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I happened to notice this while refreshing the questions pages in the QA sites and their respective meta sites. The QA sites(Stack Overflow, Anime & Manga) seemed to take a longer time to load because it seems to be waiting to load something from graph.facebook.com. But the meta sites load a bit more faster as they don't wait to load it.

Here are a few snapshots to explain what exactly am talking about. When you reload a question page on the QA site you can see this, taking some amount of time to load something from graph.facebook.com.

Stack Overflow Anime & Manga

But you don't see this when you reload their respective meta site, be it either Meta Stack Overflow, Meta Anime & Manga(thus no snapshot).

Hence, I have 2 small doubts regarding this to be clarified.

  1. What exactly are we loading/using from the graph.facebook.com in the QA sites?
  2. Why is it used only on the QA sites and not their meta sites?

Note: I'm really not sure what graph.facebook.com is. I initially thought that it might be the Facebook Graph API, but got another thought that it might be the Facebook's semantic search as well.

8

We are loading from graph.facebook.com because that is an alternate provider for avatar images. If a user created the account with Facebook credentials, their avatar is automatically their Facebook profile image.

As for your question about meta sites, your sample size is simply not large enough. If a user with a Facebook avatar posts a question on a meta site, we still load from graph.facebook.com:

Loading from graph.facebook.com on BCG meta

  • I can't believe that out of so many different times I refreshed the meta sites, none of them had a facebook registered user on the first page. Your answer totally makes sense :) I'll accept this answer soon :) – SudoRahul Feb 7 '14 at 7:24
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The Graph API is used to load users' profile photos. It just happened that these sites you mentioned are having a user in the first question pages who are linking their accounts to facebook hence their photos were trying to load. To prove that, use Fiddler or any other similar inspector and access this user's profile, now access any other profile and you won't see it, or go to the second questions page and you won't see it loading from facebook. This is the photo it was trying to load when you opened Anime.SE:

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/static-ak/rsrc.php/v2/yL/r/HsTZSDw4avx.gif

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