ocial media has become such a huge part of our everyday lives that we often don't think about its effect on us. The number of online "friends" we have seems to grow more and more every day, and often, we hit that "accept" button without so much as a second thought. The "People You May Know" feature on Facebook sends us recommendations for people we almost always recognize.
But have you ever sat back and considered how it is that Facebook finds these people for us? One woman's experience with this seemingly innocuous feature might have you seeing social media in a totally different light.
This is Kashmir Hill, a senior reporter for Gizmodo Media Group.
Her recent experience with a Facebook friend recommendation gave her a totally different view of the websites we use constantly throughout the day.
Hill wrote a piece for Gizmodo discussing her strange experience.
She started out the piece by commenting on one creepily accurate Facebook feature.
“The People You May Know feature is notorious for its uncanny ability to recognize who you associate with in real life. It has mystified and disconcerted Facebook users by showing them an old boss, a one-night-stand, or someone they just ran into on the street,” said Hill.
Although Facebook gives her several friend recommendations every day, one recent suggestion seemed to stand out from the rest.
A woman named Rebecca Porter.
Porter is an older woman who lives in Ohio and has no friends in common with Hill.
Although Hill didn’t recognize her, she did find something familiar about her last name.
“My biological grandfather is a man I’ve never met, with the last name Porter, who abandoned my father when he was a baby. My father was adopted by a man whose last name was Hill, and he didn’t find out about his biological father until adulthood,” said Hill.
Since the Porter family lived in Idaho, Hill thought the woman might have some connection to her father's biological family.
“Growing up half a country away, in Florida, I’d known these blood relatives were out there, but there was no reason to think I would ever meet them,” she said.