how does facebook suggest friendsFacebook’s friends suggestion can produce some unlikely chums. Funny anecdotes abound. Several days after being fired, a Chicago woman was asked to friend the man who fired her. Another woman had the woman who stole her husband of 22 years pop up as a new friend. One gentleman was asked to friend his ‘domestic worker,’ which he did,’ only to find out she was complaining daily about the bad working conditions on her Facebook page. While we can find humor in these stories, it does make one wonder, how does Facebook suggest friends?

This was the question recently asked by a woman called Miranda on a chat board. The South American woman was surprised to have the ‘love of her life’ pop up as one of her Facebook suggestions.  She met him on a summer vacation in Southern France.  Unfortunately, when she returned to school in the fall, her great love turned out to be a summer fling. Now here he was on Facebook 10 years later. Was he stalking her? Did he want to see her?  he immediately friended him, and waited, and waited…Only to be jilted once again. He never responded. Her rejection turned to revenge…Against Facebook. How did Facebook get his name? They live on separate continents and have no mutual friends. They had not communicated in 10 years. Facebook must have hacked her e-mail list, she concluded.

We have all been suspicious of Facebook at times. Have you noticed people from your Google Circles popping up as Facebook friend suggestions? Even people without Facebook accounts get Facebook friend suggestions, and some of these ‘friends’ are linked into email accounts and social media.  The Facebook advertising revolution is working for business marketers but is it too intrusive for Facebook users? The maintenance man at an office building you worked at in the 1980s appears as a friend.  A person from an association you contacted last week is suggested as a friend.  Do you feel stalked? The most common response on chat boards to these friend suggestions is ‘creepy.’ A new app is providing an antidote to unwanted Facebook friends by helping you avoid friends you do not like.

Mining Friends From School and Work

After further investigation, we could only find Facebook guilty of aggressive marketing and not of email theft. Here is how Facebook suggests friends. Facebook does not randomly suggest friends. It has a very clever algorithm that does the job. Facebook is a savvy data miner. High school connections are a favorite tool among its young demographic, which is why high school friends often pop up.  You can guard your privacy and not list any high school information on the site but if your sister has listed her high school stats, Facebook’s scrupulous data crawler will make the connection. As many of us have discovered, it is hard to hide from Facebook.

Connecting Friends of Friends

The most obvious source of friend connections is your current friends. Facebook will narrow in on the friends with whom you have the most friends in common. It is more likely that you will have even more common chums between you, and once nudged, you will want to befriend them too. Facebook may connect you to other users through online activities including tagged photos, wall posts, likes, comments and chats.

The friend suggestions can be far flung. If someone in your hiking club sends a tagged photo of a group hike to his friends, Sven from the Swiss Mountaineers club may pop up. Advertisers love these connections among people with shared interests and ‘likes.’ Facebook has to use public information. That is why you will see friend suggestions pop up related to school, work, groups and associations. Online, it tracks your location, interests and likes.

Stalking Facebook Users

Unbeknownst to many, Facebook users are creating many of the Facebook friend suggestions that pop up. When you stalk another Facebook profile, Facebook takes a data snapshot.  Is it possible that Miranda was checking the Facebook page, activity and Likes of her former French love? Facebook will pick up on this interest and suggest him or her as a friend.  Another possibility is that the former lover was stalking Miranda on Facebook. Facebook’s intelligent data crawler, always watching, will suggest a person who has been looking at your profile as a friend.

Using Facebook Friend Suggestions in Marketing

Facebook’s friend suggestion feature is about marketing.  Facebook is creating large markets of consumers with similar interests. When marketing on Facebook, let Facebook suggests friends and grow your target market. Learn the basics of Facebook advertising and how to elicit more friend request and suggestions.

You, in essence, are working for the advertisers as a friend-making Facebook user. If you and your friends Like the same brands online, then having you friend more people with whom you have similar interests will create an even larger market of people with whom you will share product information, special offers and events.  To broaden the market, Facebook also suggests groups and pages. Facebook now suggests friends to move to your acquaintances list. By moving aside people who are peripheral in your Facebook life, advertises can narrow their focus on those friends whose interests are the most closely aligned with yours.

Now that you know the answer to the oft-asked question, how does Facebook suggest friends? use this feature to your advantage.  For example, you want to reconnect with that cute guy you dated in college.  But how do you re-enter his life while still playing hard-to-get?  One way is to stalk him on Facebook.  If you look at his profile and activity, Facebook is likely to suggest him as a friend.  Now you have your in.: I couldn’t believe it when you showed up as a friend suggestion on Facebook.  I haven’t thought about you in years …” Businesses regularly use knowledge of Facebook’s algorithms and data crawlers to coax Facebook to send potential customers their way.

Making friends on Facebook is more than a social game. Facebook’s friends suggestions are part of one of the most successful online marking programs in history. The Great Facebook Advertising Course can teach you the ins and outs of Facebook marketing and how to use Facebook features such as suggesting friends to get more value out of your marketing efforts.

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