UPDATE: Anna Chapman’s (one of the Russian Spies taken into custody) Facebook profile has gone private. Pictures and Friends information is no longer publicly available as of Wednesday evening (6/30/2010).
Earlier today, I looked up the Facebook URL for Russia’s hottest spy. I was actually pretty surprised her profile was still up and available… you know given that she was being held by the authorities, probably in some cell in Guantanamo.
So, curious as I am, I started digging around her default public profile. I saw that she had 168 friends. I started digging further.
Her friends seemed to be virtually all men… 83% to be exact. I then started looking at the profiles of some of these friends she had. After only a few clicks, I found that some of her friends had shared friends with me. My attention instantly perked up as I realized that I am 3 degrees of separation away from the Russian spy… or put another way, many of my friends have the same friends as the Russian spy. Okay, kind of quirky and fun for a Wednesday morning.
Now for those of you who don’t know me, I am a tech entrepreneur and investor in Silicon Valley. Having some success on both fronts has afforded me the opportunity to friend up with a bunch of the movers and shakers in Silicon Valley, Internet entrepreneurs and investors alike. So things started to get interesting as I deployed some sorcery to run through all 168 of Anna Chapman’s friends and determine if we shared mutual friendships.
Here’s where the analysis took me:
– The Russian Spy has mutual friendships with 32 (or 6%) of my friends
(or put another way: 32 of my friends know at least one of the Russians Spy’s friends)
– 12 (or 7%) of the Russian Spy’s friends directly know my friends
– 4 (~1%) of my friends directly know several of the Russian Spy’s friends
The Low Down – naming names
Here’s a list of my FB friends who share friends with the Russian Spy:
– Jimmy Wales – Founder, Wikipedia
– Robert Scoble – Founder, Building 43
– Om Malik – Founder, GigaOm
– Matt Marshall – CEO, VentureBeat
– Loic Lemeur – Founder, CEO Seesmic
– Dave Mcclure – Angel Investor
– Philip Kaplan – Co-founder, Blippy
– David Weekly* – Founder, PBWorks
– Larry Lessig – Board Member EFF, Creative Commons
– Naval Ravikant* – Serial Entrepreneur
– Raj Kapoor – Partner, Mayfield Fund
– David Lee – Partner, SV Angels
– Ed Baker – Founder, CEO Friend.ly
– Paul Bragiel – Founder, CEO of Lefora
– Noah Kagan – Co-founder Gambit
– Kamal Ravikant* – Angel Investor
– Patricia Lassus – Entrepreneur
– Ryan Junee* – Entrepreneur
– Sylvia Battilana – Co-founder, Auctionomics
– Tammy Camp – CEO, ComCorp
– Matt Mireles – Founder, CEO, SpeakerText
– Ben Mendelsohn – President, Interactive Television Alliance
– Beatrice Pang – Founder, Mokini
– Shaukat Shamin – Co-founder Permuto
– Carl Bressler – Investor, Advisor
– Grant Wernick – Entrepreneur
– Erin Turner – Founder, CEO Crave
– Babak Nivi – Co-founder Venturehacks
– Daniel Brusilovsky – Entrepreneur
– Jared Kopf – CEO, Homerun
– Gerd Leonard – CEO of the Futures Agency
– David King – Founder GreenPatch
Disclaimer: All information provided above was publicly available as of Wednesday morning (6/30/2010). If anybody wants me to take their information out I will, but as I don’t believe there is anything personally embarrassing or inherently private, I figured there was no harm in providing this data.
* denotes individual that has multiple friends in common with the Russian Spy
- I was initially surprised by the number of connections the Russian Spy has into the movers and shakers of Silicon Valley. A deeper look paints a bit more textured story. Basically Anna has (/had ;) ) a handful of friends that are in the periphery of the Russian and American tech scenes. I wouldn’t say that she was a regular in the scene but rather was friends with people who are. Given the sheer number of just my friends the Russian Spy shares connections with, I’m gonna guess that she had several run-ins with a number of top-level Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and executives, and who knows how many of them she may have connected with. Maybe getting the next degree out into the tech world was part of her orders from the Kremlin.. maybe I or my friends would have connected with her at a tech party in the next 6 months… who knows.. :)
- What this whole exercise made clear to me is the extent of deep investigative insights that sit just a few keystrokes away for a criminal or civil investigator. I personally haven’t seen any pitches for companies that sell sophisticated social networking investigative tools to law enforcement, but if they don’t exist, they most certainly will. Maybe I should start or fund one!
- I’ve always been a fan of transparency, and have theorized that the ultra-transparency that social networking tools provide will keep everyone a lot more honest. Criminals and Spies are going to have a very difficult time being engaged members of society without being completely vulnerable and exposed through the tools that being socially engaged require.
- Trust is an interesting thing when extended online. Trusting friends with information often means that your information goes to their friends including sexy Russian spies. And then everything is so public on social networks today and your information is available to any investigative hack (like me) or actual investigator. I just did the equivalent of 3-6 months of investigative work 20 years ago, in about an hour. This is a new world for sure.
- What a fascinating and fun analysis for me to do. I mean, when I was a kid I always wanted to be a spy. The public data gave me the opportunity to do counter-intel on a suspected Russian operative, all from the comforts of my home office!! That’s SERIOUSLY COOL!