How does Facebook know who I know

Facebook: Suggestions for friends - where do they come from and how do you deactivate them?

If you scroll through your Facebook feed, you will be shown not only posts and advertisements, but also friend suggestions from time to time. Among the “people you may know” there are often plausible suggestions, but sometimes also uncanny representatives who ask how Facebook comes up with this contact suggestion.

We explain to you how Facebook determines these friendship suggestions, how you can prevent individual suggestions or completely switch off the fact that Facebook contacts who are not yet friends are displayed to you. You will not only see the suggestions in your feed, but also on the overview page for your friends.

Facebook: Suggestions for friends - where do they come from?

The list of “people you may know” is made up of various sources. Facebook often finds suitable gaps in your friends list, but it is not uncommon for people to be included that you have never knowingly met. In its FAQ section, Facebook gives various reasons for the composition of the proposals:

  • Be ahead of all Compare lists with friends that have already been added. If there is an overlap in friend lists, there is a high probability that other friends of the relevant contact will be shown. As a rule, it is stated with whom the unknown contact is friends. If the friend in question hides his friend list, the information is not displayed.
  • Also from the Information that you store in your profile, data are determined. Facebook prefers to show you profiles of people who went to the same school or university as you or who stated the same employer.
  • Have you been together with someone who is not yet friends on a Facebook photo tagged, the probability is also high that the contact will be shown to you.
  • Will also be groupsin which you are a member, as well as specified Interests used for the proposals.
  • Did you Contacts from other sources linked to Facebook, friends will also be suggested to you based on this data.
  • Old patents also show that Interactions on Facebook, for example in the context of comment sections, can also lead to a proposal. People who last visited your Facebook profile could also be used to select friends.
  • According to Facebook itself, no location data is used for the suggestions. If your last holiday flirt or your acquaintance from the disco appears in the overview, you may have pressed "Participate" at the same Facebook event.

The list of contacts is updated regularly so that you will most likely see new potential contacts at a later point in time.

Facebook: Deactivate friend suggestions

Often enough, contacts are also listed that you know but do not want to add as friends on Facebook for certain reasons. If this is the case, simply tap on the "Remove“-Button below the suggestion. You will then no longer be suggested this contact in the future. Alternatively, you can block the contact.


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If you want to completely prevent "people you may know" from being displayed, you have to go a little deeper into the settings. To do this, you should control several options at the same time:

  1. On the corresponding overview page you can see whether and which contacts Facebook has already read from other sources, for example your phone book.
  2. Tap here Delete all contactsto clean up the data.

You should then prevent the contacts from being matched. It works like this:

  1. In the Facebook app, tap the three bars in the top right corner.
  2. Open the menu Settings & privacy.
  3. Go to the settings.
  4. Scroll down to the section Media and contacts and open the menu.
  5. Toggle the setting Upload contacts continuously out.

Even if Facebook officially denies using the location for friend suggestions, you play it safe if you deny the social network access to your location. Note that this change affects not only the "People You May Know" feature, but also in other places:

  1. Call the options for Settings & privacy on.
  2. Enter "location" in the search bar at the top.
  3. Switch to the area Location access.
  4. Toggle the option Location services out.
  5. On Android you will be redirected to the general settings of the Facebook app. Here you call the area Permissions and adjust the controller Location on Out. In the iOS settings you will find the selection in the area privacy under Location services. Put the setting on Never.

The next time you see the area with the friend suggestions in your Facebook feed, tap on the three dots above. Here you set that the suggestions will no longer be displayed to you in the future.

We'll also show you how to delete friends on Facebook and how to create friend lists in the social network.