[Air-L] How does Facebook find friends?

Anders Fagerjord anders.fagerjord at media.uio.no
Thu Sep 23 23:14:25 PDT 2010

Dear all,

does anyone understand the Facebook friend suggestions algorithm? 

Last night, my stepson joined Facebook. Immediately, it suggested he be friends with his mother, his grandfather, and his granduncle. 

How could Facebook know they were related? They had no friends in common, and didn't share friends-of-friends either. His last name is common in Norway (and his granduncle has a different name). He didn't enter any phone number or postal address.

He used his gmail account when he joined Facebook, but did not allow the book to search his e-mail contacts (and he doesn't know his uncle's e-mail address).

Does anyone understand how Facebook pulls this trick?


Anders Fagerjord, dr.art.
Associate professor, Head of Studies

Department of Media and Communication,
University of Oslo
P.O. Box 1093 Blindern
N-0317 OSLO

http://www.media.uio.no   http://fagerjord.no

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