Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Regarding the Six Friends at the Top of Your Timeline

11/12/2013 UPDATE:  If you are looking for information on the box of nine friends on the new Timeline, please see this post.

(I almost wrote this in the comments of the previous post and then thought, hell, I might as well just make this its own entry.)

There was an interesting little rumor going around the internet a while back that the twenty friends listed on the side of your (pre-Timeline) Facebook profile were the twenty people who had most recently looked at your page.

Facebook quickly asserted that this wasn't true, and that the friends listed were chosen via an algorithm that reflected which friends you most often interacted with.  This made sense to most people, although there seemed to be a public consensus that Facebook threw in a few randoms just for the hell of it, to throw everyone off.

And then Timeline happened, and things got a bit more complicated...

Zuck smirks at the thought of all the minutes I've wasted thinking about this.
Timeline replaced the list of twenty with three separate views of your friends:  a small box of six at the top, a larger box of six on the upper right of your wall, and a full non-alphabetized list that's available on a screen separate from your profile.  Though I have a few (hazy) thoughts on the latter two, we're only going to focus on those friends at the top today.

At first glance, it may seem as if these six friends are random.  If you refresh your page, you will get a different six.  But keep refreshing and you'll notice that some of the same people show up time and time again.  In fact, if you were to make a list, you would find that once you reached somewhere in the vicinity of twenty-five, you would no longer be seeing any new people.  (It may be twenty-four for you, or twenty-six, but generally, twenty-five seems to be the number.)

These twenty-five are (allegedly) your current "top friends" as ranked by Facebook.  This list can and does change (quite a bit) and what's interesting about it is that you are the only person who can see it.  When someone else goes to your profile, what they see in that box is mutual friends (and a truly random sampling of other friends, should you share fewer than six mutual friends).

So you have these twenty-five friends, and you're going through them and yeah, okay, there are some people on there that you stalk relentlessly, so it makes sense they show up, and sure enough there are some good friends whom you always leave comments or "likes" for, and then WHAT THE HALE.  There are also random people whose profiles you never look at, whom you never talk to, and whom you had forgotten existed, actually, until they showed up on this list.  What's up with THAT?

It's easy enough to assume that the wild cards are the people who stalk you (why else would they be showing up?).  But before you freak out thinking about all those people you, yourself, stalk who are going to realize what you're up to, let me explain why this theory is nowhere near soundproof.  I call it the Kara Paradox.

Kara, my BFF, has been on my top twenty-five list for as long as I've had Timeline.  I very, very rarely go to Kara's profile and Kara, who died sixteen months ago, obviously isn't looking at my profile, nor are we leaving each other comments or ever, in any way, interacting on Facebook...so why is she on my list?

Random refresh (with a few identities removed).
No, really.  Why the hell is Kara on my list?

Well, it turns out that you can manipulate your top friends list without realizing it.  If you've listed anyone under the "Close Friends" category, they will automatically be slotted into your top friends list.  Conversely, anyone whom you list as an "Acquaintance" will never show up on your top friends list.  I had listed Kara under my "Close Friends."

Mystery solved.

Or was it?

Interested to see what would changes it would elicit, I emptied out my "Close Friends" and "Acquaintances" lists.  And guess what happened to my list of twenty-five?

A hell of a lot less than you might think.  For one, Kara was still there.

And then there were the wild cards (i.e., people I don't interact with or stalk) on the list who claim to "never log in to Facebook."

And then there was the curious fact that the frequency with which certain friends showed up each time I refreshed changed depending on the time of day and the day of the week...leading me to believe that a person being currently online (even when not signed into chat) was having an effect on who was displayed.

In conclusion?  It's a lot more complicated than anything I'm able to figure out.  And while I do see some recognizable patterns in my friends list, I have to begrudgingly admit that what's being revealed isn't quite as informative as I originally thought.

Can you really tell who's stalking your profile?  Not with anything resembling certainty.  And for me - and I'm sure for a lot of you, too - that's somewhat reassuring.

128 comments:

  1. Facebook scares me. Honestly.

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  2. hmmm.......... I keep wondering why there are 2 boxes of 6 people - and why they are different, too.

    Guess with FB it's best to just not question anything. They prolly don't know themselves.

    Sasha

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  3. You've spent waaaaay too much time trying to figure this out. ;)

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  4. ^^^ Yes. I have. This is why it's a very bad thing that FB has become my five-minute break at work. I rarely find what people actually post interesting enough to occupy my time, so then this is what happens...

    Malin, that is literally the ONLY APPROPRIATE RESPONSE to an entry like this! :D

    Sasha, you might be right. All the guessing in the world probably wouldn't get me any closer to an answer than I am right now!

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  5. Wow Becky... i just refreshed my page probably 30 times and came up with a grand total of only 25 people. some repeating more than others but everyone in there at least 2 or 3 times... I have about 5 people as "close friends" the rest, just friends...

    I think you are onto something here...

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  6. Sam, I'm telling you, it's crazy! My 25 has changed since I've been paying attention to it (about five months), and every time someone new pops up, I think about it entirely more than I should.

    (And this is Reason #1 why I should log into Facebook less often. :D)

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  7. I guess this is the best answer I've found so far :)

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  8. I have been wondering about this for a while now. I have the same 14 friends in rotation. It looks like these friends are going to my actual page to look, like, or comment and not just doing it through the newsfeed. That's my only explanation.

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    1. That's an interesting nuance that I've wondered about myself! It wouldn't surprise me at all if it counts "more" when a person visits your page rather than just clicking on something that showed up in their newsfeed. It takes a different level of intention to actually go to a person's profile and read through the stuff that's there...

      There have been some changes in the six months since I wrote this, but nothing substantial enough to change the basic premise of any of it. I'm in the midst of something of a social experiment right now: for a number of reasons, I'm logging into Facebook less and less and interacting with people on there hardly at all.

      But the flip side is that it will be very interesting to see what, if any, changes occur in my list once I've gone a while without participating in anything that's going on over there. Once I've been taken out of the equation, what will be left? We shall see...

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  9. please let us know your recent findings on this :)

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  10. I would like to know where it is that you work? And if they might have an opening!.. hehe

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  11. Ok, here's a question. i haven't got the nerve to friend request a certain guy on facebook but i look at his timeline often. are the friends i see there the same ones he sees when he looks at his page? are they the same friends that his friends sees?

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    1. Probably not. If you share mutual friends with this guy, those friends will be "preferred" on the six at the very top of his page, as in, you would see them because they are people the two of you have in common, but he might not necessarily see them unless they're people who have been ranked among his top friends. (If that makes sense.)

      As for the eight friends in bigger boxes at the top, you will not see the same eight as he does.

      I should warn you though that if you're looking at his profile but not friending him, you will almost assuredly show up repeatedly on his "People You May Know" list! :)

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    2. UPDATE: Since I wrote this, you will see the same eight. These things keep changing!!

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  12. "you will almost assuredly show up repeatedly on his "People You May Know" list!"
    Debatable and I'm more inclined to "not true" :) you see, I've been running this small "experiment" (I'm sure a lot of people have tried this already).. I created a "fake" account and stalked my true profile just to see if any of these theories have any basis at all. I can assure you that my fake profile didn't show up ANYWHERE in my true one... So I guess the stalking-relative info is nowhere to be seen or indicated in fb. I don't even believe they keep a log with that kind of data :)

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    1. You definitely have a point! I've looked at my own profile from a profile for work before, which doesn't have any "friends," but exists so that the company Facebook "page" isn't connected to anyone's personal account. That profile never showed up in the People You May Know...

