Excellent investigation by Kashmir Hill, writing for Gizmodo, on Facebook’s creepy “People You May Know” system:
In the months I’ve been writing about PYMK, as Facebook calls it, I’ve heard more than a hundred bewildering anecdotes:
- A man who years ago donated sperm to a couple, secretly, so they could have a child — only to have Facebook recommend the child as a person he should know. He still knows the couple but is not friends with them on Facebook.
- A social worker whose client called her by her nickname on their second visit, because she’d shown up in his People You May Know, despite their not having exchanged contact information.
- A woman whose father left her family when she was six years old — and saw his then-mistress suggested to her as a Facebook friend 40 years later.
- An attorney who wrote: “I deleted Facebook after it recommended as PYMK a man who was defense counsel on one of my cases. We had only communicated through my work email, which is not connected to my Facebook, which convinced me Facebook was scanning my work email.”
Even if, like me, you’ve never even signed up for Facebook, they almost certainly have a detailed profile of you.