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How does Facebook suggest friends? internet, social networking
Old 06-08-2009, 01:57 PM   #1
darynthe
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How does Facebook suggests friends to add? How does it find a person I may be interested in adding as friend? I was shocked when I logged in today and found one lonely sugestion with the name of someone who was very important to me for half a decade but with whom communication is over now. I have never searched for him on facebook or anywhere. He hasn't sent me an invitation. It is him. I honestly wondered if he had died or something.

So the only way it could suggest it is Facebook has read my emails back to two years or more and it is crazy.

Ok, am I paranoid???
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:07 PM   #2
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Friends of Friends, People in network with similar interests I think. Former classmates.
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:07 PM   #3
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Are you talking about the "Friends you might know" feature?

I always thought it went something like this: If you are a friend of A, B, and C, and they all have X as a friend, you might be a friend of person X, too.

I never really cared for it, and rarerly use it. I wish they had a "...and don't care about" folder so they wouldn't try to befriend you.
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Old 06-08-2009, 02:12 PM   #4
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  Originally Posted by darynthe
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How does Facebook suggests friends to add? How does it find a person I may be interested in adding as friend? I was shocked when I logged in today and found one lonely sugestion with the name of someone who was very important to me for half a decade but with whom communication is over now. I have never searched for him on facebook or anywhere. He hasn't sent me an invitation. It is him. I honestly wondered if he had died or something.

So the only way it could suggest it is Facebook has read my emails back to two years or more and it is crazy.

Ok, am I paranoid???

For that feature, it usually scours schools you may have gone to, your network location, your real address (if you choose to put any of this stuff in) and many other geographical features along with pure luck. Facebook can't read your mind, it can't enter into your password-protected email (unless it secretly installs keyloggers on people's computers), so it was seriously just lucky this time around. Facebook is like a web crawler/data miner for this sort of information, it is purely methodical, not some psi-reader machine or something.

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Old 06-08-2009, 02:19 PM   #5
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  Originally Posted by Synapse
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For that feature, it usually scours schools you may have gone to, your network location, your real address (if you choose to put any of this stuff in) and many other geographical features along with pure luck. Facebook can't read your mind, it can't enter into your password-protected email (unless it secretly installs keyloggers on people's computers), so it was seriously just lucky this time around. Facebook is like a web crawler/data miner for this sort of information, it is purely methodical, not some psi-reader machine or something.

If it could have found out this way I wouldn't have asked honestly. But he and I are from different countries, have not a single friend in common, we live in different countries from our mother countries and haven't communicated by any means in years, we never attended same school of course or anything of the like. This was a long distance "thing". The only thing I can think of is that he searched for me but even then I don't see how it would suggest me to friend him.

Our names are not anywhere together online either.
It is impossible it found about us unless it reads minds or private email.

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Old 06-08-2009, 02:22 PM   #6
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  Originally Posted by darynthe
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If it could have found out this way I wouldn't have asked honestly. But he and I are from different countries, have not a single friend in common, we live in different countries from our mother countries and haven't communicated by any means in years, we never attended same school of course or anything of the like. This was a long distance "thing". The only thing I can think of is that he searched for me but even then I don't see how it would suggest me to friend him.

It is impossible it found about us unless it reads minds or private email.

That certainly sounds incredibly odd, then. Beyond dumb luck, I see no plausible way that could have occurred. Interesting.

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Old 06-08-2009, 02:23 PM   #7
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  Originally Posted by Synapse
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That certainly sounds incredibly odd, then. Beyond dumb luck, I see no plausible way that could have occurred. Interesting.


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Old 06-08-2009, 09:28 PM   #8
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I have wondered what was going on behind the scenes in Facebook. I signed up a few months ago to check out my nephews pictures on my sisters account. And that friend recommendation thing caught my attention. Some of the recommendations are pretty obvious. While I did not volunteer my high school or other demographic data to facebook. My sister did (same school and such) so seems an obvious relationship to exploit there.

