People You May Know on Facebook: How Does It Work?


Are some strangers popping up on your feed?

Is the app suggesting other people you met once in your entire life?

The People You May Know on Facebook app feature is one of the most controversial Facebook features

For some people it’s a wrong invasion of privacy, for others, it acts as a great way to increase their networks.

But, how does it work?

Does it take a look at your browser search history or imported contacts?

Does it collect other data from other Android apps?

You will learn:

  • What does the feature “People You May Know” mean on Facebook?
  • What determines friends you might know?
  • How to disable the “People You May Know” feature on Facebook?

What Does The Feature “People You May Know” Mean on Facebook?

Facebook’s “People You May Know” refers to that.

People that you may actually know in person or online that you aren’t friends with.

To put it simply, they are friend suggestions you can turn off if you want to.

They are people to who you haven’t sent a friend request and vice versa.

But for whatever reason, you might share some things in common.

Since Facebook’s purpose is to connect with friends, the suggestions work as constant reminders to update your friend list.

Most users don’t mind the feature, however, some others, find it creepy.

“Friends You May Know often”, appear as push notifications and are shown in your Facebook feed.

Note: Many people said that if you are actively searching for someone’s profile information, you’ll appear in their PYMK list. That’s not a feature.

Either way, if you are looking at other people’s profiles a bit too much, why don’t talk to them? Poke them on Facebook.

What Determines the People You May Know on the Facebook site?

Facebook’s “People You May Know” (or PYMK for short) option uses your personal information to determine possible close connections.

If both you and another person share the same thing in common, they’ll appear as suggested people.

These could be:

  • You have mutual friends
  • You both are members of the same FB group and perhaps even commented under the same posts or exchanged messages
  • You liked the same Facebook pages
  • Places visited or events you both attended
  • You were tagged in the same photo

Unlike friend requests, there is no easy way of knowing if the people on PYMK have seen your profile or contact information.

And any Facebook user can appear on your suggestions based on those factors.

Being Members of the same Facebook Group

Facebook will actively suggest people that hang out in the same group that you are.

And users of the group that visited your profile data have a higher chance to appear.

Mutual Friends on The Facebook App

Facebook sees if you and another account have interacted in any way.

Usually, with friends in common.

This is the most common reason you see other users you don’t know in real life.

Our best guess is that the system gives a high probability that you are friends in the real world but just haven’t connected yet.

Places You Marked on Facebook

Things like if you both work in the same place, went to the same school, or share any other spaces in the real world.

If you have used user data before, you can expect to see some weird friend suggestions.

Sync Contacts

By default, Facebook will look at your contact list and suggest any saved phone contacts.

That includes email contacts, phone contacts, and followers on other third-party apps.

Pro Tip: From the privacy menu, you can also see other Facebook actions you’ve done. Like, block and unfollow accounts. To unfollow someone on Facebook, check our guide on the subject.

How to Disable The People You May Know Feature on Facebook?

If you simply disable notifications from the settings, you won’t have to see more unknown Facebook users.

You can disable the feature from the Notifications menu.

The process is the same for the phone and desktop versions of Facebook.

Disable the Facebook People you may know feature on any desktop computer by doing:

  • Step 1: Open FB on your browser.
  • Step 2: Go to Facebook settings by clicking on the arrow in the top right corner.
  • Step 3: Click on Privacy and Settings. Next select Settings to go to a new settings page.
  • Step 4: Go to the notifications menu, it’s to the left.
  • Step 5: Scroll until you see the “People You May Know Option”
  • Step 6: Toggle the main switch and all other options off so you won’t see any more suggestions.

Again, the process of disabling PYMK for Facebook’s iOS and Android version it’s the same as for the desktop version.

The only difference comes in Step 2. The menu is not on the top right corner, it’s on the bottom right corner.

After that, just access the notifications preferences and do the same.

That’s how you completely disable suggestions!

And the only thing you need to do to revert the process is to follow it again.

People You May Know FAQ

What Is The Difference Between a Friend Suggestion and People You May Know on Facebook?

There is no difference between - Friend Suggestions and People You May Know are the same things.

Friend suggestions show in the app as notifications, while the latter will appear on your news feed.

How To Disable People You May Know From Your News Feed?

Simply hide them when they appear. You can directly turn them on in your privacy settings.

When you do, they won’t appear on your Facebook account for a while.

About the author

Karen is a senior technical writer and copywriter here at GrowFollowing. Her area of expertize are social media apps and new media.