      BUT, is that because that's not the way the list works or because the profile I was looking from seemed "fake" to Facebook?? I really don't know! I have had some really random people, blasts from the past, show up on my list and we don't have many (or any) mutual friends and I'd definitely never looked at their profiles. There are also people I'm not friends with online but who I know in real life who will suddenly show up on the list after I've seen them, leading me to think that they went home and looked up my profile.

      I don't know!! I guess there aren't any 100% clear answers. :) Thank you for sharing your experiment! Maybe with a communal group effort, we will eventually finally understand Facebook. :D

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    2. i believe FB uses your email address and IP address to determine things as well. If your blast from the past had your email in their contacts, but never friended you, FB would put it together. Also, if your "fake" profile looks at your real profile from the same computer (IP address), FB may determine that it is you (and therefore not relevant enough to show) or that it is a relative (not as exciting as a stalker).

      I hate FB. It is a psychological toy that they have fun with on a mass scale... and all the desperate sheep let them because they don't care. And really... why would they? :/

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    3. If you keep clicking someone's pic and post there pic will come up or change

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  13. Sorry, I'm very late. I came across this blog out of curiousity of the topic. I too had noticed how you can see the same thing talked about here. One picture in particular of the last few people I friended. I somewhat frequented his page just to oogle over pictures, but once I noticed I kept seeing his picture I slowed down thinking he might see the same thing, but he remained consistent on my newsfeed. We had exchanged a few private messages as well. I recently deleted a few other friends and his messages, then things changed. I no longer see his picture amongst my top friends. Well, for one I rarely get on facebook these days to begin with. But I plan to do a little experiment to see what happens.

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    1. Very interesting...feel free to keep us posted on what you find! It seems to me that Facebook may have recently (in the past few months or so) changed the algorithm somehow. It seems that some of the patterns that I was sure of before aren't necessarily holding true anymore. Any further information would be most welcome! :)

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    2. First, thank you for responding. I was reading earlier today about some changes that Facebook have planned that are supposed to take affect tomorrow. There was talk about algorithm but it had to do with subscribing to pages. Since my last entry here I have logged into Facebook and have noticed that my supposed top "friends" are people I rarely communicate with or don't at all. The guy that I oogle over still almost dominates my newsfeed which doesn't bother me, he is good looking. I don't get it either. I guess I have become more interested in how Facebiook works rather than being a user of the site. I'm still in the process of my little experiment and will let you know how it goes.

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    3. I'll be anxious to hear any updates!! I'm with you on being almost more interested in how it all works now than actually using the site the way it's intended. I've been a little confused lately because while my list of top friends has stayed relatively constant, the frequency with which some people show up and others don't has changed substantially. It's almost like there's been a reversal - the people who used to show up all the time are still on the list, but I might have to go through many, many refreshes to get to them. And then people I barely interact with (and who almost assuredly aren't stalking me) show up with nearly every single refresh. (?)

      So I remain a little baffled...but no less interested in trying to see what's being shown to us!! Thanks for checking back, and as always, I'm intrigued by any new information you might gather!

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  14. Hi!!

    I have been doing an experiment also! And i have some confusing results..

    So, when i refresh, i get the same 24-25 people come up I did 15 refreshes.

    Some people i can see have been active on my page, so that makes sense. BUT i have noticed that some people that have been active (liked or commented), they do not come up in the 25. Could be because they have done it via news feed and not on my page - i dont know.

    The other people of the 25 i dont interact with, so i assume, they have come to my page or are random, in order to make the 25. There is one girl i like that i looked at her page a lot, and she comes up. I dont know if that means she looks at my page, or if its because i have been looking at her (therefore that is classed as "interaction" by FB.)

    I am now going to stop looking at her page completely and see what happens.

    I have read that, people think the 25 are from the past 24 - 36 hours. Any updates on this?

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    1. Since this entry was written, there have definitely been changes to the algorithm in terms of having the list repopulate in a very time-sensitive way. The 24-36 hour time period could very well be right...however, there definitely seems to be some holdover. I, for instance, by no means "interact" (in any sense) with 25 people every 36 hours, so what I've noticed is that if I happen over to someone's page and look at it pretty thoroughly, that person might be in my top 25 the next day but NOT for any length of time after that. It's like that person temporarily gets "bumped" but then quickly fades back and is replaced (if that makes sense!).

      I like your theory about page interactions vs. newsfeed interactions!!! I hadn't thought of that. I'll do some thinking/watching on my own to see if I can figure out more on that front...

      I wonder if anyone here has done an experiment with someone they talk to outside of Facebook but *don't* interact with on Facebook...and the reason is because I'm guessing just about every one of us is wondering exactly what you're wondering about your crush! I know that I like to think that mine looks at my profile as much as I look at his, but I honestly don't know. Maybe he doesn't look at mine at all, but he does remain solidly in my top 25, even as others come and go. If you come to any conclusions after you've stopped looking at her page, please let us know!!

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    2. P.S. HA! I was just reading back through the comments and saw that I told someone many months ago that I was going to look into the newsfeed/profile interaction thing. I guess I should try to keep up a little better with all the theories that trickle in here as time goes by... :D

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  15. I agree. I'm thinking Facebook has changed the way they use algorithm. Maybe they've noticed how interested we've become with it. For me, it's only been these past few months that I started paying attention to it. What caught my attention with the 6 friends is his hotness was a constant after refreshing my page so many times. I never counted to see how many of the same people would show I just know I would see his picture more than others. I was afraid he knew I was visiting his page so much. Not sure if it has been mentioned but I have read that it cuts both ways. As far as newsfeed mine appears to be the same when in comes to who I have intereacted with and a few susbscribed pages. I checked my 6 friends and it's still mostly people I don't interact with, rarely interact or it has been so long that I don't remember at all.

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    1. In terms of your crush, I keep going back to my theory that once a person is in your top 25, he or she might show up more regularly *if* he/she happens to be online at the same time as you. The reason I think this is that I've noticed that several different people on my list will suddenly start showing up with every refresh, and then if I go back to the home page and scroll through the real-time minifeed, there's a substantial chance that person has been active recently. Feel free to check me on this!!

      I also have deep suspicions that there are a couple of people who stalk me but whom I have no Facebook interaction with at all, and they never show up in my top 25. So that leads me to feel a little safer about other people knowing I'm stalking *them*, but that doesn't really solve our communal problem of figuring out mutual stalking...

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    2. Lately we haven't been on at the same time primarily because I rarely get on. As far as the top 25, are they the ones that we see to the right of our newsfeed? If so, then yes he is always there. Do you think by chance he was once checking me out too? Although there isn't anything to see. Since I deleted his messages and a few friends my 6 friends and the 8 friends to the right of timeline has changed. Most are people I rarely or haven't interacted with at all. This is becoming more and more interesting because it seems all of us are experiencing something different. Maybe one day soon I should login and spend some time refreshing my page to see what happens.

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    3. When I say 25 and you say 6, we're talking about the same thing. :) The 6 change when you refresh, and if you keep refreshing, you'll wind up with 25, which is why I keep calling it 25.

      To the right of your newsfeed is just a list of your friends' most recent activity on Facebook; it's generated based purely on what people are doing right now, so it's not really of much use to us in this particular investigation...

      He will only show up in your 25 if you have been checking him out; it's your activity that's put him there. I honestly can't tell you if he's been checking you out too...and in all likelihood, there's no way to ever tell for sure. But that's part of what the experiment we're talking about below is for. :)

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    4. Sorry for the confusion. Since there are so many going by anonymous I decided to give myself the name, iLVenti. I'm the anonymous from March 1st and 6th and obviously started iLVenti on the 12th.

      Okay, now I get it. The 25 is the 6. I see I have alot to learn about this besides the little that I have already picked up on. Someone here mentioned going over to a persons page and looking thoroughly. That is pretty much what I did. Besides the exchange of a few private messages I notice he had/has alot pictures that I took the liberty and looked at several. After that I began to notice he started showing up in my 25.

