook is a data-driven company, and its apps are built with data in mind. Facebook’s apps, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, generate and process massive amounts of data every day, such as user interactions, post engagement, ad performance, and user behavior.

Facebook collects and analyzes this data to improve the user experience and enhance its app development process. For example, Facebook uses data analytics to track user engagement with its apps and to optimize the user interface and user experience based on that data. Facebook also uses big data to inform its ad targeting algorithms and to measure the effectiveness of its ad campaigns.

Furthermore, Facebook uses big data to develop new features and products for its apps. Facebook’s data scientists and engineers work together to analyze user data and identify patterns and trends, which can inform the development of new features or products. This data-driven approach helps Facebook create more personalized and engaging experiences for its users, ultimately driving user engagement and growth. There are many advance iOS app development course and advance android app development course that will help you to know more about Big data through Bcoder.

Big Data at Facebook

Over 200 Terabytes of customer data were already stored by companies with more than 1,000 workers. Add that staggering amount of data to the explosive growth in data available on social media platforms. There are billions of Facebook likes and trillions of tweets. Other social media sites such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Pinterest only add to this data deluge.

We feed Facebook with massive amounts of data every day. Every 60 seconds, 136,000 photos are uploaded, and 510,000 comments are made. In addition, 293,000 status updates can be posted. This data can seem insignificant. However, Facebook stores 4 petabytes per day. Facebook has this data, and it can tell you who your friends are, how we look, where you live, what your interests are, and much more. Researchers even claim that Facebook has more data than our therapists to understand us!

Facebook is the only company with this level of customer detail, other than Google. Facebook users are more likely to have more information than they do not. Facebook continues to invest heavily in its ability to collect, store and analyze data. Facebook offers other methods of determining user behavior besides analyzing user data.

  1. Tracking cookies: Facebook uses tracking cookies to track its users on the internet. Facebook tracks the websites a user visits when they login to Facebook.
  2. Facial recognition: Facebook has recently invested in facial recognition technology and image processing. Facebook can track users on the internet and other Facebook profiles using image data from user sharing.
  3. Facebook offers suggestions for tags: Facebook suggests who should tag user photos using image processing and facial recognition.
  4. Analyzing the likes: Recent research has shown that Facebook Likes can accurately predict a wide range of sensitive personal attributes. Microsoft Research and Cambridge University researchers have shown that Facebook Likes patterns can accurately predict your sexual orientation and satisfaction with life.

Ken Rudin, chief analytics officer at Facebook Inc., says that “Big Data” is essential to the company’s existence. He continues by saying that “Facebook depends on Hadoop, an open-source framework that solves problems using clusters of low-cost servers. This is why Facebook has even designed its hardware. Hadoop is only one of the many Big Data technologies used at Facebook.

Also Read: What is DevOps? Why is it Trending in App Development? 

Here are some examples of big data

Some Known Big Data References

  • Voted

Facebook created a sticker that allowed users to declare their vote on their profile and successfully linked political activity to user engagement.

The experiment was conducted during the 2010 midterm elections. Again, it proved to be helpful. The button was noticed by users who were more likely to vote than their friends. Twenty percent of 61 million registered users clicked the sticker after seeing their friends vote.

Facebook’s Data Science unit claimed that their stickers, combined with social contagion, prompted close to 60,000 voters to vote. This resulted in a total of 340,000 more voters in the midterm elections.

  • Celebrate Pride

After the Supreme Court decided same-sex marriage was a Constitutional right, Facebook became a rainbow-drenched spectacle called “Celebrate Pride” to support marriage equality. Facebook made it easy to turn your profile photos into rainbow-colored pictures. These celebrations were witnessed in 2013 when 3,000,000 people changed their profile photos to the red equals symbol (the logo for the Human Rights Campaign).

According to William Nevius, spokesperson for Facebook, over a million people had already changed their profile photos within the first hour of the site being available. This excitement raised questions about the type of research Facebook was doing after they had started tracking user moods and citing behavior research. Two Facebook data scientists examined the factors that predicted support for marriage equality when the company published The Diffusion of Support within an Online Social Movement. In addition, we looked into factors that could have led to users changing their profile pictures to the red symbol.

