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How Does Facebook Suggest Friends? (Explained)

Girl inside car holding smartphone with Facebook app on screen

 

Facebook is a popular social media platform that allows you to connect with friends and family.

You can also advertise your business by setting up a page on Facebook.

The platform is famous for allowing you to find people and easily make friends by suggesting various individuals.

Here’s everything you need to know about the platform’s algorithm and factors that affect the suggestion of friends.

 

How Does Facebook Suggest Friends?

Homepage of facebook.com

 

The top metric Facebook uses for suggesting friends is if you have a common friend with someone.

It also allows you to add people by recommending them based on your interaction with them, such as in comments on posts.

Another important factor that Facebook’s algorithm considers is your uploaded contacts.

Your Facebook activity, such as account information and location, may also be used for suggesting friends.

The platform recommends friends by showing you a “People you may know” section on your account.

You can see this section when scrolling through the news feed, notification tab, or section on friend requests.

Facebook will show you the profiles of people you can potentially add to your list.

You can learn more about the person by expanding the profile and sending them a request.

The platform’s algorithm considers various factors to recommend people in the suggestion section.

Sometimes this may be accurate, but it can also offer random recommendations at times.

 

Factors That Affect How Facebook Suggests Friends

 Facebook logo printed onto paper

 

Here are the complete details of each factor and how Facebook uses it to help you add more people.

 

1. Common Friends

Facebook web page closeup with notifications icons of new friend swith a tooltip displaying "Friend requests" and actuality too.

 

Common friends are a well-known factor that Facebook has been using for many years to recommend individuals in the “People you may know” section.

The official term the platform uses is “mutual friends.”

If a person is showing up in your recommendation section, they may likely be friends with another person on your friends list.

You can check this by expanding the suggested individual’s profile and viewing the “mutual friends” section on their friends list.

Facebook shows the common friend in the mutual section to help you easily add them.

The primary purpose of this metric is to ensure that you’re getting recommendations to add the people you may actually know.

Mutual friends are one of the top ways school kids find their classmates on Facebook.

There is also no way to turn off this metric and prevent the platform from recommending people using mutual friends.

This factor also goes both ways.

The individuals you may see on your “People you may know” section could also be seeing your account on their profile.

If you don’t want the person to appear on your profile, you can click on the remove button right next to the add friend button.

Removing the individual will alert Facebook not to recommend that person to you again.

 

2. Your Facebook Activity

using phone

 

Your activity on the platform is another metric that the algorithm uses to recommend friends.

Remember, the network considers various things under the activity category.

Facebook will use your joined groups to recommend people that you have interacted with.

You may have talked to the person in the comments section of a post.

Facebook may also recommend an individual if you have contacted them on the Messenger app, but they are not on your friend list.

The platform will encourage you to add the person.

Another thing that comes in the activity category is the tagged posts.

Someone may tag you in a post they have uploaded on their profile.

The platform will consider that the person who tagged you may know you and vice versa.

Therefore, it is likely to recommend the individual in your “People you may know” section.

The comments you’ve been tagged in may also affect Facebook’s decision to recommend a friend to you.

If a person tags you in a comment, but you are not friends with them, the individual may show up in the suggestions.

Sometimes Facebook may also encourage you to add the person by sending an individual notification.

This is another metric that you cannot control or prevent Facebook from using to suggest friends.

 

3. Uploaded Contacts

Man hand phone with contact icons in screen

 

The contacts you have uploaded on your Facebook account or Messenger app are a significantly important factor for friend suggestions.

This is because the platform can easily ensure that you know the person they are recommending.

There may be some loopholes because not every individual in your contact list will be someone you know.

Facebook often uses uploaded contacts and your previous interaction with them on the platform for suggestions.

They may also consider if you both have ever been tagged in the same posts.

The algorithm is thorough and does not suggest every single person in your contacts.

Instead, it singles out individuals that you are most likely to know by considering other metrics such as mutual friends and common groups.

The platform also shows you that the person is on your contact list.

This is to hint to you that the individual recommendation has not been made randomly.

The top feature of contact suggestions is that Facebook allows you to control the recommendations.

You can avoid uploading your contacts on the social media app and Messenger app to prevent the people from showing up in your recommendations.

Remember, if you connect your contacts to Facebook, the people who have your number may also get a suggestion to add you.

Therefore, if you don’t want your contacts to know you’re on Facebook, you must always keep that setting turned off through the privacy section on the platform.

 

4. Location

Woman hand using smartphone with gps navigator map icon on blur street background

 

Facebook posted once that they use location for recommending friends to people on the platform, but the network later retracted the statement.

Of course, there have been disputing claims about Facebook using location for suggesting friends.

