Facebook

Facebook is the world’s biggest social media platform, but now it can be used to calculate how much your friends sleep. A software developer in Denmark has come up with a way to track the sleep patterns of Facebook friends using only activity data available on the platform.

How the tool works

The tool is based on the activity time stamps the social media firm stores on its users. This tool developed by Søren Louv-Jansen is able to piece together the information of users who normally check Facebook in the morning and before they go to sleep. However, the tool only works for users who visit the platform often.

Louv-Jansen said that there are many users who check Facebook frequently, and this software helps get a good impression of their sleeping habits. In a Medium post last week, Louv-Jansen explained how this feature works. The developer has published the source code of the tool on GitHub, a platform used by many developers and hackers to put out large amounts of information for developer communities.

Louv-Jansen said he was curious to know from where the “last seen” information was coming from, and after doin research, he found a list of his social media friends’ user IDs and last activity “time stamps.” They are embedded in the initial mark-up of Messenger.com and can be viewed by simply visiting the website and clicking “View Source,” the developer noted in the post.

He created graphics depicting his friends’ sleep patterns and also discovered some broad trends to check the social giant’s database on user activity every ten minutes. Throughout the week, his friends’ sleep was mostly regular, but on the weekends, it was more erratic.

Facebook doesn’t look very happy about it

In an interview with The Washington Post, Louv-Jansen said that Facebook asked him to discourage others from using this software as it violates the site’s terms of service. He also told the newspaper that about 1,000 people have already downloaded the code. Thus far, Louv-Jansen has refused to remove his software from GitHub and says he created it to raise awareness around how much personal information can be collected from freely available information.

“My point was not to spy on my friends.” says Louv-Jansen. “I want people to be aware that they’re leaving some digital footsteps everywhere they go.”