Facebook Top Friends & Who Ends Up in There: Some comments from readers


I still wonder about it, and looks like a lot of you do too – with our story on Facebook’s Top Friends Box and who ends up in there getting over 700 comments.

By the top friends box we mean the 10 faces that appear under your profile picture on your personal page. It changed in December 2010 when Facebook introduced a swathe of updates to how the profile page looks.

Thing was, the 15-20 people who regularly showed up in my 10 spots weren’t random but didn’t seem to be there for a very good reason either. They just weren’t the people that I interacted with most.

When we suggested that Facebook might be taking into account who was clicking on your profile several Facebook representatives rang us up and reiterated forcefully that that was *not* the case.

Their explanation:
The people who show up there are the people you have interacted with most with on Facebook (the past month and a half) – taking into account a few other factors like photos you’ve been tagged in together and how long you’ve been friends and who they think you might like to reconnect with. (In more detail here)

It’s all based on public interaction.

NB: You can customise the box to chose who shows up in there but most people leave it on the default.

Anyway, these are just a few of the many comments that were left on the post, highlighting some interesting experiences. Of course a lot of them involve that most painful of Facebook experiences – your ex. I loved this comment:

“Hahaha this has turned from FACEBOOK FRIENDSLIST CHAT into DATING ADVICE 101 :)”

But there’s a lot of interesting insight in here too. I’ll probably do another post pulling it together.

I LOVE THIS FEATURE, I dont really care who can see me on their friendslist or know Im creeping, this is the life of facebook and we are supposed to creep. If you dont like people creeping you, then dont have a profile. Or put them on super limited

Seems to take public interactions you’ve had (likes, comments, etc.) & combine it with who’s been viewing your profile.
For example, I commented on a relative’s wall for her birthday a couple of months ago, then we met up a few nights ago. Coincidentally, her name began appearing in the “Top 10” list a day later. I hadn’t viewed her profile since wishing her a happy birthday so chances are, after getting together with me, she decided to view my profile.
Also tested the theory out from the other side. I chose a friend who had liked or commented on a status of mine, then began viewing her profile. I refreshed the page a couple of times and voila, I began appearing in her list of ten people.
The last example is tricky- I’ve been visiting my ex’s page quite frequently & liked maybe one of his posts. It’s driving me crazy because he keeps appearing on my list of 10 people & I can’t figure out whether he’s there because I’m viewing his page a lot or he’s viewing mine. Either way, it’s a breach of privacy. What makes it more confusing is the fact that there are other people’s pages I visit & comment on a lot & they’re not appearing in my list.
What I don’t like about this new format is that there is absolutely no control over who appears in the list, as with the old facebook format. Even if you make your own list, the default list shows up as well.
Has anyone else seen this trend?

Well I’ve always been supersuperrrr suspicious about this. And the new Facebook Profile makes wayyy more sense. I completely agree with you. As for the Facebook spokesperson, of course they’re gonna come up with something like that. And I truly understand that because of the privacy rules.
But here’s the thing: my top ten friends pretty much never changes. There are a few I contact with a lot but there are also a shit load of people I don’t have “public contact” with. Those are the people though who I would assume to visit my page a lot, my ex for example.
But then: I’ve been uploading a lotttt of family pics these days en pretty much my whole family left a comment so if they visit my page, why are they not showing in the list?
It’s definitely not random. And it’s definitely not based on “public contact” either. Oh and also when you click on the “friends” button right above the friends list I see the same people over and over again. There’s something up with that too.

WOW! I was already thinking this because a guy who’s profile I have been avoiding looking at and haven’t interacted with publicly since early last fall kept showing up on my list… So I decided to try snooping on my ex’s profile, refreshing about 10 times, but I didn’t see myself show up, and now a half hour later, I checked again, and I am showing up on his list. Wierd.

One of my friend moved across the country. We randomly met up at a bar during winter break. We The NEXT DAY she was on my side list on facebook, no current messages/likes/pokes/pictures before or after. Unless facebook is watching you in public… (*o_o)

I think (and at least hope) it’s based on who has viewed your profile. I’ve recently split with my ex, and have gone a little mad. Been off work the last week and have looked at her page constantly throughout the day. She does not appear in my friends during the day (when she would be at work and facebook is blocked) but DOES appear at night, presumably as shes looking at my profile.

I’ve noticed this for a while, as in, over the past month or so. I’ve had about 20-25 people on the list and no others, and some of those 20-25 show up much more regularly than others. At any given time, about 4-5 people on the list are people I Facebook-interact with on a regular basis. The rest are people I’ve had minimal to no contact with (either in real life or on Facebook). Currently there’s even a dead guy showing up on my list. But he’s not one of the regulars I see showing up. So I can’t figure this one out.

I recently create another fb account and I’ve been viewing my main fb page quite often. My other account hasn’t yet showed up on the 10-friend box thing on my page. So is it really profile viewing tracker??? Not sure… lol

Joey Boofangool
Pretty sure its an algorithm combo of recently interacted, # of mutual friends, and most importantly people who are logged into FB at that point in time. For example, if there is someone who you share over 100 mutual friends with, and that person is constantly logged into FB, then they will always show up in your list!