Remember that the platform does not use your live location to suggest friends to you.

Instead, Facebook uses the city and town you have added to your profile’s “About” section to suggest friends.

Therefore, you don’t have to worry about a breach of privacy when seeing recommendations based on location.

The platform will not tell you that the suggestion has been made using the same town or city.

You may also not be able to know the exact reason behind a recommendation.

If you don’t know the person, you can remove the suggestion from your “People you may know” section.

You can also block the person if you don’t want Facebook to suggest the same person again.

Giving the reason that you don’t know the person while blocking can help the platform improve their way of suggesting friends to you.

 

5. People Who Have Viewed Your Profile

Attractive smart young man sitting on a floor in the living room, using mobile phone

 

Facebook has not stated that they use this factor in their algorithm for recommending friends, but according to some users, this is an important metric.

You may have also noticed this if you use your account actively.

The moment you view someone’s profile, you have initiated interaction with them.

The platform considers and may use this to recommend the person in your people you may know.

You are also likely to appear in the suggestions of the individual whose ID you viewed.

If you see someone in your recommendations with no mutual groups, common friends, or appearance in a group or tagged posts, it may mean the person viewed your profile.

The social media network may also use your linked accounts to recommend friends.

Sometimes people you may know on other social networks may appear in the suggested section.

You can avoid linking your account to off-Facebook activity to be safer.

 

How To Improve Facebook’s Friend Suggestions

Facebook social media app logo on log-in, sign-up registration page on mobile app screen on iPhone X

 

You cannot turn off the friend suggestions option permanently on Facebook, but the platform offers you some control over the way it recommends people.

Avoid uploading contacts to prevent people in your contact list from appearing in your recommendations and vice versa.

It is also advisable to remove people that you don’t know from the “People you may know” section for better suggestions.

You can also turn off the option of people adding you as a friend on Facebook to prevent random requests.

Here is everything you can do to improve the way Facebook suggests friends to you.

 

1. Do Not Sync Contacts

This is an effective method to prevent people in your contact list from knowing you’re on Facebook, so you can ensure that the individuals do not view your profile or send you requests.

You can manage the contacts by checking out the “Settings and Privacy” section on Facebook.

 

2. Remove Suggestions

Another effective way to prevent unnecessary suggestions is to remove the recommended person from your “People you may know” section.

It will update the algorithm and prevent Facebook from suggesting the same person again.

It will also discourage the platform from using the same metrics to recommend friends.

This is why removing suggestions is effective for improving the ways Facebook suggests people to you.

 

3. Keep Your Friend List Private

Facebook recommends friends to you based on mutual people.

This is not a secure way to suggest people because some individuals can check your friend list and purposely add one or more of your friends to appear in your “People you may know” section.

This is a common move that scammers or cybercriminals may make to target you.

You can make your account more secure by keeping your friend list private.

This will prevent people from seeing your friends on Facebook, and only mutual friends will appear if the person has any friends in common with you.

 

4. Restrict People From Adding You

One of the best features of Facebook is that it allows you to control who can add you to the platform.

You can select the “Friends of Friends” option if you want only mutual friends to add you.

The platform also allows you to turn off the setting completely.

This means that no one will be able to send you friend requests, but you can still send requests.

This way, you will have complete control over your friend list on Facebook.

 

5. Block People

Another way to improve suggestions is by blocking people because it will prevent Facebook from recommending the same person permanently.

The added benefit of blocking is that your ID will never appear in the suggestions of the person you are blocking.

If you are afraid that Facebook will recommend your profile to the person showing up in your “People you may know” section, you can block them to eliminate this possibility.

 

6. Restrict Who Can Find You on Facebook

Another important setting that many people are not aware of is the “How people can find and contact you” setting.

This includes various factors that you can set to public, friends, or only me option.

You can prevent people from looking you up using your email ID.

You can also prevent people from searching for you on Facebook through contact numbers.

Remember, these individuals may appear in your suggestions if they view your profile.

You can also prevent search engines outside of Facebook from linking you.

This means you can prevent your ID from showing up on Google and other platforms if a person searches for you by name.

These things will restrict the people who view your profile and prevent unnecessary interaction to ensure these individuals are not suggested to you.

 

How To Hide People You May Know On Facebook

Woman browsing social media website on tablet computer at home

 

Facebook does not allow you to turn off friend suggestions completely, but you can change some settings.

The platform allows you to hide this section temporarily if you don’t want to see suggested friends.

You can do this by clicking the three dots on the top right of your “People you may know” section.

The option to hide the section will appear, and you can click on that to remove the suggestions.

The platform also allows you to turn off notifications of friend suggestions, so you will not get an alert whenever Facebook sends you an individual recommendation to add a specific friend.


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