      I totally agree that private messages play a part in the 25.

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    5. Thanks for giving yourself a name!! It's funny...this post has been up for over a year, but for some reason in the past two days all the sudden people are doing lots of commenting! Hard to keep up. :)

      But yes, glad you agree about the private messages. And yeah, I think going through a person's pictures definitely has an impact. That takes more effort than just quickly clicking over to someone's page, so I'm sure it "counts" more.

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    6. It has been hard to keep up with. I wanted to respond to where I left off but there is so many new and interesting entries from yesterday I read a few and got lost, laugh. As I have posted along the line somewhere here about my lame experiment. I decided to message and snoop to see what happens. So far he hasn't returned to my 25. I guess we're all going to experience something different.

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  16. Yes, i will let you know about my experiment!! How long do you think i should leave looking at her profile?

    Good point about not interacting with 25 people in 36 hours!

    > "I've noticed is that if I happen over to someone's page and look at it pretty thoroughly, that person might be in my top 25 the next day but NOT for any length of time after that. It's like that person temporarily gets "bumped" but then quickly fades back and is replaced"

    Wow, so, you think they only stay in the top 25, if THEY look at YOUR page then?

    I should say, i have never grouped anyone in Close Friends or Acquantainces.

    I have 200 odd friends, so i am curious why other people dont come up. Or maybe its just FB saves 25 people and recycles them for ease of memory?

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  17. Oh, and i forgot to add, a person who always tags me in photos, does not come up in the 25...

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    1. Oooh, that is really interesting!! Now, is this person actually in the photos with you? Or is this person only just tagging you??

      And you may be right that they only stay in the top 25 if they look at your profile back! The thought has definitely crossed my mind. Could you go a month without looking at your crush's profile (I know that's a long damn time)? I don't know that anything less than a month would necessarily be conclusive, and if you stalked someone ELSE during that month, that would be even better. (Just to see when/if that person started showing up and when/if your crush drops off your list.)

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  18. The person who tags me, just tags me in those stupid pictures on FB, we dont actually have photos together, bit she tags me alot but never comes up in the 25. I think she just tags, like 20 people at a time in one picture, but doesnt look at my profile.

    1 month??!?!? Ok, i will try that!! I was going to try and look at absolutely no ones profile at all and see what that does to the freinds list. I'll try that one. Maybe you can try stalking someone on your list you never, ever talk to, and see if they come up in the 25?

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    1. Good to know! I have people who tag me who never show up BUT if I'm tagged by the person who uploaded the picture (even if that person isn't *in* the picture) that person almost always shows up. So there is definitely a difference between just tagging and tagging something that you, yourself, have uploaded...

      I've done a couple of experiments on my own in terms of stalking/not-stalking and I've found that when I stop looking at profiles, the 25 adjusts to those people who get likes and comments from me via the newsfeed. I guess that's what makes this so difficult to try to manipulate!! When you stop looking at her profile, ideally you should stop even clicking on pictures that show up in your newsfeed, because that will "count" as interaction. (Stay strong!)

      And yes, I'll see what I can do about coming up with someone random to stalk. :)

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  19. Im not the same anonymous. I didn't look at my crush profile for about 4 month. He still was in my 6 box. He shows up more frequently when he's online. I DIDN'T intetact with him since january 2012.... and he's still there.

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    1. I've been in a similar situation before, leading me to think that perhaps there is a cumulative effect. Like, if I stalked the HELL out of someone originally, and then stopped stalking him altogether, Facebook would hold him there for a while just because of how much I paid attention in the first go around.

      Or at least that's the clinical explanation. It's also possible this is evidence right here of mutual stalking. I really don't know, but I find that very, very interesting...

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  20. So, you think its about who is online?

    And do you think he is looking at you?

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    1. Well it's difficult to say. They changed a lot of things. In my opinion if you see someone you don't intetact with since a long time, there's a good chance that they look at your profile. Not neceraly stalking, but looking at your stuff via the news feed. Nothing is random in fb. I had a few private messages with a friend. She started showing up in my 6 box. After a few refreshes, she vanished .... So when fb says it's public interactions, as you can see, that's not true. Profile views are part of the algorithm, They wouldn't change it so often if it wasn't the case.

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    2. I totally agree with profile views being part of the algorithm. I also know for a fact that private messaging is a part of it too (regardless of what they say about "public" interactions only being taken into consideration).

      Before I wrote this entry, I had a conversation on this very topic with a friend whom I NEVER interact with. All we did was exchange a few private messages and suddenly he showed up in my top 25 AND in my 8 for several weeks afterward. So there's a lot that's being taken into consideration.

      But even though yes, I think that when a person is online has a lot to do with it, I still stand by the fact that you have to do something first to trigger that person's inclusion in your list in the first place. Unless you stalk (or comment or message or whatever) him/her, that person isn't going to show up, regardless of whether or not he's online...

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    3. Yes that's true. Have you ever notice that some of your friends could be stuck in the bottom right corner of your 8 box? For me it's often my sister, and that's probably because we intetact a lot, I don't stalk her.

      When you see your friends profile with your own account, and you see someone stuck in the 8 spot of their list, in fact it's probably you instead. But you see a mutual friend of yours

      I've made a little experiment, I stalked my cousin for 2 weeks every day. She didn't show up in that 8 spot until I liked just once, a video on her wall. Now she's in my 8 box,sometimes in the bottom right corner.

      As I said, I don't believe it's random. I saw on the site" got to know how" that fb take in count views on other site like youtube for example. There's a lot of interesting theories there.

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    4. Ps: sorry for my english, I'm french :-)

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    5. I definittely believe that private messages play apart in this as well. I believe my experience has been due to me viewing this person's page a great deal and the few private messages the we have exchanged.

      As I have mentioned before my 25, with him included changed dramatically since I deleted our messages and a few friends. I no longer see him in my 25. But I guess the changes, if any, will be different per user.

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    6. Anon, your English is wonderful! And I've read that, too, about view counts being taken into consideration, particularly with regard to what shows up in your newsfeed. The algorithm for the newsfeed, then, seems to be very different from that that generates the list of 25, and it's a different one yet for generating the list of 8...

      I did a similar experiment a while back with a friend of mine; we wound up in each others' 8 but when we clicked over, we saw 7 of the same friends but we couldn't see each other on the list of 8! So I think you're exactly right about assuming it's yourself on a person's 8 if you notice someone else "stuck" there.

      And iLVenti, I find it fascinating that you manipulated your top 25 by deleting things. That means that not only is your current activity being taken into account, there's also some weight given to your *past* activity. Hmmm...

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    7. Thank you Becky ;-) I try to do my best.

      Sometimes, like today, a mutual friend of ours is in the 8 spot , when I look at my crush profile. I suppose it's me there. So why am I? Is it because I used to stalk him in the past?
      Or because he's looking at me? That's the real question for me, and I still don't know why.

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    8. I've noticed that some people cycle through my 8 for many months, even if our interaction has ceased in the meantime. For instance, I went to the wedding of a friend from college and she tagged me in several wedding photos. After that, she showed up a lot in my 8. But the wedding was close to a year ago now, and in the interim, we've posted on each other's walls on our birthdays, but otherwise not Facebook-interacted at all. And yet she STILL pops up on my 8 all the time (including today, in fact).

      I guess that's what makes it so difficult to come to any solid conclusions. Some things change very rapidly, and other things stay the same for an extremely long time...and so far we haven't come up with a really good explanation as to why that is.

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  21. So, what is the basic conclusion of all this?