  • Topic Data

Topic data is a Facebook technology that displays the audience’s responses about brands, events, and activities. It does not reveal their personal information. Instead, the topic data information is used by marketers to modify how they market through the platform and other channels.

Although this data was available previously through third parties, it was less valuable because the sample size needed to be bigger, and the determinations of demographics were almost impossible. Facebook’s Topic Data has separated personal information from user activity and grouped it to provide marketers with insights into all possible actions related to a particular topic. 

This provides marketers with a comprehensive and actionable view of their audience, giving them a unique opportunity to make informed decisions.

Facebook has always maintained that these causes do not cause privacy concerns. All information is shared with our consent and anonymized when used for marketing purposes. However, many critics have raised concerns about their practices. For example, many complain that privacy settings could be more precise or more transparent, making it easy for people to share information they don’t want. Facebook has attempted to correct this many times over the years, often confusing those who were used to things the way they were.

Facial recognition was another feature that was controversial when it was first introduced. For example, you might get suggestions from people to tag your photo when you upload it. This is done based on the analysis of your picture data. It is then compared with pictures of friends, leading to an investigation by EU privacy regulators.

  • Big Data Analytics At Facebook

Recent changes in the monitoring system used by Facebook have raised more questions. The company’s new monitoring tools track everything, from when a user hovers over certain pages to which websites they visit beyond Facebook. It announced last month that the information was being used by its algorithms to determine which ads we will see.

Facebook’s Data Science team leads the data strategy. They have their page. They post regular updates about insights they gleaned by analyzing millions’ browsing habits.

The team has created methods to predict users’ intelligence, political views, and emotional stability. They can also expect, weeks ahead of it happening, that users will change their relationship status to “in a relationship” from “single.”

All this is doing Facebook a favor by selling ever more targeted ads — which you might argue is okay. You are now seeing ads for products you are interested in. The concern is that governments could use this information, especially in countries without functioning democracies. They could use Facebook to find people who disagree with their views and even manipulate their moods.

What if Facebook Data is Leaked?

Facebook Cambridge Analytica Scandal:

Many users and marketers know that Facebook collects data through apps and user behavior. This data is what makes Facebook stand out from the rest in terms of digital advertising campaigns that are targeted and trackable. More than 2 billion active Facebook users create lots of data each month. For example, in 2014, a researcher was collecting data through an app called “this is your digital life,” it prompted users to take personality quizzes, and then they harvested their data as well as the data of their friends. Facebook informed the researcher that he intended to use the data for academic research.

Two hundred seventy thousand people downloaded the app. They all consented to the app collecting their data. However, the app also collected data from their friends. This allowed the app to gather information on more than 50,000,000 people. This number eventually reached 87 million.

This is because many users needed to learn what their data would be used for, and those who had their data secondarily collected didn’t even know about the app.

Cambridge Analytica was later able to contact the researcher with this information. Cambridge Analytica: Who are they? It is the company that the Trump campaign used for targeted content about politics and elections. The ads were targeted at swing voters by Cambridge Analytica. Facebook is now in hot water for an information leak that led to Trump’s victory.


Organizations are now more likely to leverage Big Data analytics to engage customers better and understand their behaviors. The article’s key takeaways include the following:

  • Facebook uses all user data with deep neural network models to find the right audience for a specific advertisement. This allows users to target their ads better.
  • This is why Facebook has become a formidable competitor to Youtube and Google Search Engine in digital marketing.
  • Facebook has a tremendous amount of user data; this is only the beginning. We may see more use cases in the future.

Facebook has been subject to a lot of backlash lately due to privacy concerns. Facebook has a reputation for monitoring user activity so it can deliver targeted advertisements to its target audience. Apple released a security update that allows users to consent to these apps before they can track them. However, more than 70% of users have yet to permit the apps to track their activities. Given these security concerns, it will be fascinating to see how Facebook can target suitable ads for its users. If you want to learn more about all Facebook and other app development courses or programs like Firebase and Nanodegree, then get in touch with BCODER, an app development training institute and enhance your knowledge.