There is no doubt that Facebook is in the people business, and that includes collecting as much personal information as they can get on people. Facebook’s “People You May Know” feature uses this personal information to find and suggest social connections between people. However, these friend suggestions are starting to get too personal and weird for some Facebook users.
Now there is one more reason why you shouldn’t share your physical location information with Facebook. Facebook has likely tested and is possibly using GPS location data from users’ cell phones to find people that they may know and recommend them as possible friends and contacts.
At first, some people claimed that Facebook was recommending friends to them that they didn’t know, but may have been around them while out in public. Next, a Facebook representative told Fusion.net that users’ physical location information was one of the things that is used in recommending possible friends to people.
After the Facebook representative acknowledged that people’s location information was being used to recommend friends to them, there was a vocal outcry from Facebook users.
After the negative public outcry over Facebook’s use of location data in friend recommendations, the company has now stated publicly that they are not using user’s physical locations, such as smart phone locations or location information posted on profiles to recommend “people you may know.” According to the social media company, they use mutual friends, similar networks, jobs, shared contacts and schools attended to recommend friends to their users.
Some tech bloggers have recently accused Facebook of stalking its users to collect personal information and location data to power their “people you may know” suggestions. In fact, some users have reported that Facebook has recommended people from their distant past as possible friends, including ex boyfriends and girlfriends that have no connection to the person now.
The idea has been floated that Facebook may even be suggesting friends based on who is trying to find you through Facebook’s people search tool. These people could be anyone from long-lost friends and family to stalkers.
Facebook is going so deep into people’s past personal lives that their “People You May Know” suggestions are often reminding users about old relationships that they would rather forget. Numerous people have noticed that Facebook is making a lot of strange and even scary friend suggestions based on personal relationships and associations from long ago.
Some users are saying that Facebook’s “people you may know” suggestions have become too personal and downright scary, like a stalker. It will be interesting to see if people continue to report strange or worrisome friend suggestions from Facebook going forward.