Facebook has become a part of our daily lives. We live and breathe through it. It has its quirks and is a good way to know stuff about others without having to ask. But sometimes facebook makes you pause scrolling through your newsfeed, especially when it presents you with its “People You May Know” suggestions.
It wouldn’t be such a problem if the people mentioned are those having mutual friends, same workplaces or groups, but Facebook usually suggests people you have just once met or don’t even really know, for that matter. And it usually freaks you out when you see your dentist’s receptionist being suggested, or the barista at your local coffee shop.
Facebook’s People You May Know program or PYMK doesn’t give much information about these whacko suggestions as it vaguely points out.
The possibilities of receiving “people you may know” suggestions are based on the following factors according to Facebook:
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
Your networks (example: your school, university or work)
Contacts you’ve uploaded
The explanation most of us have come up with is that Facebook uses Smartphone Location services to match us with people, since there can’t be a plausible other reason for how your neighbour with nothing in common with you ends up on your suggestions list.
Kashmir Hill wrote that Facebook confirmed the usage of location data from smartphones to match people up. However, this story was shortly followed up by claiming that Facebook had done only a brief test last year while utilizing the data.
This all seems rather bizarre, if you’re used to stalking your crush regularly and are scared that your coyness will get you caught, since facebook’s recommendations don’t really function through multiple visitings.
Another explanation provided is that when messenger is downloaded, your contact list is automatically synced , thus those contacts become part of the data facebook can use. So perhaps the person who keeps appearing in your “Suggested Friends” list might be because they have you in their contact list already. Did this make Facebook’s PYMK list any less freaky or not?