A thread that started on Reddit this week has revealed some seriously creepy shit happening to many Facebook users.
People have shared examples of Facebook suggesting they ‘friend’ people they’ve been in the same geographical location as, but otherwise have no connection to.
Take this scary AF anecdote from one Reddit user:
"My Facebook app on my iPhone suggested I friend a person who turned out to be the receptionist at my psychiatrist's office, where I had only been once or twice.
I hadn't posted from or (god forbid) checked in at the office. I had only checked/read the news feed while waiting.”
And this WTF situation from another:
"I'm a police officer and colleagues often get friend suggestions of criminals they have arrested since they've been close to each other."
Holy shit. Is Facebook basically Tinder now? And can you imagine all the potentially awkward situations that could arise – like times that you want to stay anonymous, like at an AA meeting? Or what about if you don’t want everyone on the bus to know who you are just by looking through their ‘suggested friends’ list?
WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL?
A reporter at Fusion put the examples to Facebook HQ and asked them if the website uses a person’s location to suggest friends. At first, the spokesperson said it is one of the factors they use, but explained:
“Location information by itself doesn’t indicate that two people might be friends. That’s why location is only one of the factors we use to suggest people you may know.”
But a few days later, after Fusion published a story voicing concerns about the link between location tracking and friend suggestion, Facebook gave a new statement saying that geographical location is not a factor who is suggested to you.
"We’re not using location data, such as device location and location information you add to your profile, to suggest people you may know. We may show you people based on mutual friends, work and education information, networks you are part of, contacts you’ve imported and other factors."
So, the official word is, they’re not. But with so much anecdotal evidence to the contrary, it’s worth double-checking and updating your Facebook privacy settings.