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Social Media Order of Friends Analytics: Innocent or Potentially Monitoring?


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Hey everyone,

I'm just posting this for general advice and to see what everyone's take is on cyber-stalking/monitoring/social media friends order. Most of us are aware it exists to some degree, but is it possible for people we rarely-to-never interact with on social media to appear as our top online friends? I realise many social media platforms never disclose the analytics of who has viewed our profiles, but has anyone ever felt something suspicious was going on regarding the order of online friends?

For instance, a person appears as the first online friend on the messaging app, but, even though they're on your friends list, you've never spoken to that person. When the people you do interact with appear online the first person still remains as the first online friend. Could it be they are viewing our profiles? This appears to happen even when the same person hasn't logged in for a while. What's more strange is the people this person hangs out with in real life all start to appear as top online friends (I am aware of this happening to a number of friends). The owner of the profile may have spoken the odd word to some of them but there's usually no interaction. 

I know online safety should be paramount, but often, in many cases, no bullying has taken place. It's often only brought to light when the profile owner notices a pattern of their closer friends' presence being sacrificed for lesser-known friends. Personally, my social media is set to the highest privacy but that doesn't prevent certain lesser-known friends appearing on my radar. Other people have experienced a similar pattern. The only alleged connection I can personally make is I did have a close bond with one in particular, but even then their friends never appeared as top friends. It is only since we've drifted apart that this patterned has emerged. 

Then there are the suggested friends prompts. Has anyone ever felt many of those suggestions may be regular viewers to our profiles, especially with them being mutual friends with the ones appearing as our prioritised online friends?

just to add: I'm not making reference to the order of people in the side-chat bars, as that is self-explanatory. 

 

What are your thoughts on this? I've spoken to many people who are becoming increasingly suspicious their order of friends isn't a coincidence. 

 

Thanks for you help 🙂

 

 

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There is really nothing sinister about it. Social media algorithms are focused on generating engagement and interactions. When they are putting those "lesser" contacts on top and in your face, they are trying to engage you into interacting with them and pulling those people into engaging more with the platform. In fact, they don't need to put your regular contacts on top precisely because you all are engaging anyway. 

The algorithms don't actually know, care, or track who your actual friends are and are looking strictly at how to keep people engaging in the app, content, communication and how to rope more people into that. It's a numbers game and not personal to you. Meaning that while you may ignore those suggestions, some people will engage and so it works for the social media platform. Social media lives and dies on engagement and they go to great lengths to entice people into using them and staying active.

 

 

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The best thing you can do is carefully review ALL your social media and completely reset ALL your privacy settings. That means limit who can see your content or message you. 

Be careful about the content you post and save private things for one-on-one interaction. 

You control social media, it doesn't control you.

If you keep browsing others' content it get registered into their datamining algorithms and will come up . Just like "tailored" ads based on your browsing history. Social media is a datamining machine, not an individual.

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I would assume it's what Dancingfool wrote.  Here is why it has zero concern to me:  first, I rarely make my own posts and if I do they are never ever on sensitive subjects and that includes never ever on politics or religion or the like.  Ever.  Same with my comments -my comments may be personal to the poster but I engage in no political discussions or religious discussions.  And I do have some photos on my Facebook profile -mostly very old.  I have almost none of my son.  I post none of me, my child or anyone, ever.  I don't let anyone else do so either.

In fact I've posted one photo I think in the last 10 years and that was from a newspaper article which had a photo of my son and I from behind.  I post no photos of scenes or objects either.  So because of how I use Facebook -to chat privately with my friends, to be part of various groups, to connect with people, to keep up with friends and online friends - in turn it doesn't concern me if I'm being "spied" on in some way and, like Dancingfool, I assume that they're tracking data/algorithms all the time.

My gentle suggestion -if you're that concerned and you scale way back on what you do/share on FAcebook I think, like me, you'll feel a whole lot better.

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Thank you. Yes, I'm very careful about what I post. It's just that now I'm suspecting certain "friends" more than those attempting to become online friends (although suggestions are closely linked to such "friends"). 

 

Thank you for your advice. 🙂

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On 4/9/2021 at 4:10 PM, Astrogirl said:

Thank you. Yes, I'm very careful about what I post. It's just that now I'm suspecting certain "friends" more than those attempting to become online friends (although suggestions are closely linked to such "friends"). 

 

Thank you for your advice. 🙂

'Suspecting' is a pretty strong word. If you don't trust someone's intent, block them and focus on more interesting things.

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2 hours ago, melancholy123 said:

Why dont you dump these people you dont actually ever speak to?  Why keep them in your social media?

I did this.  I "unfriended" everyone who wasn't my actual, real-life friend and everyone who I never interact with (the exception is family members, I kept all of them).

This way I don't have a bunch of noise on my news feed.

BTW, Facebook is so lame anymore.  I almost never see posts from friends but rather ads and posts from pages I've "liked".  I got rid of most of my likes and now I almost exclusively see only posts from the two or three "liked" pages I have left.  And I refuse to get on Instagram.  I already know what I look like, I don't need to take a selfie and post it to fish for compliments.  And I don't need everyone to see my lunch.

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