How to Turn Off Friend Suggestions on Facebook Once and For All

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Hey there! If you‘re tired of constant notifications prompting you to add new Facebook friends, I‘ve got your back. I‘ll walk you through exactly how to disable friend suggestions on Facebook, both on mobile and desktop.

By the end of this guide, you‘ll never see another "People You May Know" notification again. Sound good? Then let‘s get started!

Why Does Facebook Keep Suggesting Random Friends?

Before we dive in, let‘s chat for a sec about why Facebook bombards you with friend recommendations in the first place. I promise there‘s a logic to it!

See, Facebook really cares about one key metric: daily active users. The more people who log into Facebook every single day, the more money they make by showing you ads. Simple as that.

Back in Facebook‘s early days when it was still a fledgling start-up, their growth team discovered something fascinating:

Users who connected with at least 7 friends within 10 days of signing up were way more likely to keep using Facebook regularly.

This critical insight became known internally as the "aha moment." It led Facebook to focus heavily on suggestions to boost new user retention.

15 years later, Facebook has refined its friend recommendation engine into a core part of the user experience. Today it leverages complex machine learning algorithms to analyze your profile and determine which potential friends are most relevant to you.

But even though friend suggestions are a big driver of Facebook‘s growth, they clearly annoy a ton of people too.

That‘s why Facebook allows you to disable recommendations. Keeping users happy and in control matters to their business model as well.

Alright, now that you‘ve got the backstory, let‘s dig into the step-by-step process for turning off friend suggestions!

How to Stop Friend Recommendations on Mobile

If you primarily use Facebook on your iPhone, Android or other mobile device, disabling friend suggestions is easy. Here‘s exactly how to do it:

  1. Open up the Facebook app and tap the ≡ hamburger menu icon up in the top right corner.

  2. Scroll down and select Settings & Privacy.

  3. Tap on Settings (it‘ll have a little gear icon next to it).

  4. Tap Notifications from the menu.

  5. Scroll down and select the People You May Know option.

  6. Turn off the toggle next to Get Notifications.

And that‘s it! This stops Facebook from sending you any alerts about new friend recommendations on your mobile device.

I‘d suggest repeating these steps on any other smartphones or tablets you use as well. That way you have friend suggestions disabled everywhere.

It only takes about a minute to complete the process. So take a moment now to knock it out on your iPhone, Android or iPad. I‘ll wait here.

How to Turn Off Friend Suggestions on Desktop

Alright, now let‘s tackle disabling recommendations on the Facebook website when you‘re on your computer.

Here are the steps to turn off friend suggestions on desktop:

  1. Click the ▼ arrow on the top right of Facebook and choose Settings & Privacy.

  2. Select Settings from the menu.

  3. Click Notifications in the left sidebar.

  4. Scroll down and find the People You May Know section.

  5. Toggle the switch off next to Get Notifications.

  6. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

That will prevent any friend recommendations from appearing when you‘re browsing Facebook on your laptop or desktop computer.

Does This Remove Me From Showing Up as a Suggestion?

Now just bear in mind – the steps above only stop Facebook from notifying you about potential new friends.

It doesn‘t actually remove your profile from showing up in other people‘s People You May Know recommendations.

If you want to go fully incognito and prevent people from discovering you on Facebook, you‘ll need to dial back some privacy settings:

  • Set Who can see your friends list to Only Me or Friends
  • Limit Who can see the people, Pages and lists you follow to Only Me
  • Restrict Who can see posts you‘re tagged in on your profile to Friends
  • Change Who can send you friend requests to Friends of Friends
  • Disable allowing search engines outside Facebook to link to your profile

Tweaking those will dramatically reduce how often you pop up as a suggestion. But it‘s impossible to remove your profile 100% without deleting your account entirely.

What Data Points Does Facebook Use to Suggest Friends?

Curious exactly how Facebook‘s algorithm determines who gets recommended to you as a potential friend? Their models tap into several key data points:

  • Mutual friends – The #1 factor. Lots of friends in common = higher chance of suggestion.

  • Location data – Frequently appearing in the same city/place flags you as possibly knowing each other.

  • Workplace – Went to the same school or worked for the same employer? That‘s a signal.

  • Event attendance – Both RSVP‘d to the same conference or concert? Another strong signal.

  • Interests – Liking the same niche Pages indicates you may get along.

  • Contacts – Uploading addresses links people already in your contacts list.

  • Search history – Some reports of searching a profile triggering a suggestion afterward.

Facebook combines all these signals to rank which recommendations are most relevant. More data points in common = higher ranking. Pretty clever stuff!

How Many New Friends Does Facebook Drive Annually?

