With 2.96 billion monthly active users, Facebook has come a long way. While I appreciate how this platform keeps everyone connected, I have always wondered what determines “People You May Know” on Facebook. It’s almost creepy, isn’t it?
Facebook claims that shared affiliations like mutual friends or educational institutions drive these suggestions. However, the presence of unfamiliar individuals raises questions.
Speculation, on the other hand, suggests that people who look up your profile are the ones who are suggested to you by Facebook. If that were true, our names would pop up in countless People You May Know lists.
Based on my research, Facebook suggests people based on mutual friends, shared work or education history, membership in the same groups, uploaded contacts, and a few other factors.
Let’s delve deeper into how this feature works.
What Determines People You May Know on Facebook?
If you look at the People You May Know section on your Facebook profile, you will see many familiar names and probably people you share mutual friends with.
However, you will also find names of people you don’t know, which is ironic given what this Facebook feature is called.
Here’s what determines People You May Know on Facebook.
Having Friends in Common
This is one of the most common reasons behind Facebook friend suggestions. Most of the people you will see in your People You May Know section are friends of friends. They appear in your list of suggested friends because you have friends in common.
This is one way that Facebook’s People You May Know algorithm picks up on people you share mutual friends with and might want to add as a friend on Facebook.
Shared Work or Education History
If you and someone from your People You May Know suggestions have mentioned the same education or work information on your Facebook profiles, they will most likely be suggested as friends.
For instance, if you and the person have listed place ‘X’ as your current workplace, Facebook will suggest you add them to your friend list as you share a common work organization, even if you’ve never spoken to that person in real life.
The same applies to common education information. Don’t be surprised if you wake up to an old acquaintance appearing on your suggested friends list on Facebook.
It picked on the fact that you both attended the same college or school and probably shared a few mutual friends.
Same Facebook Groups
Most of us are a part of numerous Facebook groups, ranging from food groups to travel groups to shopping groups. Have you ever noticed a random person from one of your groups appear in People You May Know?
As strange as that may seem, it’s only because you both are in the same Facebook group(s), and chances are you’ve also interacted with them on group threads at some point.
Contacts You Upload
Facebook also makes use of contact information to suggest friends you may know. For instance, you exchange contact information with a person at a business fair. A few days later, you see the same person suggested as someone you may know.
It’s primarily because you have uploaded your contacts to Messenger or Facebook. And, when the Facebook algorithm notices a new contact in your list, it creates a new connection and suggests them in the People You May Know list.
Common Interests, Skills, or Hobbies
If you share common interests, hobbies, or skills with another person on Facebook, be it a friend of a friend or even someone you don’t know, you are likely to find them in your profile’s People You May Know section.
Facebook deduces this information based on common or similar pages you’ve liked, mutual groups you are a part of, or interests you have in common.
For instance, if you are an avid reader and have joined multiple books or reading-related groups where you interact with other reading enthusiasts, Facebook will use that mutual or shared interest to suggest those people as potential friends.
Being Tagged in the Same Posts/Photos
Another explanation for suggestions for People You May Know on Facebook is if you and the other person are tagged in the same photos or posts.
A one-time tag doesn’t matter, but if you’ve been tagged multiple times in the same posts, the Facebook algorithm will automatically assume you know each other and suggest you add the person as a friend on Facebook.
Manage Information Used for People You May Know
If you don’t like how Facebook uses your information for People You May Know, there are ways to manage and control what information this feature uses.
Here’s how you can do that:
Change Your Privacy Settings on the App
1. Click your profile picture with the three-dot icon in your screen’s bottom right corner.
2. Go to Settings & Privacy and click Settings.
3. Select “How people can find and contact you” under Audience & Visibility.
4. The screen will display a pop-up menu with these options:
5. Adjust the privacy settings according to your requirements. Click on each option and choose the correct privacy setting.
Change Your Privacy Settings on the Website
1. Click your profile picture in the top right corner of the screen.
2. Select Settings & Privacy from the menu and tap Settings.
3. Click Privacy from the vertical menu on the left.
4. Scroll down to see the option “How people find and contact you.”
5. You will see the same options here.
6. Edit the settings for each option according to your requirements.
By following these quick steps, you can easily control what data this feature uses.
Now that we understand what determines People You May Know on Facebook, it is safe to say that it is certainly not a creepy feature. It may seem bizarre, especially when people you haven’t met in real or spoken to appear in the list of suggested friends. But it’s just the algorithms at play.
The Facebook algorithm suggests people you may know based on factors like shared groups, interests, skills, mutual friends, being tagged in the same Facebook posts, and more. Overall, it helps you connect with potential friends who share your interests and connections on Facebook.
As Bill Gates famously remarked, “The Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow.” With this in mind, we can see how this feature helps us connect to people from all corners of the world.
I hope I’ve responded to all your queries!
Read More: Does Messenger Show Active When On Facebook
Cyble Rizwan is a Senior Content Writer at SocialSharings. With more than 1.5 years of dedicated experience in copywriting and SEO, Cyble is deeply passionate about the digital world and follows the industry closely to stay on top of trends in digital marketing. Cyble is pursuing a degree in Digital Business and has written for several major brands such as Tenorshare, DOBA, and more.