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    1. The basic conclusion is that the 6 friends at the top of your Timeline are part of a group of 25 that Facebook has weighted based on your personal interaction and viewing habits and history.

      There is no way of knowing for sure if someone is stalking you based on your list of 25...but this isn't stopping any of us from trying to see what we want to see anyway. :)

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  22. I've been wondering same thing. There is somebody who I haven't viewed her profile since August 2012 that still appears in my 6 (out of yes, about 25 others). In the past I've only liked maybe 1 status & made a comment on 1 photo on her profile (so there isn't a lot of public interaction). We probably had 5 to 10 total private messages. On top of that, I have actually hid her so I don't see her newsfeed posts. Yet she still shows up in my top 6 consistently. I have noticed your theory on people being "temporarily" bumped out of the top 6, but then after a few days it returns to the original 25 (it seems she was temporarily bumped for 2 days). So at least in my case, if you stop looking at somebody's profile for 7 months, they still can consistently appear in the top 6. Not sure if this means she stalks my profile or maybe like you said it could be because initially I had gone on her profile a lot. I'd think after 7 months of not checking it though, she'd disappear.

    Also, one time I had a friend who i never once went to his profile, look at my facebook page. The next day he appeared in my top 8. So I think if somebody randomly appears in your top 8, it's likely not random at all, but they've accessed your profile. Anyhow, interesting discussion on the inner workings of fb...
    -S

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    1. Wow, okay, so if she's *still* in your top 25, then that means there's no need to go through with the experiment above in stopping looking at a profile for a month. Seven months and you hid her...I wonder what makes her different?! It's got to be either that there's some holdover from before OR her inclusion is being prolonged based on her activity. Does she ever comment on/like any of your stuff???

      And I'm definitely going to start paying closer attention to my 8. I noticed that a friend of mine whom I rarely interact with online showed up there temporarily after we exchanged a couple of comments. But then when we recently exchanged messages over a period of a couple of weeks, he took up permanent residence there. The 8 switch up once or twice a day, but for the past two weeks, he's been there every single time I've checked (whereas people with whom I've been exchanging messages with regularly for years show up regularly in the 8 but not on a permanent, consistent basis).

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    2. Nope she has never commented or liked any of my stuff. She is on 2 of my business pages as well as 1 other mutual business we both have "liked". However I have other friends who like my business pages and have other pages in common with as well, and they don't make the top 25. So I'm not sure if mutual likes especially if it's a business site that I run, is having an effect or not. I think it has to do with previous profile views by me, but I guess I'm wondering like everybody else, what role people who view your profile play in being displayed in the top 6 slots. I should find some random person and just click through all their old pics and old posts and see what happens! For a person to STILL appear after 7 months seems odd unless they are somehow locked in. I can't believe I clicked on her profile so much that it would obliterate every elses, especially over 7 months.
      -S

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    3. Seven months is a long damn time. And especially since she hasn't commented or liked anything... It seems like even if you spent ALL of your time on Facebook on her page, the amount of time passed would have canceled that out by now! If anyone else has any thoughts on this, I'm all ears.

      And I hadn't even considered the effect of pages and mutual likes! Interesting. If you wind up doing the random person experiment, please let us know...

      Delete
    4. I've noticed the girl who was on my 6 for the past 7 months has disappeared in the past few days after a flurry of activity on fb by me and other people (who have perhaps only temporarily replaced her in the top 6). I still haven't accessed anything on her profile, so I will keep you updated if she somehow returns to my 6 in the future. My instict is that enough time has passed to where she won't be back in my top 6, unless of course she is looking at my profile. Good luck in your investigation. :)
      -S

      Delete
  23. Whats the difference between the box of 6 (which rotates 25 people) and the box of 8?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The box of 8 seems to be tied directly to interaction, in terms of liking, commenting, or messaging. The 25 (which, unlike the 8, only you can see) is generated by liking, commenting, messaging, AND whose profile you're looking at (and, within that, possibly also who among your friends is logged into Facebook at the time).

      Both are the products of who you interact with, but the 25 holds more mystery because it's not always 100% obvious why a person is (or remains) on your list...

      Delete
    2. Here is an interesting experiment, not mine but interesting:


      "I've always wondered about the significance of both the 6 and 8 friend boxes. So I decided to try a little experiment as well. My son and I each have FB pages so last night I signed on to my page and started looking at his page multiple times. I then asked him to sign onto his to see if my profile pic appeared in his 8 friends box. It did. It showed up as the second pic in the top row. I asked him to refresh the page 3 times and each time my pic was there but in different spot.

      Now mind you, he and I do not interact on FB. No likes, comments on each other's pages, etc. When I view his page as myself and view my page as him the top 6 reveal pics of our mutual friends. Some I don't interact with (comments, views, etc.) and vice versa. And looking at my son's FB page during my experiment I could tell that he barely accesses his account. There wasn't a lot of activity going on.

      To take the experiment a step further, I unfriended my ex about a week ago. I've looked at his page a few times via the search engine but for my experiment since they're still FB friends, I accessed his page a few times via my son's page on my mobile phone earlier in the day. When I got home and looked at my son's page via my laptop there was my ex in the 8 box. I refreshed a few times, his pic rotated then disappeared. When I looked at my ex's page a few times via my son's on the laptop, my ex didn't show up on the 8 box.

      As for my own page the 6 box shows 3 or maybe 4 people I interact with, 2 or 3 I don't. The 8 box will show the same 7 people I've interacted with regularly(mutual comments, likes, etc.) with one guy who I barely interact with always popping up in the 8th box, occasionally shifting position when I refresh. I suspect that he looks at my page constantly because every now and then I'll get a compliment from him via message on my FB mobile message app. Then hours later, 7 of the pics will change to people I have interacted with on occasion but haven't done so in days or weeks. The same guy is the 8th person. People I don't interact with at all are never displayed in the box.

      So, I believe that the 8 friends box shows:

      A) those who have recently or consistently viewed your profile and those who you have viewed via mobile. I am almost certain that FB is keeping track of mobile views as well.
      B)those who you have consistent interaction with
      C) those who you have occasionally interacted with. I suspect that's done just as a reminder to let you know that you haven't communicated in awhile.

      The 6 friend box is random. A combo of those you communicate and those you do not communicate with."

      Delete
    3. That is very interesting. I see we all are experiencing different things. Well, I can't say for sure if the guy I have stalked (if you will) see or has seen my picture amongst his top friends. We aren't that close enough to where I feel comfortable to ask him. I do know for sure he has way more friends than I do. I never paid close attention to my box of eight friends, although I do believe I have seen his picture there. My 25 (top 6 friends) he most definitely has been apart of. In the past I have refreshed my page many times and it hasn't failed for him to show up the majority of that time.

      Delete
    4. Thanks for that, Lau, and I do think there is some credence to that because there have definitely been times when someone has shown up in my 8 who I know would have been interested in something that recently went up on my page, so I just assumed their appearance meant they'd looked...

      That said, based on earlier conversations here (and my own observations), I think there has to be a foundation of some sort of interaction before they'll show up, though. And I say that because I have had people come to me in real life and talk to me about things they would have had to have gone to my profile to see (things that wouldn't have shown up in their newsfeed), but I never have any online interaction with those people, and they never, ever show up on my 8.

      So...the plot thickens! :)

      Delete
    5. Do you know what? I think many people were right, that's why they changed the old fb to timeline.It was easier to guess your stalkers then. Timeline was a pretext to hide the fact that you could possibly see them. I remember before timeline, my crush showed up in the friends bar on the left. At the time, I wasn't interested. I was in his too. But yes, now it's very very hard to figure out why.

      Delete
  24. Hi,

    Im the one that was going to do the experiment of not looking at a girls profile for a month. Im still gonna do it, why not?