Facebook‘s growth team doesn‘t reveal exact numbers. But they‘ve dropped hints that friend suggestions drive "billions" of new connections every year.

To put that into perspective, Facebook averages around 2-3 billion new friendships formed per year. So friend suggestions could be responsible for 50-100% of all new relationships on the platform!

Even if only 5-10% of suggested friends get accepted, that still translates into massive growth thanks to Facebook‘s scale.

Why You Shouldn‘t Delete Friend Requests From Strangers

When you get a notification about a new friend recommendation, you‘ll occasionally see someone who‘s a total stranger.

You might be tempted to just delete or block these random people. But hold up! Deleting requests from strangers can actually penalize your account.

Here‘s why:

Facebook‘s algorithm monitors how you respond to suggestions. If you instantly reject people you don‘t know, it assumes you don‘t want new friends at all.

So Facebook will stop showing your profile to others, since you appear uninterested in meeting new people.

Instead, it‘s best to just ignore the request and leave it. That signals an openness to suggestions in general, just not that specific one.

Obviously delete any requests that seem sketchy or fake. But for normal strangers, just letting it expire is smarter.

How Turning Off Suggestions Impacts Your Privacy

Apart from reducing distractions, what‘s the actual privacy benefit of disabling friend recommendations on Facebook?

Well first off, it prevents random strangers from being able to send you requests. This reduces risks like:

  • Scammers or multi-level marketing spammers adding you
  • Bots and fake accounts trying to phish you
  • Sketchy people finding and targeting you

Secondly, disabling suggestions also stops Facebook from notifying your friends when you show up as a recommendation.

So they won‘t be prompted to add you if you‘d rather avoid that social awkwardness.

Finally, reducing recommendations also gives you greater control over who can contact you. It‘s one less avenue for unwelcome outreach.

So while the core privacy benefits relate to reducing unsolicited contact, every small win matters!

Should You Worry About Identity Theft from Friend Requests?

Identity theft is always a concern when strangers can interact with you online. However, accepting a dubious friend request on its own poses little identity theft risk.

Scammers would need to use the connection to actively phish you via messages or posts. Just being Facebook friends doesn‘t expose much.

That said, here are smart precautions to take:

  • Never accept requests from people you can‘t identify. Verify you know who they are first.

  • Watch for impersonator accounts. Scammers steal profile photos to look legit. Double check it‘s really your friend.

  • Avoid clicking sketchy links or giving personal info to strangers. Once connected, scammers can try phishing you.

  • Review your privacy settings. Restrict what new friends can see to be safe.

  • Monitor tags carefully. Don‘t let new friends tag you in posts without approval.

  • Report fakes. If an accepted request does end up being an impostor, report them to Facebook.

Following basic precautions like that minimizes any identity theft risk from new friend connections.

Can You Re-Enable Friend Suggestions If You Change Your Mind?

Let‘s say you disable friend recommendations using the steps above, but later decide you want them back. Can you undo it and re-enable the notifications?

The good news is yes, you can! If you want friend suggestions again in the future, just head back to the notification settings:

On mobile:

  1. Go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Notifications

  2. Tap People You May Know

  3. Turn the notifications toggle back on

On desktop:

  1. Go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Notifications

  2. In the People You May Know section, turn notifications back on

  3. Click Save Changes

Facebook will resume showing you friend recommendations within a day or two once you re-enable them. So don‘t worry about the change being permanent if you do disable them for now.

Can You Limit Suggestions to Friends of Friends Only?

Some Facebook users wish they could keep getting recommendations, just filtered to friends of friends only. This would remove strangers while retaining relevant suggestions.

Unfortunately, there is no setting to only show friend of friend recommendations currently. The only options are:

  • Enable friend suggestions
  • Disable friend suggestions

Your best bet is keeping notifications enabled but increasing your privacy settings to limit who can contact you (as outlined earlier). This reduces irrelevant strangers while still surfacing friend of friend connections.

How Often Does Facebook Show Friend Suggestions?

If you leave notifications enabled, how frequently should you expect new friend recommendations?

There‘s no exact cadence. Facebook‘s algorithm calculates relevance scores in real-time based on your latest activity and profile changes.

So you may get a flurry of suggestions some days when you update info, visit Events, add photos in a new place, etc.

Other days you may get zero if there are no new strong recommendation candidates.

On average, expect to see 2-5 new friend suggestions per week. But spike periods can drive dozens after major activity.

Overall Facebook tries to balance relevance with avoiding fatigue. Too many and users get annoyed. Too few and they stop discovering new connections.

Clever Ways to Find Old Friends on Facebook

Beyond suggestions, you can hunt down old classmates, colleagues, acquaintances and friends using some clever Facebook search tricks:

  • Search your hometown or university name and filter by people.

