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It's hard to think of what the lurking variable could be here if you want to make the argument that this is purely correlation and not causation. With Facebook likes, that could also indicate overall traffic levels or other popularity-based metrics, because everyone uses Facebook. Only the tech/news industry really uses Google+ though. So considering how few pages have a lot of +1's, this is a very high correlation. e.g. If +1's were just an indicator of # of unique linking domains, you'd expect that correlation to be much higher than +1's, since almost all sites have links but few have +1's.

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