Facebook Rolls Out “In-Your-Face” Friend Recommendations

By February 6, 2012

At 12am EST on Monday February 6th, Facebook rolled out a new drop down notification window above the News Feed. The new close-able recommendation window, which takes up a large portion of space above the News Feed, recommends new friends to users based on the mutual friends they share with one another.

Perhaps this new drop down recommendation engine was built to further the progress of Facebook’s new mission statement: “to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.” If users don’t have many friends they won’t be a part of this open and connected Facebook world, so it makes sense that users with a lower friend count were given a priority in my recommendations.

Facebook is no longer the “place to connect with family and friends,” but instead the platform is transforming itself into Zuckerberg’s vision of radical transparency. In other words: everyone knows everything about everybody. In order to make that happen, all users must be connected to one another in some shape or form. While my recommendations included people who graduated from the my high school, local college students, and even someone random from another state; each recommendation lacked one important detail: relevance.

Up until this point Facebook’s recommendation system has served its purpose. In the context of the Company’s old mission statement, connecting with mutual friends made sense: if you were friends with my friends, there’s was a good chance that we were friends too. At this stage in the Company’s growth this strategy is no longer effective for connecting users to new friends. Instead of connecting users based on mutual friends, perhaps Facebook should be connecting people based on something useful; like a job.