  • Search your dorm name, graduation year, clubs etc. to find groups you belonged to.

  • Search companies you worked for and look under their People tab.

  • Check out friends lists of close friends for mutual connections you may have forgotten.

  • Type friends‘ names into search as you recall them to see if they have accounts.

  • Browse alumni and city Facebook groups related to places you lived previously.

Taking the time to manually search using these approaches can surface lots of forgotten connections that friend suggestions may miss!

Should You Submit Feedback to Facebook About Bad Recommendations?

If you notice Facebook recommending strangers with nothing in common, should you submit feedback? Report issues?

While that seems logical, unfortunately Facebook doesn‘t provide an easy way to report or dispute specific friend recommendations.

Your best recourse is hiding or blocking the suggestion, which sends a passive signal about relevance.

Or you can disable notifications entirely if you find too many suggestions unhelpful.

But take comfort that all actions you take on suggestions do feed back into Facebook‘s machine learning models. So wrong recommendations indirectly teach it over time.

Let‘s say there are certain people on Facebook you do not want recommended as friends under any circumstances.

For example, an ex you avoid, a bully from school, your boss – anyone awkward.

Is there any way to block just them from potentially showing up as friend suggestions to you or mutual connections?

Unfortunately, no. Facebook‘s system is fully automated based on relevance. There‘s no setting to blacklist specific people from ever being suggested.

Your best options are:

  • Unfriend or block the person so they can‘t be linked as a mutual friend.

  • Ask any mutual friends to remove the person too. Fewer social ties means lower suggestion chance.

  • Keep friend recommendations turned off everywhere to avoid surprise suggestions.

  • Strengthen other privacy settings like restricting who can search for you.

Basically reducing social overlap and contacts can minimize the risk, but it‘s never 100% avoidable.

What Are Some Fun Ways to Use Friend Suggestions?

While friend recommendations can feel annoying and invasive, they can spark fun social moments too! Some ideas:

  • Scroll with friends – Swap phones and go through each other‘s suggestions to reminisce about mutual friends from the past.

  • Networking opportunity – Message professional suggestions to ask career advice or make business connections.

  • Find travel companions – Suggestions who live in upcoming travel destinations can help plan your trip.

  • Make group chats – Add multiple suggestions to start chats around shared interests and activities.

  • Play matchmaker – You can nudge two suggestions into meeting if you think they‘d hit it off!

Taking an active role in recommendations can lead to positive new relationships. But filtering out the noise first is key.

Expert Tips to Avoid Fake Friend Requests

Here are my top pro tips for spotting and handling fake/scammy friend requests:

✔️ Check their friend list – Scammers rarely bother filling out connections.

✔️ Reverse image search their profile photo – Fakes often steal others‘ pics.

✔️ Look for freshly made accounts – Creation date tells you a lot.

✔️ Watch for phone/email in profile – Common scam info tactic.

✔️ Verify mutual friends – Bots won‘t have many (or any) overlapping.

✔️ Ask how you‘re connected – No answer or vague reply = likely fake.

✔️ Report suspicious behavior so Facebook can shut them down.

Following this advice helps avoid 99% of fake friend requests floating around!

Is Facebook Growing More Internationally Now?

Facebook‘s growth in the United States and other developed countries has slowed dramatically in recent years. Nearly everyone already has an account.

For continued growth, Facebook is now pinning its hopes on international emergence. The platform is ramping up investments in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and South America.

These regions have massive young populations coming online for the first time ever. And mobile internet is spreading like wildfire, fueling social media adoption.

That‘s why Facebook is so focused on developing optimized mobile apps and infrastructure. The developing world is the next big opportunity for user and revenue growth.

Key Takeaways and Conclusion

Phew, we covered a ton of ground here! Let‘s recap the key takeaways around controlling friend suggestions on Facebook:

🔹 Disabling notifications stops Facebook prompting you about new friends, but doesn‘t remove your profile from being suggested.

🔹 Tightening privacy settings limits your visibility to reduce how often you get recommended.

🔹 Friend suggestions are a core growth engine for Facebook, driving billions of new connections per year.

🔹 Don‘t instantly reject every stranger recommended to avoid limiting your visibility.

🔹 Take precautions when accepting requests to prevent scams and identity theft.

🔹 Manual browsing and searching can also surface lots of potential friends.

I hope these tips help you clean up friend suggestions on Facebook and restore some sanity!

While recommendations can be intrusive at times, they also help people reconnect in powerful ways. Finding the right balance is key.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to chat more about locking down privacy and taking control of your Facebook experience.

Talk soon,

[Your Name]

Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.