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When someone creates a new Facebook account, they see a list of suggested friends. It's surprisingly accurate sometimes. How does Facebook obtain this data?

Some guesses I've thought of so far:

  • People that have searched for the email address used for this account
  • People who have sent Facebook invitations to the email address used for this account
  • People connected to accounts that were accessed from the computer used to create this account

Any others?

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I think your second point is very probable. Other users might have also connected their email address book in which the email address / name for this account features. – w3dk Jan 14 '14 at 19:07

As part of the Facebook sign up process, they have an option to import your email address book, in order to find your friends more easily. And on the mobile app, it does this for your contacts phone numbers that are stored in the phone as well.

They therefore have a database of millions of peoples connections. If you are in one of those people's address book, they will show up in the friends you may know or suggested friends section.

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