Best of ’09: Facebook’s creepy friend suggestions

Best blogs of 2009 From our 2009 best-of the IPG Lab blog series:

Recently, I began to notice that Facebook’s friend suggestions were increasingly accurate, and increasingly far-fetched.

At first, it seemed innocent enough. My husband’s aunt appeared on my “Suggestions/Add as a Friend” sidebar. While I like Patty and was happy to friend her, I thought it was strange given 1) I’ve never uploaded my email list to Facebook, or given it permission to do so, 2) I’m not connected to any of my husband’s family or friends on any social network, and my husband has refused to join any social network except for one, and there he uses a fake identity and is not connected to anyone remotely connected to his aunt 3) My privacy settings are tight and in theory, I can’t be found if you’re not my friend.

At first I thought, well, we do share the same last name, so I figured perhaps Facebook was suggesting her for that reason. Over the next few days though, I began to mull this logic. Facebook had never suggested a friend based on last name before, and how would Facebook know which person with that last name to suggest? And what about people with the last name “Smith” – that wouldn’t be very effective.

Then, it happened again. This time, Facebook suggested my mother’s former boss. Read more.