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Phantom Mutual Friend on Facebook?
June 3, 2011 8:11 PM   Subscribe

When I search for some people on Facebook, the search results note that we have "one mutual friend" but when I got to the profile page, no one is listed (either on the right or in the list of friends). What's going on?

I am friends with Amy but I cannot see her friend list. When I search for people she is friends with (but I am not), I get a mix of responses. Some people's profile pages link Amy as a mutual friend, but other people's pages do not; however, when I search for the latter, the search yields "one mutual friend." It's just that when I click on the profile page no mutual friend is listed.

As an FYI, I was under the impression that Amy was no longer friends with the latter-i.e., those people that are coming up with the mysterious mutual friend.

What's going on?

Please spare me the "think-about-what-you're-doing" comments. I just want to understand the mechanics of this.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
It sounds like the people you are not friends with have their privacy settings arranged so that only their friends can see their friends list.
posted by palomar at 8:34 PM on June 3, 2011


Some people's profile pages link Amy as a mutual friend, but other people's pages do not; however, when I search for the latter, the search yields "one mutual friend."

The people in the second group clearly have some privacy setting configured more restrictively than the default. My bet would be that they don't allow non-friends to see their friends list. This is configured, from the Privacy Settings page, by clicking "View Settings" under "Connecting on Facebook" and then changing the setting for "See your friend list." You could test this, if you want to be sure, by asking a mutual friend to change this setting for you on their account temporarily.
posted by RogerB at 8:35 PM on June 3, 2011


RogerB has it right. I have FB set so that only my friends can see my list of friends. This means that if I am friends with Amy and not you, you will be able to send me a friend request, but you will not see my list of friends.

You can customize any of this stuff, so it's possible that Amy has it set so that no one can see her list of friends--or maybe so that you can't see her list of friends. It's up to her. I do know that some people accept friends requests from people they'd rather not be too involved with on FB, so then they really lock down their settings for those folks.
posted by bluedaisy at 9:15 PM on June 3, 2011


It's possible the mutual friend has you blocked. You'll never see their profile but you both have a friend in common.
posted by dobbs at 11:18 PM on June 4, 2011


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