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Why does facebook suggest random friends, with whom you have no mutual friends?

27 replies

IdrisTheDragon · 01/08/2009 17:22

I can understand it suggesting people with who I have mutual friends. But some of the suggestions aren't people I know and don't seem to be people my friends know either.

OP posts:
lou33 · 01/08/2009 17:25

i dont know i was wondering this last night as well as i have had a couple like that

waitingforgodot · 01/08/2009 17:27

I think they may have been people who have had a nosy at your profile page but I could be wrong

Hormonesnomore · 01/08/2009 17:32

God, I hope not! I nose about lots of people's profile pages . I'd hate them to know about it.

UnquietDad · 01/08/2009 17:33

I wondered this too.

It has also started suggesting people I am already friends with!!

IdrisTheDragon · 01/08/2009 17:44

I don't think I'm that interesting that completely random people look at my page. But maybe I am .

Suggesting people you are friends with is silly.

OP posts:
KnickKnack · 01/08/2009 17:49

Its people who have looked at/tried to look at your profile, eg a friend of a friend (or in my case my ex's sister, it appears regularly!)

Tinker · 01/08/2009 17:54

I'm not sure that's right because my profile is invisible but it still suggests people for me. They are people who are in an email address book though.

UnquietDad · 01/08/2009 18:17

Really, can it tell you who looks at your profile? That's something Facebook users have been speculating about for a couple of years. There was even an "urban myth" message going around about how you could press F4 and it would tell you who had looked at your profile and how often!

KnickKnack · 01/08/2009 18:47

I think it has to be true.

My profile is completely private, nothing bar profile pic is visible to others.

My ex's sister and I have definitely zero friends in common, we live in different countries, have no overlap in our lives/friends. There is very very little chance that she is even a friend of a friend of a friend. There is no way that facebook could randomly pick her from the millions of users and suggested her as a friend.
However it is highly likely that she searched for and tried to look at my profile.

mrsmerryweather · 01/08/2009 22:49

They link it to your email address.

They do not link it to any profiles you have looked at.

TheWolf · 01/08/2009 22:54

I also think that it's related to your email address after all of the 'odd' suggestions could be traced back to emails and my email contacts.

It's why I stopped using facebook tbh - seems like a complete breach of privacy tbh

FAQtothefuture · 01/08/2009 22:55

well some of the odd characters I've had on mine are definitely not linked back to my email address.

BertieBotts · 01/08/2009 22:57

I think it's to do with if you've filled in work or education details. Thousands of people went to the same college as me at the same time and I have never met 90% of them, but they still get suggested to me as friends. There are also people who went to your school but in the year above/below (+- 4 years or so) who you probably wouldn't recognise.

I don't understand how it would come from an email address tbh. Surely you only have people you know linked to your email.

IdrisTheDragon · 01/08/2009 23:01

Have looked at the people they suggest by putting in my email address and some of the people they have recommended have been through that. There's a couple of people I've been in touch with through freecycle etc so I don't "know" them but have emailed them.

Makes more sense now.

I suppose if someone you already are friends with has another email address that you have used then it could suggest them as a friend.

OP posts:
DandyLioness · 01/08/2009 23:22

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn

lou33 · 02/08/2009 00:29

i definitely do not have any of these suggestions in my email contacts, and i havent filled in any education stuff either

FAQtothefuture · 02/08/2009 00:36

same as Lou - I have very few email addresses in my contacts list - and my ebay and freecycle is a totally different email account to the one I registered on facebook with.

sandcastles · 02/08/2009 03:03

Thye are people who have the same applications as you.

sandcastles · 02/08/2009 03:06

And/or interests. Same location/network.

lou33 · 02/08/2009 03:11

but none of those seem to apply to me!

KnickKnack · 02/08/2009 10:48

same here...this girl is not on my email list, we do not share location, education, any history, any friends, any anything, its very unlikely she has my email address, I don't use facebook applications.
There is literally nothing linking us that would encourage facebook to suggest her as a friend. The only possible link is that she has probably tried to view my profile.

boogiewug · 02/08/2009 11:09

I've been wondering this; it's just suggested as a friend a bloke I vaguely knew seven years ago who I have NEVER emailed in my life, neither has he emailed me. We have no FaceBook friends in common, though now I look at his friends list I have emailed one of the girls on there a couple of times; (I also used to know her), but they've never suggested HER as a friend, but now they've suggested him. It's really odd.
So... they look at who i've emailed, then look at who THEY are Face book friends with, then suggest them to me as friends. That's the only link. Very bizare.
I guess he could have tried to look at my profile, but my name is now my married name, so i don't even think he'd know my Face book name.

UnquietDad · 02/08/2009 11:48

People with the same work location specified are suggested as friends.

Someone was suggested as a friend for me because "You both work at Freelance."

MagnoliaTree · 29/09/2009 19:50

Facebook is fab, but it works in mysterious ways and it is highly unlikely any of us non-techs will ever get to the bottom of exactly how they make the friend suggestions or how they mine your information in other numerous ways.... god knows I've spent long enough looking for reliable technical explanations on the internet with very little success.

I opened a Facebook account without downloading ANY of my email address book contacts. Not one. I have ONE friend only on the account, my niece. And yet, Facebook still sends me friends suggestions of people who I DO know, but could NOT have been gleaned from any email info I knowingly provided to Facebook. Today, as an experiment, I visited my niece's profile from my Facebook page and clicked through to some of her friends' profiles. Hey presto, ten minutes later I check my account and suddenly scores of teens and twenty-somethings from my niece's friend list ( and maybe even from her friends' friends lists) are popping up in my friend suggestions list. So I can tell you with certainty that it is NOT the case that friends suggestions are unconnected to viewing other people's profiles, as some posters here have suggested.

Whatever you think about Facebook, the important thing is just to realise they CAN and DO mine your data and use your personal profile in unfathomable ways!! So don't be naive and either consciously take the decision to throw caution to the wind, or else follow the golden rule if you want to stay on the safe side - which is that you don't put anything on there, ever, that you wouldn't be happy for ANYONE to see.... because they probably WILL be able see it, sometime, somewhere in the future, if they look hard enough.....

PS, although Facebook is clearly mining information from profile views somehow, the one thing I'm fairly confident of is that other people do not know you have viewed their profile, so peek away!! :-)

NorkyPies · 28/11/2011 00:49

From my experience, FB uses your internet searches to suggest friends from.

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