    She is still in my 25, and i made an excel spreadsheet of who is in the top 25, only started it a few days ago, but she ranks in at number 3, out of 40 people. Now this could be because i was always looing at her profile, but she must have also looked at mine (because we are recently added), but i dont know how much. I doubt she is looking everyday, so i think there must be a hold over/lag time.

    Also, there was a guy who never sends me messages or writes on my wall, and he recently sent me a few messages in my inbox. He came into my top 25 for 1 day only, then disappeared....

    Could it be FB just "saves" people and recycles them, and thats it? Because it is easy for the algorithm to remember?

    Also, if you go to View As, and type in someones name, like your crush, you can view your page from their POV, and i found that totally different people come up in the 6 box, like people i never ever talk to. So, it seems that what you can see privately from your profile page in the 6 box, only you can see.

    ~A

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I DO know for a fact that people who are recently added get a bit of a bump. They will rank a little higher in your newsfeed even, although the effect is temporary. But after a month, whatever bump she got from being recently added will surely evaporate.

      Go for on the experiment. :) And report back, please!!

      I think it's a definitely possibility that people are "saved." That's about the only thing that makes sense for some of the results that I get. I can almost always trace a person's appearance back to something I did (liked/commented/stalked) but sometimes it just doesn't make sense for a person to still be there, case in point being my friend Kara, mentioned in the entry. She comes and goes in my top 25, but why the hell would she be coming and going if she's dead?! It's got to be because Facebook just pulls her up now and again.

      And yes, I, too, noticed that only you can see your six! (I don't know if that's comforting or not. :))

      Delete
    2. On the phone app, you can see 6 people when you look at others profiles , not the mutual friends. I don't know why it's different.

      Delete
    3. Do Kara's family still log into her fb? If so, it could be because they are active on your profile? Like, clicked on it? If they dont, it could just be truly random, OR FB picks a person you havent interacted with, to remind you of them, so you will interact with them (it is social media after all).

      Hang on, but i think you said before that you think the 6 box is for YOUR activity, not other peoples? So you think it is NOT about people who access your profile?

      About recently added people: i have added like 20 people recently and they all havent come up in my 6 box, so i dont think its that....

      Update on my excel experiment log: So, that girl was at number 3 out of 40, then rose to number 2 and today she is number 5. 2 of the people above her, suggested many friends for me to add, 1 guy made me admin of his page and he sends me a few private messages, and the remaining guy i barely talk to at all, only sent a few messages in the past and i never look on his page, never liked or commented on his wall.....so i wonder why he is so high up....

      Someone wrote on my wall, and sent me a private message, and came up in the 6 box afterwards. He surely is more active on my page etc than the girl, so i dont understand why she is in the 25.

      ~A

      I did look at her profile a lot before i added her. After i added her i looked at her profile, went through all her pics, and then briefly visited her profile like twice. Maybe FB keeps the interaction from when we were not friends?

      Delete
    4. Kara's family does very occasionally log in to her account to upload pictures, but I'm friends with all of them on their regular accounts. So I'm not sure why they would look at my profile from her account instead of their own (and I really don't think they log in but a couple of times a year to hers anyway).

      As for the top 25...every person on my list is either someone whose profile I've looked at OR that I've interacted with OR who has interacted with me. For instance, my birthday was in January. I had a couple of friends who wrote on my wall and then wrote on other comments on my wall. I did not look at their profiles, but they're both now in my top 25. That's a case in which I didn't do anything, but there was clear action on their parts, and now there they are on the list. There is not a single person currently in my top 25 who is completely random.

      Right now, I think most everyone here is concerned about a crush, and I think that everyone here (and I'm guilty of this too) is looking for a reason to believe that their crush's appearance in their top 25 is an indication that he/she has been looking at your profile. But what I'm determining from this conversation is that every single person here has stalked their crush, and with that being the case, we all have to acknowledge that yes, it is our own activity that is most likely putting these people in our 6. Since we can only track our own activity, there is absolutely no way for any of us to know with certainty how much (if ANY) of the other person's activity is influencing their appearance...

      Delete
    5. Well, it is a brain buster that is for sure!! There are a couple of people on my 25 that i dont interact with, but alot of the ones i do, dont come up in the 25 at all!!

      So, i think i give up :-)

      ~A

      Delete
    6. Hi you think it might have something to do with the pic its selif like you said. Mobile is different my friends pic shows up on everyones pages she's a friend with and she has a lot of friends she always shows up

      Delete
  25. That is what I find strange. The manipulation as we will call it wasn't done on purpose. I guess I have a strange relationship with facebook. One day last month I got on and decided to delete old messages and a few friends. Since then My top 25 has been people that normally didn't show up or maybe I jsut hadn't noticed before. My newsfeed is pretty much the same though. My lame experiment has been simple. All I've done was send a private message to see if he would return to my top 25 and so far he hasn't. I have visited his page a few times. I'm more nervous about it now that in the past. But, I'm also wondering if the algorithm has changed. Sorry, I know I'm beginning to sound like a broken record.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I think you can take some comfort in a couple of things. :)

      1. Most people probably don't pay as close attention to all of this as we do! And
      2. I think the algorithm HAS changed, and with each change Facebook makes, I think they make it more complicated. They're pretty adamant that you can't tell who's been looking at your profile, and I would imagine that any changes that they made would make it more (not less) difficult to even attempt to figure that out.

      And he might show up yet. Sometimes there's a lag... Let us know!

      Delete
    2. When I used to stalk my crush, he NEVER showed up in my 8 box. But he was in the 6. I stopped, and I saw him in the bottom right corner . I don't understand why. That's not logic.

      Delete
    3. I think you're right. It has changed and they probably want to make it more complicated since a few of us has noticed this. I don't log into Facebook as much as I used but I do plan to keep watch to see if anything changes.

      Lau, I never paid as much attention to my 8 box, but I do believe he has shown up there. He was definitely in constant rotation amongst my 6.

      Delete
  26. I just scanned over an article, more a Q & A, about recent Facebook changes that have been made and from my understanding still being rolled out to users. The journalist talked to a VP from Facebook and he said that they are "constantly changing the algorithm." Their algorithm if I remember correctly was referred to as edgerank. But it was more about what advertisments users want to see. I hope this is of some help some of you. I still think our theories though different are on point.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The total friends list could possibly be an indication. I was in the first block of my crush friends list. When I looked his profile with my fake account, the bottom right corner was stuck with a friend of his, someone "X " I don't know. With my own profile, it was a mutual friend of ours. I deactivated my account, and now, when I look at my crush friends list with my fake account, mister X took my place in the friends list ....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm...interesting... Did you log into both profiles from the same computer??

      Delete
    2. Since it came from the same IP address, Facebook may have registered both profiles as the same person (since it came from the same computer). Just a thought...

      Delete
    3. Yes I think so. The new timeline has 9 friends pictures on the left. I don't know what it means, but my crush is there, with family members, and people I interact a lot.

      Delete
  28. I took a break because I didn't have anything to further contribute especially since I try to stay away from Facebook as much as possible, but plan to login some time this coming week.

