Have you ever searched for someone’s Facebook profile to stalk them or for any other reason, and the next thing you know, they magically appeared as a suggested friend a few days later? Coincidence? Creepy? Well, not really!
Many users have experienced this, which makes them wonder two things: how does Facebook suggest friends? And does Facebook suggest friends who have searched for you? Let’s answer both questions and walk you through Facebook’s process and algorithms for suggesting friends.
What Is Suggested Friends on Facebook?
As the name suggests, the ‘Suggested Friends’ feature on Facebook, also known as ‘People You May Know,’ is a way to connect different people based on their mutual friends, networks they are a part of, and similar profile information, among other things.
It sounds like a harmless feature that suggests Facebook users about people in their network, friends of friends, or people with whom they share mutual interests, but is it? Some users think otherwise!
The ‘Suggested Friends’ feature can often be creepy and vague, primarily because of how sometimes random and out-of-the-blue the suggestions are. Imagine a stranger appearing in your list of suggested friends on Facebook, someone you’ve never met, and you share zero mutual friends or interests. This begs one simple question: does Facebook friend suggestion mean they looked at your profile?
Does Facebook Suggest Friends Who Have Searched For You?
Not necessarily. It’s the Facebook algorithms at play, to put it simply. But how does it work, exactly? Let’s go over a few theories.
If you go through the list of suggestions in the ‘People You May Know’ section on your Facebook profile, you might come across familiar names and the number of mutual friends you both share. This is one of the most common ways Facebook suggests friends to its users.
When suggesting friends, the algorithm considers your existing friends’ list as a way to identify mutual connections that are friends of your friends. For instance, say you are friends with person X and person Y on Facebook, and these two people are also friends with person Z.
Facebook algorithms might suggest person Z in your list of suggested friends based on the mutual connection you share with X and Y. This is Facebook’s way of helping its users increase their connections and make more friends by sending them a friend request or a Direct Message.
Simultaneous Viewing of Profile
Another way that Facebook suggests friends is if both people view each other’s profiles. For example, your search for the profile of an old friend, acquaintance, or colleague from school, college, or work. Say, you find the right profile and stalk a little just to see what they do and where they are. Go through their photos or the ‘about’ section, but don’t send a friend request.
Similarly, coincidentally, the person also does the same – they click your profile and explore for a bit, but they don’t add you. Facebook’s algorithm will take note of both these instances and suggest either of you to the other person’s suggested friends list.
Excessive Profile Searches or Views
If you search for someone on Facebook, will you be a suggested friend? That isn’t likely to happen if you do it once out of curiosity. But, if you view or search for someone’s profile excessively, Facebook might just end up suggesting you a friend to the other person!
Viewing someone’s profile doesn’t mean you will end up as a suggested friend or vice versa. But, if you do it multiple times, Facebook algorithms might learn the information and establish a link or connection between both accounts.
Another theory to answer the question: does friend suggestion mean someone looked at your profile on Facebook if the person has your contact information saved?
For instance, you meet an acquaintance at a party and exchange phone numbers. If you have uploaded your contacts to Facebook or Messenger, the algorithm will scan your contact list, determine new connections, find the new contact, and add the other person to your list of suggested friends.
Most of our Facebook profiles include personal information like our school, college, university, workplace, city, country, etc. Another way Facebook suggests friends is by using this data and finding people with similar information.
It could be an old friend from school, a colleague from your former workplace, or someone who lived in the same city and went to your college, too. This simply concerns similar or mutual information shared by two people, based on which Facebook suggests friends and people you may know.
Shared or Common Interests
Often, Facebook uses information from third-party apps and websites when making suggestions for new friends to a Facebook user. This information mainly concerns specific hobbies, pages you like, groups you join, posts you interact with, or apps you connect with on Facebook.
For example, if you are big on traveling and have joined multiple travel groups, frequently like travel-related posts, and engage with other travel enthusiasts on discussion forums, Facebook will analyze this activity, gauge your interests, and suggest other travel aficionados as potential friends.
How to Stop Facebook from Suggesting Friends?
Facebook may be among the most popular social media platforms with many economic opportunities, but things can still annoy some users. Some Facebook users find the ‘Suggested Friends’ feature annoying and even spooky in some cases, especially when it suggests someone whose profile you visited for merely a few seconds.
If you are one of those, lucky for you, there are a few ways to stop Facebook from suggesting friends.
Disable Friend Suggestion Notifications
Don’t like how Facebook suggests friends? Simply turn off the notifications for it, and that’s about it.
When using Facebook on the Mobile app, go to Menu > Settings & Privacy > Settings > Notifications > People You May Know. Toggle off ‘Allow notifications on Facebook,’ and you are done.
If using Facebook on Web Browser, click the small icon of your profile picture on the page’s top-right corner. Go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Notifications > People you may know and disable notifications from Facebook.
Change Your Privacy Settings
Suppose disabling friend suggestion notifications isn’t enough for you, and you wish for Facebook to stop suggesting you as a friend to other users. In that case, you can do that by adjusting your privacy settings.
Go to Settings & Privacy > Privacy shortcuts > See more privacy settings > Audience and visibility > How people can find and contact you.
Here, you will see a list of options that include the following:
- Who can send you friend requests?
- Who can see your friends list?
- Who can look you up using the email address you provided?
- Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?
- Do you want search engines outside Facebook to link to your profile?
Click each option one by one and choose your desired privacy setting.
Temporarily Hide ‘People You May Know from Facebook News Feed
While you can’t permanently remove the ‘People you may know’ section on Facebook, you can temporarily hide it from your Facebook News Feed. Here’s what you need to do:
- Click the three-dotted icon next to the ‘People you may know’ feature.
- Click ‘Hide people you may know.’
Doing this will remove the feature from plain sight, but know that you might still see it in other places on Facebook.
Clear Your Search History
We know that Facebook uses user search history, among other things, when suggesting friends. It takes note of the profiles you search and visit, so ideally, you should always clear your search history to limit its chances of using the search data to suggest friends.
Can I see who looked at my profile on Facebook?
No, you cannot. Facebook does allow its users to track who views or looks at their profile.
How does Facebook suggest friends?
Facebook suggests friends through its unique algorithm, which tracks every user’s activity, personal information, shared or common interests between them and others, contact information, and other such data.
If you search for someone on Facebook, will you be a suggested friend?
Highly unlikely, unless you view their profile excessively, then the Facebook algorithm might make your profile show up as a suggested friend in that person’s list.
We hope we’ve answered the question does Facebook suggest friends who have searched for you and all other similar concerns that make people wonder about Facebook’s algorithms for suggesting friends?
It’s safe to assume that just because you view someone’s Facebook profile or they look at yours, it doesn’t mean you will start appearing in each other’s list of suggested friends or people you may know. Even if that does happen, it’s a mere coincidence and shows that Facebook has probably picked up on account activity and other factors to suggest that person as a potential friend.
Moreover, Facebook’s algorithms are ever-changing, and you can’t tell if searching for someone will make them appear as a suggested friend or vice versa.