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Facebook Suggesting People You May Know

Facebook’s feature of suggesting friends or people you may know has an updated edition that may be the key to “breaking the ice.”  Not only will Facebook suggest mutual friends, but also people you may frequently see, whether it’s at work, a cafe, or the gym, etc.  Now you can at least find out their name, and this may be the solution to meeting those people you see often but never get the chance to introduce yourself to- especially if you find them attractive.  The way Facebook accomplishes this is by keeping track of the people who are using the same Wi-Fi network. Just because you go to a cafe doesn’t mean Facebook will suggest everyone at the cafe as your friend, but its algorithm also takes into account the frequency that both devices are on the same network at the time, as well as the distance between based on signal strength.

 

I find that this is rather fascinating and clever since almost everyone uses the internet nowadays, so tracking someone’s device is tracking their location, and potentially their encounters.  It is even more beneficial to the older generation who is not as familiar with Facebook and has trouble adding newly made friends as a friend on Facebook. On the other hand, it is possible to get random people you do not know and never intended to meet and some question how Facebook keeping track of people’s location is an invasion of their privacy.  

 

This expresses the same exact problem described in lecture with respect to how difficult it is to search the web with just page ranking.  Just as how it is very limiting to provide a website to certain keywords provided, it is also difficult to suggest which people the Facebook user would know based on which Wi-Fi networks he or she has been on.  The search engine does not know what the user really wants to search up and Facebook does not know who the user actually knows. It is a question of how well the machine or computer can guess human’s intent and thinking, and the internet is helping machines do just that.

 

Link: http://www.whatafuture.com/facebook-friend-suggestion-algorithm/

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