But one just blew me away. When I was 9 or 10 I was crushing on the girl down the street. So not a mutual thing. Her family moved away about a year after that. She shows up on my Facebook friend list 30 years later? Married and Las Vegas. No contact or anything since they moved 30 years ago. I would have probably ignored it if I hadn't notice the maiden name and made the mental connection myself. I have yet to puzzle out that one. I checked all my so called "friends" on my list and looked at their friends. Do not see any connection. Freaked me out.

Needless to say I started locking down everything I could in Facebook. Was tempted to kill the whole thing. But, then I lose my non telephonic connection to my tech ignorant immediate family. The cost/benefit ratio makes the indirect connectivity to the family worth a bit more than the hassle of having of having some nebulous Facebook algorithm profiling me.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:46 PM   #9
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Facebook can look though your email contact list, but only if you give it the password.

edit: and your AIM account too.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:52 PM   #10
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Darynthe and ClydeB, I'm astonished. I just opened a facebook account a couple of months ago myself. Under the suggested friends list, there was just one person I knew, and the connection to her was obvious to figure out. The rest was just random. Of course, I was very stingy with the informtion I entered and under employment I put self employment.

I think the 29 unknowns are people who are also working for "self employment", lol. I seem to recall reading that fact somewhere on there back at the beginning before they changed everything at least 3 times over.

How they came up with those two people you both found in your suggested list is a mystery worth pursuing.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:09 PM   #11
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Weird indeed. I even tried googling this matter. Nothing.

So I logged in and refreshed a few times. I noticed same 5 people or so keep getting "suggested" but I don't know them.

Hopefully we can get to the bottom of this, cause I really wanna know now
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:17 PM   #12
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It is scary to think they may have your email password and they figure you out that way. I don't like the idea at all. On top of that, I never post in facebook. Never ever. It didn't even have my name until recently. I have like 8 friends, no more. I really don't like Facebook much as I don't understand it.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:18 PM   #13
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  Originally Posted by JohnDoe
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Friends of Friends, People in network with similar interests I think. Former classmates.

This is my guess. Incidentally, this is similar to how Google's search algorithm works. The larger the web of links to which a given site is connected, the higher priority it gets, all else equal, basically.

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Old 06-08-2009, 10:21 PM   #14
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I just checked again, all 5 people recommended have someone in common with me on their friend list. If you click on their name, it shows you your friend in common.

Therefore, Darynthe, somewhere down the crazy line he's probably a friend in Common. They say it's all 6 degrees of separation anyways.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:42 PM   #15
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  Originally Posted by Cocoa
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I just checked again, all 5 people recommended have someone in common with me on their friend list. If you click on their name, it shows you your friend in common.

Therefore, Darynthe, somewhere down the crazy line he's probably a friend in Common. They say it's all 6 degrees of separation anyways.

I just checked all my suggestions. All the add as friend had either someone I knew as contact: one person or two persons. Other said add as fan and directed me to their profiles and no friends in common option. A lot of them were freinds with two guys whom I don't know but seem to be related to me for some reason.

The person in question that brougt about this thread doesn't show anything as it seems his profile is private. So strange.

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Old 06-08-2009, 10:49 PM   #16
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  Originally Posted by darynthe
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I just checked all my suggestions. All the add as friend had either someone I knew as contact: one person or two persons. Other said add as fan and directed me to their profiles and no friends in common option. A lot of them were freinds with two guys whom I don't know but seem to be related to me for some reason.

The person in question that brougt about this thread doesn't show anything as it seems his profile is private. So strange.

HMmmm.... OK how about this.

Since you only have a few friends on Facebook, can you go through their friend lists to rule out the possibility that he's friends with them also?

Stranger things have happened, and it's still a possibility.
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Old 06-08-2009, 10:50 PM   #17
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good idea. I will do it tomorrow. You are a very through person. Thanks!
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Old 06-08-2009, 11:34 PM   #18
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Could he have been searching for you?

