Oh, so I'M the creepy one. Thanks, FB.
August 26, 2010 6:44 PM   Subscribe

Yet another FaceBook friends question: Is FaceBook now spoofing friend requests? A few times now, I feel like I've been "tricked" into friending someone I only casually know.

So I like to keep my 'friends' list down to a reasonable facsimile of people who are actually friends (and family), not just any person I see sometimes. Lately, I've occasionally been getting the red notification thing telling me I have a friend request. When I click on it, I get the standard 'friend request from Tonya Harding.'

So now I'm saying to myself, ah shit. I hardly even know Tonya. I just met her at work. She's like two levels of supervisor above me in another department. We haven't been out or even had a non-business conversation. But then, I don't DISlike her. So what to do? I don't ponder this too long, I just hit accept, whatever. If it's not awkward for her, then fine.

Here's the part that pisses me off. Now I get the "Your friend request has been sent" and now I have a pending request for Tonya Harding to be my friend. So now Tonya is going through this same thought process on her end. "ctmf, wtf. I just met that dude... etc."

So is FaceBook doing this, or is it that maybe Tonya requested to be a friend and then canceled it, or what? It's happened a few times now, and I think it's too much coincidence to be the latter.

Related question: if you request someone to be a friend, and then immediately cancel the request (good luck figuring out how to do that "immediately," though, if you don't already know,) does the other person see anything later?
posted by ctmf to Computers & Internet (31 answers total)
Best answer: You're probably not getting friend requests -- you're getting friend SUGGESTIONS. They look just like friend requests and show up in similar places, and you have to be really careful to read what it's actually telling you.
posted by brainmouse at 6:45 PM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

Bingo- some friend of you and Tonya thought the two of you might like to be friends, so they sent a Friend Suggestion. I think it's possible that once you ignore such a suggestion, it disappears from the other person's request box, but I'm not sure.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:48 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Is this a change, now suggestions show up as the little red number badge at the top? That would make me unhappy. (but then, now that I know to watch out for that, whatever. Also, what do I want for free? etc.)
posted by ctmf at 6:48 PM on August 26, 2010

Facebook culls your list of friends and suggests friends to you on the basis of mutual affiliation.

Whether you act on these suggestions is up to you.
posted by dfriedman at 6:48 PM on August 26, 2010

I think people are misunderstanding the OP.

Those friend suggestions show up on the right side of the screen, two at a time. They are not supposed to show up with the red notification thing at the top left.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what's going on with this.
posted by jejune at 6:53 PM on August 26, 2010

I should add: I haven't experienced it myself, and I use Facebook every day. Something's not right about this.
posted by jejune at 6:54 PM on August 26, 2010

I have, on several occasions, gotten the red notification icon for friend suggestions, whether I was supposed to or not...
posted by brainmouse at 6:54 PM on August 26, 2010

It sounds pretty distinct from the suggestion box, actually. I get friend suggestions in the usual place, but I never get them as friend request notifications with the little red thingy.
posted by Gator at 6:54 PM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: There's more than one kind of suggestion. There's the kind where someone, a person, specifically suggests that you become friends with so-and-so, and you'll get the red thingy for that. That's different from the suggestion box, where it's Facebook making suggestions on your behalf.
posted by Gator at 6:56 PM on August 26, 2010 [6 favorites]

...So maybe that's what's happening here (as I try to juggle my phone and being on hold and off with my car insurance company while commenting on MetaFilter) -- someone else is suggesting you become a friend of Tonya Harding and you didn't realize it wasn't her?
posted by Gator at 6:59 PM on August 26, 2010

it's not friend suggestions on the right - that's culled by facebook.

brainmouse and thepinksuperhero are right - a friend that knows you and tonya think you should be friends and has sent the suggestion. these show up on the notification at the top and are counted as pending friend requests.

in tiny print below the suggestion it says "This friend was suggested by ___________". next time it happens you can see who is doing it and ask them to stop.
posted by nadawi at 6:59 PM on August 26, 2010

