How Facebook Picks your People You May Know

It might seem that Facebook works in mysterious ways when it comes to suggested friends. But there is a set algorithm that Facebook follows to gather the suggestions.

how-facebook-picks-your-suggested-friends

It happens ever so often that you save the contact of a new person on your phone and the next thing you know is that you see that person pop up on your Facebook suggested friends list. Though it might seem like sorcery for a moment, trust me it is not. Facebook has some methods of doing it among others.

Besides this, don’t be surprised if Facebook suggests some long lost friend you hardly even remember. Facebook’s official Help Center page says that ‘People You May Know’ suggestions are assimilated from things like having friends in common, or mutual friends, this is the most common reason for suggestions.

Being in the same Facebook group or being tagged in the same photo. People who use the same networks as you do, for example, your school, university or work. And last but not the least, based on the contacts you’ve uploaded on your phone.

how-facebook-picks-your-suggested-friends

Now the last one might seem a bit mysterious because you are not prompted every time you add a new contact on your phone on whether you want to find the person on Facebook. But as Facebook explains, this happens because the permission was already granted when you installed the Facebook App on your smartphone. On logging into the Facebook app for the first time, it prompts to sync your contacts. And that is all it needs to keep checking your contacts for suggesting people.

Some might find this intrusive, and others plain irritating. But one must admit that this poses a serious threat to the personal data on the phone. Facebook might argue its case by saying that it is a choice and people can turn it off, but one must consider that not everyone is aware that this is happening.

As for the Facebook feature where it tracks people using the same network, it is an attempt by Facebook to play the perfect wingman and assistant. Facebook explains this feature by saying that this is an attempt to connect you with people you see often at bars, office, and cafés without the need for you to go search for them.

Facebook finds other people on the same network by sending out a data packet containing your information, each time you enter a network. Your phone receives other such data packets as well, and these are used to recognize other people on the same network.

These features not only show that Facebook is very innovative when it comes to data mining and identifying people but scary as well.

Bodhisatwa Ray

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