Have you ever met a person for the first time ever and that evening when you open your Facebook, the same person pops up in the “people you may know” recommendations. It is okay to receive recommendations of people that you have mutual friends with, but when it is a random person, it is sure to freak you out for a while. We all wonder how the Facebook’s recommendation feature, also called “PYMK” works, and Facebook’s documentation about the feature is quite vague as well.
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
None of these explain why that person you met at the bar, or the receptionist at the doctor’s office is suddenly appearing in your friend suggestions. The only explanation to the happenings is that Facebook uses smartphone location to match you up with people. You may see people from the coffee shop you go to, or the office building you work in, even if you have never met the people in person. Kashmir Hill wrote that Facebook confirmed that they are using location data to recommend friends, but changed their story very soon, claiming that it was just a brief test they ran last year using location.
According to Facebook, a person will appear in your Facebook friend suggestions mostly because you have mutual friends with them. If you are frequently checking up on your crush’s profile, you need not worry either. Facebook will not recommend you to them just because you are visiting the profile. Although, some people including me think that it certainly is the case.
Another factor that significantly adds to your friend suggestions is the contact list on your phone that is automatically synced when you install the messenger app unless you opt out of it. So, if you are getting friend suggestions and the person is not in your contacts, then there is a good chance the other person has added your number to their contacts. No need to freak out any longer, right?