    In the meantime something strange happened to me today. I will get to that in a moment. My laptop that I hadn't used in almost a year because I thought it had died on me. I decided not to throw it away and come to find all I needed was an adapter/power cord. Now that that has been taken care of I have been using it. Okay, now back on subject. I received an email at my Google account about "people you may know" on Facebook. I have no idea who 3 of the 4 people are. Could it be they are friends with some of my friends? They very well could be but I am not on Facebook enough to figure it out, yet. One of the suggestions I am following on Twitter already. So, this is a whole new thing that has me puzzled. This just shows there are alot of mysteries surrounding Facebook. I haven't signed into Facebook for about 3 weeks now so I'm wondering how did they figure I should know these people. Well, one I had seen as a suggestion in the past and we didn't have any friends in common back then. Maybe there is/was a common interest. I am anxious to find out. If I am able to figure it out or able to form a theory surrounding this I will share what I think. I do wonder if there is some tracking being done on my laptop. Sounds crazy but I wouldn't doubt it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm guessing you got the e-mail in the first place because you hadn't signed in and Facebook was trying to lure you back in. But as for how they determine the "people you may know," that's something of a mystery. I've never gotten that particular kind of e-mail from Facebook, but I have gotten a similar one from Twitter, and the "people you should follow" list for me was completely bizarre. I had no idea who any of the people were and I really didn't have any interest in following them... I'd be willing to bet the "follow" list on Twitter and the "friend" list on Facebook are generated by very similar algorithms.

      On another note, I'm quite sad that Facebook has completely gotten rid of the six friends at the top of the Timeline because now no one will ever come to this post!! :( My new nine are all people who were previously in my Top 25, though their positions don't change when I refresh and the list hasn't switched up between yesterday and today. The top two rows make sense in terms of who I interact with the most (they're in the correct order and everything), but the bottom row is all family members who aren't even on Facebook all that often. (?)

      So the mystery continues. Maybe after observing a little more, I'll write a new entry about this new friend arrangement. But I can't help but be a little sad that all of this is now irrelevant. :-/

      Delete
    2. By interact the most what do you mean? Only public interactions? Don't worry, I'll follow your new entry. That's very interesting.

      Delete
    3. Public interactions and private messages. There's no one in my nine at all right now whose profile I look at but don't have any real interaction with... The order/people still hasn't changed, though, so I don't know yet if that's a coincidence or if it means something!

      Delete
    4. My timeline still has the 6 box. So it is gonna change? That is annoying.

      So, there is only one 9 box now?

      Maybe your family comes up, simply because you have them listed as family, and so they rank highly

      Delete
    5. I thought about that! You may very well be right on the family issue.

      Yeah, I guess not everyone switched over at once, but the look of Timeline is changing. No more 6 box (ugh), only a 9 box, and the cover photo is a little different (same dimensions overall, but considering I customized mine and it doesn't quite work anymore, I'm not happy about it!).

      Between me writing this comment and the last one, the top two people in my 9 switched places. Other than that, it's exactly the same. Huh.

      Delete
  29. So....that means we cant really try and guess things anymore, doesnt it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It means all the fun has been sucked out of this for us. :(

      Delete
  30. Maybe that is good for us, i mean we dont have to wonder anymore...?

    Still would be good to try to know about profile views...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As annoying as it is, I have to admit that I've spent entirely too much time thinking about this and maybe this is a hint that I should get a life. :)

      But even so, it's disappointing that something that so many people were interested in has disappeared. (Not to mention that what replaces it - the 9 box - is so uninteresting in comparison.) :(

      Delete
  31. You know you said with the 6 box, people may come up more if they are online, do you mean if they are on chat, or also if they are off chat but online?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Both - exactly. I know a lot of people (myself included) who never, ever log into chat, but I noticed that friends of mine whom I knew were online (because I could see their activity in the mini-feed) would sometimes show up more frequently in my top 6 during that period. From that, I made the leap that a person who was showing up during multiple refreshes was probably online even when I couldn't find any evidence of that in the mini-feed...

      Delete
  32. Wont be able to figure out stuff like that with the 9 box :-(

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi, I'm the one who had the girl whom I haven't visited her profile, or had any intereaction with since August, appearing in the old top 6 for awhile.

    I also had my timeline change to include 9 people on the side. For the first week it was 9 people who I regularly interact with on facebook. Just today it switched to 6 people who I semi-regularly interact on facebook with and three other people. One is a girl I just friended a few days ago. One is a cousin's husband who I never ever talk to, and the other is the girl who I still haven't checked anything on her since AUGUST. She is in my top left spot. Not sure if that means anything or not, but the 9 box suddenly got a little more interesting, at least for me. It has been consistent all day, hasn't changed. Very odd it would pick her since I haven't done anything since August w/ her. Has your's radically switched in the past few days? The original 9 were obvious to me, this new group of 9 is a little less obvious. I'm not convinced it's random.
    -S

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So, are you guessing this girl from August has been looking at your profile or something?

      Delete
    2. That's my guess considering I've had no interaction in 8 months, and even have it so she is hidden from my news feed. I'm a regular user of FB as well, on it multiple times per day making comments often, so find it interesting she is showing up as one of my top 9 (she was a regular on the old top 6). Just an observation and thought I'd share since it looks like everybody was disappointed with this timeline change. There are perhaps still some subtle things to look for if wondering who is stalking your profile. My original top 9 were obvious, this 2nd group of top 9 not so obvious. I wonder how long this new group of 9 will be up...
      -S

      Delete
    3. Mine changed this morning back to the original top 9, that is, the same it was all of last week. The 9 that facebook was displaying all day yesterday are now gone (including the girl from last Aug)...The current top 9 are for sure people I interact with all of the time, making it a little less interesting from a who is fb stalking me perspective. Notice any major changes to your top 9?
      -S

      Delete
    4. I havent got the 9 box yet, but i'd be interested to know, if you think its all based on public interactions, private interactions, or possible profile views from other people.

      Perhaps with the 9 box, we cant figure out profile views?

      ~A

      Delete
    5. My current 9 box are all people i have public interactions with. The 9 that popped up for just one day (April 5) were people who would I suspect might be viewing my profile. Now it's back to the original 9 which to me are clearly my top 9 people of public interaction. Not as interesting.
      -S

      Delete
  34. Now FB has changed slightly again the 9 box ( web based ) friends is likely to be those FB assumes we are closest to , profile views, likes, clicks on links etc

    A while ago you could populate it yourself with your top friends list and edit that as you wished. I think FB are using the data described above to show you your top friends. The score makes them go higher or lower in this league table

    FB stores all of the data , every search we do , every click , every pm... it's all data and seems logical that they provide us with a box where we can click easier to find those who they believe we are closer to

    As my friends list is so small ( no boohoo's I don't add everybody) I think I am on the right track. If like some of us suspect, we have a stalker or 2 ..or we like to stalk somebody , lay off it for a week or 2 , no comments, likes or views and see if they dissapear ..or slide down the league table.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When you talk about the league table, are you talking about friends in the 9 box, or the list of all friends in the friends list?

      ~A

      Delete
    2. The 9 box...

      (mark)

      Delete
  35. I am still reading everyone's comments! Haven't been responding because I'm still working on my own 9 box theory. I'm hoping to post on this sometime this week and we can move the discussion to the new entry.

    But please keep sharing your thoughts/ideas; I'm definitely learning more from your anecdotes than from my (so far pretty static) group of nine...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm back to the static top 9 after having one day in which my top 9 switched up (April 5) to a more interesting group of 9 (which included that girl who I haven't interacted with since last Aug). The static top 9 is a very non-mysterious group.
      -S

      Delete
  36. And at long last, we have A POST! It's not as interesting as this one, but then again, neither is the nine. :(

    ReplyDelete
  37. Anyone know how to change who shows up? Sick of seeing my ex-girlfriend everyday :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :( I'm sorry. This is one of the topics we've been talking about on the other post (how to move people off the list you don't want to see!). If you block her or unfriend her that will likely take care of it, but I realize you might not want to do that.

      We haven't quite got the pattern figured out yet, but we're researching...

