In 2013, how does Facebook spoof friend requests?
January 15, 2013 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Is Facebook still spoofing friend requests?

This question is from a long time ago, and Facebook doesn't appear to conform to the behavior described in the best answers any longer.

My specific circumstance is that Facebook is telling me of friend requests from people I barely know and, in one case, someone who I believe may not actually want to get in touch with me again. How (in January 2013) can I tell between someone who actually wants to get back in touch and someone who Facebook has decided I should get in touch with regardless of any past drama?

Please no "if you don't want to friend them, don't friend them" answers. I honestly believe people can change—including hopefully me—and the fact that I don't want to upset someone by erroneously contacting them on Facebook is proof.
posted by infinitewindow to Human Relations (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Facebook is still conforming to the behavior in those best answers for me -- if someone has actually requested to add me as a friend, the button I see says "Confirm". Otherwise -- if it's a friend suggestion or something like that -- it will say "Add Friend" or something else. But if it says "confirm," that person has requested to add you as a friend (note that it's possible that these people got tricked on their end and thought you had added them, so it may not be the reaching-out overture it might be otherwise).
posted by brainmouse at 1:18 PM on January 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure if this is what you're asking about, but this may help:

co-workers and I were recently creating test FB accounts and noticed we had friend requests *instantly* upon creation. But it wasn't spam, because we sort of knew some of the people.

You know that feature where people click "find friends from my email address book?" It seems that once you do that, it doesn't do it just once, but kind of "keeps an eye out" forever, and if you join FB with a certain email address, you may get friend requests from people you emailed once like 8 years ago.
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:19 PM on January 15, 2013

I don't know about spoofing, but Facebook has tools to upload your email address book, so I get requests from people I barely know but had sent an email to years ago.
posted by RobotHero at 1:21 PM on January 15, 2013

What brainmouse said probably with a side of robothero. If a person actually requested to be your friend there will be two buttons "Confirm" & "Ignore" if it is merely a suggestion from facebook the button says "+1 Add Friend". Both actual requests and "People You May Know" suggestions are in the drop down if you hit the notification icon at the top.

But yeah a lot of new people to facebook, and usually those less internet savvy, end up inviting their whole email address book because they just hit select all when going through the process.
posted by magnetsphere at 1:37 PM on January 15, 2013

They definitely keep those address books around. Mrs. mmascolino is an elementary and middle school teacher and when she signed up with facebook using the e-mail address that was published on the school web site she got lots of former student and parent friend requests almost immediately. Freaked her out completely. We deleted that account and signed up with Facebook again using an e-mail address that she has never given to anyone. Now she only gets friend requests through people actively requesting it.
posted by mmascolino at 2:41 PM on January 15, 2013

What roborhero said. It scans your address book and sends friend requests to everyone in it.
posted by cnc at 3:11 PM on January 15, 2013

RobotHero: I don't know about spoofing, but Facebook has tools to upload your email address book, so I get requests from people I barely know but had sent an email to years ago.

That is exactly why I never gave Facebook access to my address book.

To clarify, though: are you talking about friend requests or friend suggestions? They're not the same. A request means that someone else has asked to be your friend. A suggestion means that Facebook's algorithms have decided you might know one another, based not only on your email, but also on your home town, the schools you attended, the places you worked, your age, etc.
posted by brianogilvie at 3:25 PM on January 15, 2013

A few months ago I noticed an uptick in friend requests--and these were actual requests, not suggestions--from people I had mutual friends with but did not know at all, and realized that the commonality was that I had commented on a mutual friend's status shortly before the request. My best guess was that these people had accidentally hit the "Add Friend" button on a touchscreen device, which is surprisingly easy to do (I've done it myself), and might not even have been aware they did so.
posted by beryllium at 5:13 PM on January 15, 2013

To clarify, talking about friend requests that offer a choice between Confirm and Not Now. Add Friend and Ignore are not available. These aren't new accounts either; they've been around for years. I haven't sent some of these folks emails ever. Others I emailed well after their FB accounts were established, and I kinda doubt people will load their email address books more than once.

But these answers are useful, thanks a bunch.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:53 PM on January 15, 2013

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