[Air-L] How does Facebook find friends?

Anders Fagerjord anders.fagerjord at media.uio.no
Mon Sep 27 04:12:54 PDT 2010

Thanks for all the responses.

I think the solution this time is what many of you already suggested: I've checked, and my stepson's grandfather couldn't rule out that he had allowed Facebook to scan his e-mail. (His mother had NOT allowed it, and the granduncle doesn't know my stepson's e-mail address). So Facebook had probably "set aside" an account for this e-mail-address, just waiting for its owner to register.

Some have also suggested FB used other profile data, but my stepson hadn't added anything but his birthday. Of course, if he had, the book would've used it. I tried setting up a new account for myself as an experiment, adding only my high school and grad year. No points for guessing who Facebook suggested as my friends.

(Maybe we should collect the results of such experments? Has anyone done a thorough series of tests?)

Yohanan Ouaknine suggested FB uses search data, which also seems likely, but in my stepson's case, the suggestions appeared before he had done anything.

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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