Response by poster: Yes, exactly. I'm getting the red number '1' on my friend request icon, like you get when someone sends you a message. When I click it, it looks exactly (to my not-expecting-to-get-fooled glance) like a friend request.
posted by ctmf at 7:00 PM on August 26, 2010

I have had the same thing happen to me. I put it down to the fact that I am a pretty irregular facebook user, so in my case I can believe that it actually is a facebook suggestion made to look like a friend request.
posted by Lesium at 7:05 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: it's not facebook being evil. it is absolutely someone else on your friends list. go to tonya's page, see who you have in common. it's one of those people who sent the suggestion.

when you get a legitimate friend request, as in - someone requested to be your friend - you're asked to "confirm" or "ignore". when you get a friend suggestion from a mutual friend you're asked "add as friend" or "ignore".

you can also look at your "requests page" - here they will separate out "friend suggestions" and "friend requests".
posted by nadawi at 7:13 PM on August 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

There are two types of friend suggestions on Facebook. There's the one that Facebook thinks you might know. This shows up in the side bar, in place of ads, etc. This does not show up on your friend requests page.

The other type of friend suggestions is when one of your friends suggests you become friends with someone else. This DOES show up on the Friend Requests page, right next to your regular friend requests. I believe the button you push is worded slightly different ("Request Friend" vs "Add Friend" or something along the lines) and I think it says that Bob Doe suggested you become friends, but if you're not paying close attention, it looks just like a normal friend request.

This latter friend suggestion is what you're seeing.
posted by icebourg at 7:20 PM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: On the general "friend request" page, it will say "Suggested by [mutual friend]" below friends that are suggested by other people. Furthermore, actual friend requests will have buttons for "Confirm/Ignore" and suggested friends will have buttons for "Add As Friend/Ignore."
posted by rhizome at 7:30 PM on August 26, 2010

The exact same thing happened to me (and my sister, as the suggestion/request/whatever was someone we both vaguely know). I somehow canceled the request within a few seconds (though I don't recall how), and I'm not friends with the person, who I assume would have accepted my request, but my sister is, because she didn't cancel it.

I've gotten friend suggestions from Facebook (on the right-hand side) and from other friends (saying "so and so suggests you be friends with x" or something like that) but this was worded much more similarly to a friend request, so I assume Facebook has again changed something. My sister, who is much more Facebook-savvy and a much more frequenter user had the same reaction.
posted by Caz721 at 7:33 PM on August 26, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, guys that must be it. Although, the buttons must be labeled VERY closely the same, because I wouldn't click "request" friend. It would have to be called 'confirm' or something like that. (I think. I'll have to wait until it happens again to check it out.)

So, is the whole thing invisible to Tonya that I requested and then cancelled, assuming she wasn't online at that moment? The latest one is one of those situations where it might be inappropriate and puzzling for ME to request that of HER, but (unlike previous cases) I would actually not think twice about clicking ok if she requested to be my friend (even if I can't imagine why she would.) Unfortunately, we've had some inapropriate gender-related behavior at work lately (not involving me, and I'd like to keep it that way.)

p.s. This is not a lisp program. I just overuse parentheses, ok? I'm getting help with that.
posted by ctmf at 7:36 PM on August 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

whoops, i got it slightly wrong. FB only tells you who suggested the friend if you go to "see all..." at the bottom.
posted by rhizome at 7:40 PM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: Just because I haven't been incoherent enough here, I logged into a FB sockpuppet of mine, and I actually have one of these right now -- One of my friends suggested I add another person as a friend, and it's showing up in the upper lefthand corner where the normal friend requests go, right next to the FB logo. The confirmation button in that spot simply says "Add as friend" (not "confirm") and there is NO indication that it's a "suggestion" at all. If I click through to my "requests" page, which is where all friend requests show up in addition to game requests and group invitations, THAT is where the tiny text saying, "This friend was suggested by so-and-so" appears.
posted by Gator at 7:42 PM on August 26, 2010

