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Six degrees of separation 'may be accurate'

Six degrees of separation 'may be accurate'News brought to you by Skint Tariffs, providers of cheap broadband deals.

The age-old story that everyone can be linked within six steps could be more accurate than previously thought, new research has found.

Using instant messaging, Microsoft researchers found that seven is closer to the mark, with people on average being linked by seven or fewer acquaintances.

The computing firm studied 30 billion messages sent by cheap broadband users during a single month two years ago and have now analysed the data to discover that connections between people around the world are a lot closer than expected.

Microsoft researcher Eric Horvitz told the Washington Post: "What we're seeing suggests there may be a social connectivity constant for humanity.

"People have had this suspicion that we are really close. But we are showing on a very large scale that this idea goes beyond folklore."

In July 2006, Judith Kleinfeld, professor of psychology at Alaska Fairbanks University claimed that US academic Stanley Milgram's original six degrees of separation claim was "urban myth" based on inaccurate research.ADNFCR-1494-ID-18721506-ADNFCR

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