Have you ever thought and wondered about why the stranger you ran into pops up on your Facebook’s screen as a friend suggestion?
Well, actually Facebook Friend Suggestion works in a way that may be considered invasive and creepy by most people, especially since the service is ill-framed for tracking the user’s data and location, which the advertisers can then target.
As for the location tracking, it seems to e the primary source of Facebook friend suggestions, which is previously as “People You May Know” among the other common factors like the phone contacts, mutual friends, and your friend’s list on other social network apps.
How do you get a friend’s suggestion on Facebook?
A couple of days ago, I came across a fascinating case where a man got robbed, and then the person who stole his smartphone, along with his wallet, which had the personal information of that man, appeared in the man’s Facebook feed under the “suggested friends” section.
The culprit is currently sitting in jail which is excellent news, but now this sparked a question in my mind that isn’t all of that strange? This led me to do some of the research with my colleagues who is an expert in cybersecurity.
After a couple of days of investigation with our colleagues, these are the two main possible scenarios which made the most sense, these are:
- First of all, Facebook was tracking their location ok, this is not just a myth, they have previously admitted on doing that. But in this fussy case, it was showing a stranger that a man had crossed paths with.
- Secondly, the robber looked the man upon his “Facebook people search.” You can call that dumb or curious, but mugging the man in the first place was never a good idea, to be honest. Well then, guilty as charged, we have all been involved in Facebook stalking before.
Furthermore, Facebook is also so notorious for suggesting the users who have no mutual friends, no common interests, nor they have shared the same physical space, which then makes me think that the Facebook app could be using the mass surveillance amongst all the other technologies out there which are tracking every movement of its users.
Colin Ma, who is the Director of Engineering at Finli studied Facebook’s Friend Suggestion algorithms for 6 months in a lab at his university and this is what he has to say:
“It is not a coincidence that the man who robbed the gentleman showed up – one thing which Facebook uses is geolocation to suggest the matches.
Since they were right next to each other for a certain amount of time, ad it was just the two, the algorithm guesses which they had some sort of relationship, and thus prompted that they are friends.”
How to Turn Off Friend Suggestions on Facebook?
- Firstly, launch the Facebook App.
- Go to ‘Settings’
- Tap on the Notifications.
- Now Turn Off the Notifications which you want to avoid.
How to Turn Off Location on Facebook?
- Launch the Facebook App.
- Then go to “Settings”
- Now Scroll down to find ‘Privacy’
- Then, tap on Location services and switch off ‘Location Tracking.’
Pro Tip Number 1
You can choose to allow or to disallow Facebook to track your location even when you are not using the Facebook app, with the ‘Background Location’ option.
Given Facebook’s recent scandals, I would really recommend you to keep it turned off.
Does the Facebook track its users even when they have location tracking disabled?
Unluckily, this seems to be the truth. Facebook has recently admitted to tracking users even when they have their location tracking disabled.
How they do that?
Well, they use an approximating mechanism which is based on information that is shared and activities performed on Facebook’s services. Furthermore, security Boulevard reported that shady tracking firms are selling your GPS location history. Read more: How to Find a Book Using a Vague Description?
Pro Tip Number 2
You can parody your location and then let them think that you are sitting at the other end of the world. Check your IP, when you have chosen a location of your choice, you will observe that your IP has changed.