I think Facebook is lying.. but why? I’m sure it would stop some creepy stalking and let us know who cares enough to stop by our profile.
I’ve been talking to a guy for the past 6months (Before the new thing come out.) and we do not talk publicly. We’ve only ever IM’d and maybe shared one or two messages, but as of the last two or so weeks he has been popping up on my friends list as well as the friends I talk to publicly.
So heres the real question. We know its not random, we know its not based on PUBLIC interacting, so what exactly does it pop from?
I say its who is looking at our page, in light of how mine and said guys relationship has took a turn for the… BETTER *wink wink* it makes perfect since he would be looking at my page more.

I am researching the same thing and I also have found out some interesting facts:
1) I create a fake profile and interact with it as a real person (tagging myself pics, posting on my own wall, and commenting on my own status and responding to my own comments), I also use that fake account to check my real profile several times a day. And the result is that the fake account shows up amongst the top 10 friendlist, no matter how many times I refresh the page !
2) There are 4 people who I set privacy not to let them see my albums, my wall, comments and my notes (but still keeping their accounts in my friendlist), amazingly they still show up quite frequently on the top 10 friendlist. I dont know why they still show up because all that can be seen on my page from their accounts is only my name and a profile pic (these 4 females are not my fans, I know that they dislike me and only come visit my profile for curiosity so I set these privacy functions)
3) I use the fake account to check the top 10 friendlist of a guy I know that crushes on me. It is so surprising that my real account often shows up in his 10 top friendlist though I never use this real account to visit his page !
Can anyone explain this plz?. Those interesing facts are based on real experiment, and I am keep on researching. I will dig up the whole cyber world to find out the truth if possible !

I think they might have changed it up actually.. They are monitoring this site… Hilarious.. Who cares FB?!?!? lol

I would remain on this guys friendslist cus I was ALWAYS on his page, but now I check it a few times a day, quite regular but never remain on it very long and I havent showed up on his list. I think its people who remain on your page for an extended period of time.

Looks to me like Facebook tweaked their algorithm on Tuesday back to an older version or they have done some sort of reset on their logs of our interactions and got rid of the most recent data. They’ve definitely been doing something, since the ^ is again not working.
Why I think they purged data or tweaked the algo is because I had 2 people that were stuck permanently on my list based on being tagged in the same photos and attending the same events, which is weighted more strongly by Facebook. We have pretty much no other interaction. They finally disappeared last month but now they have both reappeared at the same time starting just today and are always showing up again. GRRR!

I have experienced this problem and it’s freaking me out! I am back with a girlfriend and have been for some time. We broke up early last year for a few months and I know she was seeing another guy. Whenever I click on her profile it is always the same friends and he is ALWAYS in there. However, I know for a fact that some of these friends she has zero contact with but could be people that frequently view her profile. Therefore I am hoping that it is the case he still checks out her profile a lot and not that they are actually still in contact….someone reassure me?! Anyone else experienced the same?

@rumpsteak As I was saying above, it’s definitely going off of those things. For them to keep people interested so they can continue to make money, they will figure ways to keep us interested via having us interact with our favorite people. Why would they put random people up? It doesn’t make sense to me. In the marketing world, they will do anything and everything to make a little extra cash.

Hahaha this has turned from FACEBOOK FRIENDSLIST CHAT into DATING ADVICE 101 :)

I have been doing a lot of trial-and-error experiments over the past two or three weeks in order to catch any patterns. I thought I should throw in a kink that I’ve just now experienced.
The ten friends on my profile (the ones who show up on the left hand side of the profile page) changed suddenly this past Saturday (26 Mar 2011) and stayed that away until I emptied/deleted my entire internet cache. Afterwards, the ten people were the same as they had been before Saturday.
I’m personally not sure yet what that means, but I do know this: whenever Facebook shows you those ten friends in the bottom-left of your profile, it saves which ones to show you in your internet cache. So, if you empty the cache, things probably ‘revert’ to whatever the ‘default’ setting is.

I have the answer!
The majority of the people tha appear on my list are those that i interacted on their profile and have recently been on line(usually 12 hours earlier).
Now some 3- 4 friends that constantly appear are those that at some point during the year i wrote on their wall (for example to say happy birthday) but they never replied and obviously don’t log in anymore so facebook is trying to remind you to contact them again and maybe make them become more active.

Has anyone considered that the friends list might have different functions?
For example:
x+y+z = 15
-X people you publicly interact with
-Y people you’ve gone through their entire photo album at least once
-Z people are completely random

just a thought.

Anna Leach


  • Thanks for providing such a great article,Thank you for sharing the information.I like it very much.it is of vital importance for me.

  • Facebook is something I’m beginning to use a bit more again. In 2008 I started and at the time loved it, but then the ‘app’ frenzy started and it became a chore to wade through the tons of ‘a friend has suggested’ mail. Now that seems to have disappeared the site is a lot more friendly akaik.

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