Facebook Stalker List Mystery - My Guess

May 13th, 2008

What?
My guess on what’s behind the mystery Facebook Stalker list that shows up when you hit “.” (period) in the friend search box. (see http://gawker.com/390004/a-facebook-oddity).

How?
The search box detects key strokes in order to give you a list of friends you might be looking for. There are two ingredients that goes into making that list:

  1. The letters you’ve typed
  2. A facebook preference algorithm that determines who you’re most likely to be looking for

Why?
The search box responds not only to periods, but also hyphens and quotes (-, and ). When you type one of these characters, the search box tries to determine who you are looking for, but has only the second ingredient to go on. Thus it simply picks a selection of 5 people that you are highly connected with, by whatever metrics Facebook use to determine connectedness.

6 Responses to “Facebook Stalker List Mystery - My Guess”

  1. Joe Flesh Says:

    Facebook has fixed this, now you just get a list of your first 5 friends in a list sorted A-Z by first name. This might partially support your hypothesis. If there was some kind of very general query happening when you typed ‘.’, now they’ve just applied a sort to the results of that query. I’m not sure it even has anything to do with a ‘connectedness’ algorithm. I think that it just returned results in a random order determined by the mysterious inner workings of their backend database.

  2. Karl Norby Says:

    I get the same thing Joe described, but I seem to remember *always* getting the first five people alphabetically. Have you been getting something different? I am somewhat unconvinced that anyone has….

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  6. calorieman Says:

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