I have noticed the same thing. It seemed to be definitely in the first part, under 'requests', not suggestions. It only happened once, now I hesitate to accept any friends requests. (backfire for FB)

If it does happen, go to your friends list, find the person. You should be able to cancel the request there. I do not know if they see it or not.
posted by Vaike at 7:45 PM on August 26, 2010

Screenshot, and the requests page.
posted by Gator at 7:50 PM on August 26, 2010

Slightly off topic but still in the same vein (and useful for anyone using the iPhone FB app) - friend suggestions show up as friend requests in the mobile version of FB, at least on the iPhone. Suggestions actually made to you by other friends, that is. At least on my phone.
posted by DuckGirl at 8:01 PM on August 26, 2010

Best answer: Whether or not it's invisible to Tonya depends on her notification settings. If she has it set to email her when she gets a friend request, then facebook sent that email and obviously can't un-send it. If she happened to be on facebook when you sent it, she got the notification in facebook. If she wasn't on facebook and she doesn't have email notifications, it's very possible she never knew about it.
posted by brainmouse at 9:17 PM on August 26, 2010

I got an email notification once, and when I clicked the link to go to facebook, it gave me a "page doesn't exist" error, and I could not see the person's page. I assume that something like you describe (they cancelled the request) was what happened. If Tonya has notifications set up, and if she's tech/fb savvy enough to figure it out, it seems like she might know what happened. You could always chalk it up to a fb fluke though.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 6:26 AM on August 27, 2010

This explains everything. This happened to me; I clicked (what I assumed was) "Accept request" only to have it send a request to her. It freaked me out. I don't like it. Very conniving, Facebook.
posted by good day merlock at 8:28 AM on August 27, 2010

The OP is describing it correctly, and some of the answerers are behind the times. Whereas up until a few days ago it was possible (though not easy) to distinguish *requests* from *suggestions* via the "suggested by" note -- that's gone now.

So the situation the OP relates is a distinct possibility and is doubtless generating millions of unintended friend requests.

See my later post and answers.

posted by LonnieK at 6:33 AM on August 29, 2010

fwiw - i'm still seeing a separation of friends and suggestions and there's still the difference of real fried requests asking you to "confirm" or "ignore" and friend suggestions asking you to "add a friend" or "ignore". friend suggestions still have the "suggested by" link as well. it's a lot easier to see the difference if you have 1 of each in your account.
posted by nadawi at 11:26 AM on August 29, 2010

Response by poster: They are different if you know the trick, or if you click through to the requests summary page before accepting. The latest difference is making them visually very similar on the quick dropdown at the top of the front page. They took away the "suggested by" line there. (At least for me. Maybe they don't roll out changes to everyone at once?)

I kind of suspect it was intentional that "add as friend" can seem like the answer to a request, and isn't more explicit that it's you doing the requesting the way it would be if it was labeled "send friend request" or something like that. I've gotten these suggestions in the past and it was more obvious then, saying "[so and so] suggested a friend for you!" It's no longer like that.
posted by ctmf at 11:54 AM on August 29, 2010

ctmf -- can you walk me thru? I see no way to do this:
>>> click through to the requests summary page
posted by LonnieK at 12:22 PM on August 29, 2010

Response by poster: LonnieK: well, now I can't be sure because I already ignored the one I had and the list is empty. See how if you click the notifications icon, the last item is "See All Notifications?" I assume when I have a friend request or suggestion, a similar "See All Friend Requests" or something will show up in the friends drop-down.

I know that, from your home page (click the facebook icon), in the right-hand column everyone ignores, is "Requests [space] See All." If you click see all, you get a summary of all the Farmville crap, group invitations, event invitations, etc. In that list, friend suggestions and friend requests are listed separately. The trouble was, now that they've put the accept request button in the quick drop-down list, I never looked at that page.
posted by ctmf at 12:44 PM on August 29, 2010

« Older How good can a mobile phone speaker be?   |   Learning curve? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.