      Delete
    2. Thanks Becky, if it helps I have other clues, I have not visited any of the six peoples pages in months and they are still there. The linking factors are: People set as "close friends", family members and people I have sent the most messages to in the last few years

      Delete
    3. Ah, yes. The "close friends" trap. I don't think Facebook likes to let it go when you've listed someone as a close friend. Also, yes, I agree that messages seem to count quite a bit, as do family member listings! (Slowly but surely, I feel like we're getting enough corroborating evidence that some of this is starting to make sense.)

      Delete
  38. On the 9 box:
    There is a guy who likes me and he's among those 9 friends around 70% of the time. We DO have interactions, he's messaged me a few times and liked my photos. (But compared to the frequency and quantity of my other friends' messages -even those who never show up in top 9- it's almost nothing.)
    I don't like him back so I don't usually visit his profile or like his posts. (I visit his profile like once in a month or so)
    SO, I'm 100% sure he visits my profile A LOT, and he is on my top 9.

    It's def got to do something with profile views, but that's not the only factor. If someone visits your profile and you have either visited their profile as well or had other interactions like messaging with themv(even the slightest one), they show up.
    Bottom-line: There should be some sort of (mutual) interaction at first, then if they view your page more than others, they've got to show up more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From what I've observed in my own nine so far, I completely agree with you. Thanks for this!!!

      Delete
  39. Second (summary) nine friends post HERE!

    ReplyDelete
  40. From an FB insider: The friends in the box are displayed based on 2 factors; people set as close friends or family and the people you interact with the most (messages/chats/liking their stuff, commenting on their photos etc), it has nothing to do with the amount of times you visit their page or visa versa.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hi Becky,

    First of all; great post!! So informative! Everything you mentioned makes sense to me, however, I was hoping that you could clarify something to me. I don't really have a care about the friends view on my profile, but rather the view on someone else's profile and I'm a little confused.

    Some background info: we only share one mutual friend, but I creep some of his friends profiles from time to time. That being said, here are my questions:

    1. The people in the "6" or 25 box at the top, Ialways notice a trend of the same people. Are those people that he chats with the most or interacts with? I've noticed a few of his closest friends on there.

    2. Likewise, on the lower left hand in the other friends box, is there a reason for the people in that box? Ex. Ones that he interacts with the most? It's usually pretty consistent.

    I haven't heard much about this topic, except for a few people saying that it's people whom you may have similarities too (the friends on his page- we don't really have mutual friends, but some of them live close to me, where a few others live in different countries)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't say with 100% certainty...but I can tell you that, from my observations and from those of many I've talked to, the people you're seeing in those boxes most likely have very little to do with his activity. Because Facebook tracks your every click, if you've checked out friends of his before, it "remembers" that and "thinks" that you're interested in those people, which, in turn, probably causes them to show up more frequently. So what you're most likely seeing is the result of a feedback loop, where the more you look, the more it shows you the same thing...

      Because the six (or eight, or nine) that you see are different than the six (or eight, or nine) that he sees, it's almost impossible to really determine much of anything about a person's top friends without actually logging into their account to see how their profile looks to them. With every change, Facebook seems to be getting more and more user-oriented, as in, it personalizes absolutely everything based on who's doing the looking. On one hand, it's smart in terms of keeping our curiosity up, but on the other hand, it definitely seems to be getting harder and harder to figure anything out based on looking at someone else's profile (especially since that person can hide certain posts from certain groups of friends, which skews the friends list again because the interactions you see are different than the interactions he see, and on and on!!). :)

      Hope that helps!

      Delete
  42. I would like to add my thoughts on this topic (3 months after last post)because this has been driving me crazy. Of my nine on the timeline, six of them are family and I would expect them to be there as we have interaction. My number one, that hasn't changed in months, is also who I would expect to be in that spot. We have logged over a thousand conversations doing business and I know we have been through each others profiles on more than one occasion. I do not have friends lists tagging anyone as "close friend" or "acquaintance". I have many interactions with people that do not show up in my nine. These are people I have been to their profiles, through their pictures, messaged back and forth,tagged in many of my pictures, mutual likes and comments and lots of mutual friends.
    In terms of the "crush"...I have one too and he is in my nine. I've had minimal contact with him, only a handful of messages that were all business. I have been through his profile in the past but not recently and not that much at all. We only have nine mutual friends and he might comment on a post once or twice a year and I never comment on his. There are no "likes" of each others posts. I noticed one day, after he commented on a post of mine, he appeared high on my list and bumped a few of my "regulars" down and he has never left. He moves around in the nine but has recently started bumping into the number two spot. I'm baffled because there are just too many others that should be in that spot. It is my thought he is there for one of three reasons...facebook is reminding me to talk to him (though again, there are so many others that should be in that spot); it has to do with email interaction because I do send him an occasional yahoo email and that is the account attached to my facebook; or he is visiting my profile or, in the very least, expanding my conversations in newsfeed to see the conversation (which still implies interest).
    In my own little experiment, I visited the profile of someone I knew was not coming to mine and had little previous contact with. It took over 50 views and combing his profile thoroughly before he popped up into the number nine spot. By the end of the day, he was bumped from the list and hasn't shown up since. I also visited profiles of some I had a lot of interaction with but was certain they were not visiting my profile, and the same thing happened. It didn't 50 visits to get them there, but they were gone in a day. It is my theory they have to be visiting your profile or following your conversations to remain on that list. And I completely disagree with the thought those nine friends are random!

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  43. I was just wondering...im friends w/ this guy & i really liked him so i stalked his fb page. And, we had 4 mutual friends. I know he had at least talked to one of them before & liked another ones picture, maybe once or twice. But, his top 6 friends never changed or barely at all. & His top friends were the 4 mutual friends. I'm just wondering...Does it not change, or little at all just because those are our mutual friends or is it because they talk all the time?

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  44. I have a doubt. If somebody visits my profile, lets say he/she is my friend, do they see the same 9 friends as I see on my profile? Or is it any different?

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  45. I think I have a stalker. She's bounced around a bit and has just settled recently at the #9 spot but has been on "the Nine" for several weeks now. Never leaving.

    -- It has been over two months since I put her in the 'Acquaintances' bin so any theory that says your Acquaintances don't show up in the Nine does not hold water, at least in my case.

    Prior to her placement in Acquaintances:
    -- She has posted on my profile page a handful of times.
    -- She has commented on / liked some of my posts, not many.
    -- I have commented on a few of her posts, not many at all.
    -- I looked at her photos a fewer than a dozen times
    -- I visited her profile page fewer than a dozen times

    Since placing her in Acquaintances
    -- She no longer appears in my feed (which is what Acquaintances does, after all)
    -- I have had no direct contact with her via Facebook
    -- I have not looked at her photos
    -- I have not looked at her profile

    She could be a 'random' on the 9 but based on her prior behavior I feel like she may be checking my profile now and again.

    To wit:
    -- I deactivated my account for a month. She observed this last time I spoke to her, "you blocked me from Facebook" even though by deactivating I effectively blocked everyone. Clearly she was in my profile or tried to communicate with me at least once during my FB downtime. That doesn't constitute FB stalking, of course, but she did take notice of my deactivation period.

    -- When we were on speaking terms in conversation she referred to my FB posts, some dating from before we became friends. She went through my profile pictures, etc. No doubt.

    -- During my deactivation, I checked her profile page a number of times. Perhaps 20 times but since I wasn't logged in to FB, her account wasn't visible to me. Other accounts were, though. I assume that she turned off public display of her FB profile. But did Facebook retain the number of times I checked out her profile even though I wasn't logged on to FB? Is there a cookie tracking my behavior and reporting it in to FB anyway? This would put a dent in my "she's FB stalking me" theory and buttress the "I'm FB stalking her" theory and that's why she's in my Nine.

    But, and I'm really obsessing of this obviously, no contact for over TWO months and she's still on my Nine? That seems odd especially when other people I have had more interaction with never appear there.