When I looked the first time I looked for childhood friends. Didn't necessarily mean I wanted to befriend them all, mostly just curious.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:25 AM   #19
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I always thought it had to do with how many shared friends you have.

For example, I only had about 15 friends and I noticed that most of my suggested friends came from my highest concentration of networked friends: I did not have any input about Rutgers in my own profile, however, the top suggested friends were all from Rutgers; friends to my highest concentration of friends.

Like, if 20 of the friends you already have are friends with someone else, then facebook would suggest that person.

I dont know if that REALLY has anything to do with it, but it seems interesting...





NoStoneUnturned added to this post, 11 minutes and 24 seconds later...

 
It is incredibly difficult to know what algorithm facebook has intalled in order to display your friends but I remember someone from facebook gave a small talk at the Carnegie Mellon University last year. They said that generally the list of friends is random with the additional importance/bias to the people you are actually stalking ! (Simply put the number of times you check their profile , their recent activities and the likes) .

So basically every user activity at facebook is logged and hence manipulated in a manner than it suits the best on your profile. Stalking someone ? Facebook knows !


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Old 06-09-2009, 01:48 AM   #20
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It seems pretty simple to me.

Basically, it checks for people within your networks first. From there it searches the friends of your friends. The more friends you have in common with a friend of a friend and such a person is in your network, it is more likely to recommend that person.

It's following the idea that your friends probably know people who are also your friends.
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Old 06-09-2009, 01:50 PM   #21
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No, he doesn't know any of my friends at all.

But guess what I solved the mystery I think. Here is what happened in my opinion:

He uplodaded his whole list of contacts of yahoo mail in his facebook, there is an option that allows you to do this if you give the password to your msn, etc. Probably then he chose who he befriended or not. I wasn't one of the befriended people, but Facebook knew I was in his contact list and therefore it came and suggested that I befriend him anyway.

So he hasn't been stalking my profile and Facebook has not retreived my personal password either. Both ideas were sorta dramatic. I can rest in peace now with this self-made explanation.
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Old 06-09-2009, 03:42 PM   #22
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You can hide the friends it suggests. But they will pop back again another time.
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Old 06-09-2009, 04:57 PM   #23
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  Originally Posted by JonD
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You can hide the friends it suggests. But they will pop back again another time.

Or you can just wait for them to reset daily.
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And I'm glad we got to the bottom of this, there are so many multifarious ways for people to find you technology-wise for Facebook, one of them had to make sense. I was thinking it was something to do with email as well, but I doubted that you had given Facebook your email password (invasion of privacy to the max, seriously,
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Old 06-09-2009, 10:42 PM   #24
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I wonder if you pop up for him too and what he thinks about that.
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Old 06-10-2009, 11:40 AM   #25
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The exact same thing happened to me today and I was so freaked out that I had to google it and find an explanation.
This is one of the pages that popped up. :P

Same story with the OP: I log on my FB account today and suddenly there is a friend suggestion from an ex-bf of mine whom I haven't seen in more than 5 years.

100% of friends suggested by FB were until now people that we had at least one person in common (as a FB friend).
Now with this guy today...nothing. No friends in common, nothing.
The first thing to do was check if I still have him as a contact in my email account, although I have NEVER given FB access to my email account (and trust me, it keeps asking).
I saw that I had deleted him from my contacts years ago and so I had no explanation at all how FB managed to find him and suggest him as a friend!
Let me also say that I had never checked his account on FB and I also haven't put any personal info on my FB account (job, address, phone number etc).

Also I repeat that never before in 1.5 years has FB suggested someone that we didn't have at least one "friend" in common.
You can understand how you can easily get freaked out.

The only logical explanation is what Darynthe said.
He must have given FB access to his email account, for some reason my email is still in there, somewhere...and although he hasn't added me as a friend or sent a friend request, FB took it to itself to suggest him to me. I really can't think of anything else.
If I was "stalking" him, I would be REALLY freaking out but again, I had totally forgotten about him until I saw him today. I wonder if anyone has any other ideas about how this has happened.

Weird.
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