Briana Hansen
June 28, 2016 1:13 pm
Impassion Afghanistan/Flickr Creative Commons

Facebook knows a lot about you. And not just because you constantly share your latest personality test findings or because your profile shows signs of a good relationship. It is constantly tracking all sorts of information you tacitly give it permission to track every time you click that “Yes, I have read this and agree to the terms and conditions” button (just to get on with the update and back to checking your secret messages).

Unless you’ve gone in and specifically turned “off” your location services, there’s a good chance Facebook is also gathering data about where you go and using it to suggest people near you as “people you might know.” Aka why you suddenly get a bunch of “people you may know” pop-ups when you start a new job and somehow ALL your new coworkers are listed. A recent article from Fusion posted that the location service was very likely being used to help suggest new friends. Lots of people started realizing that made sense based on who was showing up in that suggestion box.

Facebook

But interestingly, after a bunch of negative feedback towards Facebook (for basically using a service similar to what the NSA uses to gather without ever getting explicit consent from their users), a representative of the company contacted the reporter to set the story straight. They said that, while they did test out a geo-tracking service for a hot minute, they said that they only use mutual friends, your city, and a bunch of other already existing information to guess who you may know. And we also know that they use location services to help advertisers target specific demographics. Plus, they admit that there are a lot of “other factors” that go into how they suggest friends, but have yet to disclose those specifics.

No matter what the case, we have to admit that Facebook can be eerily accurate about knowing you’ve met people you’ve only interacted with in person. But that could just be an accurate guess based on the fact that if you have a ton of people in common in and live in the same city (and frequently “check in” at the same places), you are likely to cross paths at some point.

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