    Conclusion: inconclusive.

    She is either:
    1. a random Nine placed there by Facebook to make me insane.
    2. appearing on my Nine due to my trying to view her profile. This assumes that even when my FB account is deactivated, a tracking cookie placed by Facebook reports that I'm checking her profile
    3. stalking me.

    I hate you, Facebook but I want to know. Hope this adds something to the ongoing and ultimately futile investigation into these FB algorithms designed to induce obsessive/compulsive behavior in otherwise ordinary people.

    (Also, I'm never going to get with my crush so I should give up already. Christ.)

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  46. facebook has to track who looks at your profile. the other day i ran into someone i hadnt seen for a long time. the next day she was the top person in the people i may know category. i can only assume she went home and looked at my profile which made her pop up there cause she had never been there before. another weird thing is that you know when you go search for friends that your top friends will show up first as long as any letter you type is in their name. the weird thing about this is that it started doing this in my actual phone contacts. i think that facebook may be accessing your phone to make up your top friends or something. cause the people on that list on my profile are fursure people that i talk to all the time on my phone but never on facebook. idk, im kinda sketched out though. :(

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  47. I've been stalking my crush from a fake account. From my phone, I can see I'm in the top friends list. Curiously, he's in the top mine. Number one.
    I've been tracking this list and I was his number 2 (on phone) plus I'm on his number 6 from my computer.
    I wonder what does it mean. Maybe my phone discovered the fake account is mine and positioned him on the top plus positioned me on top of his friends list. I'm not sure.

    Also, I'm in the top of some people I never interact (seen from my fake account).

    Plus, a random dude keeps appearing on number 3 from phone and in my 6 s. I'm getting mad because I never visited his profile or interacted yet I'm on his number 1 position (from fake acccount).

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  48. What about when there is a friend in the friends box, that doesn't seem to move at all ever within the makeup of the 8 friends. What is that about? Does that mean there is a huge interaction btw those two people, or there isn't any interaction and it is stuck. Just a question.

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  49. I am new in this discussion, and have been observing the “friends order” issue for some time now.

    Here are my findings:
    1.) “The 9” on the left of my timeline rarely ever change, sometimes people get in or out of the box… but I can picture why. Mostly it’s because I recently have commented several times on their updates or pictures (even if I comment on other friends’ pictures, too)…. I would say at least in my case this is a selection of people I’ve had some degree of interaction with, meaning I have been interested in their updates or posts - and I think this is actually evaluated over a longer period of time. Moreover, it’s definitely NOT the people I interact MOST with, not even on the long run. It’s just people I have interacted with, with mutual interactions - or not. Interaction meaning also that for instance I commented on one of their posts/updates, but they never commented on mine or even liked my posts/updates. That is also considered as an “interaction”. In my case, this “box of 9” is not directly related to profile views as such, even if I do think they also take those into account (people I viewed, not the opposite).
    In my case there are no people in “the 9” who frequently comment on or like my posts/updates, without me interacting back… I’ll further observe it. My “box of 9” seems to take into account my own actions or the reciprocity, more than only the actions of my friends as such. But it’s hard to be sure about their actions.

    2.) The HTML source code “Initialchatfriendslist” or chat sidebar, in my view, reveals nothing particular. This is not a stalkers list, but in my case it’s just the list of people I have recently chatted with or sent messages to. Or the opposite, they messaged me first. Also when you close down your chat except for certain friends, those friends will appear in the “Initialchatfriendslist” near the top… and even if afterwards you close the chat for all friends, then they’ll still appear in the list for a while – but slowly sinking lower and lower.
    In addition, your new friends can appear here as well, probably because Facebook thinks you’d like to drop them a line or so…

    3.) Then I very closely observed my list of friends, using the “grid view”. This view seems to be more dynamic, it changes daily. If you indicated some people as “family” or “close friends”, they’ll typically appear somewhere near the top. The other top friends in my case are people I interact most frequently with, generally speaking. It seems to be based on the intensity of contact – the frequency, anyway, more than in the “box of 9”. But it seems to be a mixture of recent and older contact.
    Then I picked out a “test subject” and viewed his profile very often, daily, downloading pictures and clicking on his updates, etc. Guess what, he very quickly moved up in the list all of a sudden… which means that the friends order on this grid view is also quite a lot based on your own actions.

    Such a pity, I would have loved to know who visits my profile the most!! But it seems I’m not even close yet to discovering how to find that out…
    - HS

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  50. So its nice to see this blog is still going. I have a 'friend' (This guy and I sorta dated for like 3 months) that always shows up in 1 of the 9 boxes on to the left of my feed on my profile page. I unfollowed him back in Feb so i didn't have to see his posts in the news feed. I've only looked at his profile 2 times since the beginning of Feb and liked a couple posts or photos. He is always in 1 of the 9 boxes. Usually in the 1st row. I really don't want to see his pic every time on on because it reminds me of him and makes me sad. Any clue why his pic shows up all the time and how I can make it so it doesn't. I do not want to un-friend him. We're still friends... Also, he likes the majority of my posts that have pictures. Maybe 50-75% of all my posts in total. Is he showing up there because of the frequency in which he likes my stuff or looks at my profile? I'm certainly not looking at his profile or commenting or liking anything on his page. Just trying to not have that reminder of him....

    Thx,
    PL

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  51. I am still observing the FB friends order in grid view and "the 9".

    1) In "the 9", people typically appear when I like or comment on some of their posts. They stay there for a while (the order regularly changes though) and are then replaced by other friends when I like or comment their stuff. Likes, birthday wishes, comments on pictures etc. As far as my 9 are concerned, this basically seems to be the logic behind it. I don't think profile views or clicks count here.

    2) The grid view logic seems to be a bit more complex, and to take into account a number of factors. I believe it takes into account, amongst other things:
    YOUR OWN ACTIVITY
    - whose profile you regularly view
    - whose posts you click on in the news feed
    - whose posts you like or comment on
    - the friends you chat with (mutual PM or chat)
    - birthday wishes
    YOUR FRIEND'S ACTIVITY
    - who views your profile or clicks on your posts in the news feed
    - who likes or comments on your posts
    - the friends you chat with (mutual)

    So I think profile views from friends actually count as an interaction and influence the friends order in grid view, but it's not the only factor. I do think views or clicks on your posts will put a friend higher in grid view. I noticed one person that I suspect to be clicking on my pictures, even go right to the number 1 position just after I posted a picture and he was online; it was not because I viewed his profile or clicked on his stuff. I posted my picture, logged out, then 2 hours later logged in again and he suddenly came from the #5 position to the #1 position in grid view. While the other friends' order there didn't change much... I suspect it's profile views or clicking on pictures, downloading pictures maybe and the like.

    In order for a friend to be very high in the grid view ranking (positions #1 to #5), however I do think the interest has to be mutual (profile views, likes, comments OR chat...). I do also regularly like stuff of the friends that are in my top 5.

    Furthermore, I think FB makes a summary of activities from your side and from your friends' side, and thus determines the ranking.

    They also say the activities are considered taking into account your total activity on Facebook. Surely this would be the case for your own activities, probably less so for your friends' activities, I guess the algorithm takes into account only the actions of your friend concerning your profile - but it probably doesn't give those actions more or less importance depending on your friend's total FB activity...

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  52. I forgot to mention 2 more findings about grid view and "the 9":
    - People you have defined as family members will typically be high positioned in grid view.
    - I believe that grid view makes a summary of all the criteria I mentioned above, on both long and short term; whereas "the 9" seem to be more determined by recent activities.

    Best,

    HS

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  53. Thanks, good article. Probably the Facebook and WatsApp commun data is somehow taking into account by the alghoritm ...Both are from the same people

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