Facebook is creepy

18 years ago, we had a nanny looking after the kids. We parted on less than cordial terms (her being absent about 25% of the year we “employed” her being a big part of it). We’ve had basically no contact with her in many years, and have zero contacts in common.

Yet, a few days ago, she sent me a message and friend request on Facebook, saying that it popped up “you may know Mama Zappa”.

How in hell does Facebook do that kind of thing?

The only thing I can think of is that she listed our home phone number as her work number somewhere (reasonable enough), and somehow that allowed a connection to be made.

Friends of friends is usually how it works. Did she have any association with your friends or family and could any of them be on her friends list? Or even your own kid(s)?

Also did she have your email address? Facebook asks users for their email login information (Gmail, etc.) so they can harvest the address books.

She could have looked you up and just been full of shit that “it just popped up.”

It’s probably what control-z said, but all you have to do it block (not hide, block) her and the two of you won’t exist to each other on Facebook anymore. It’s as close to the Nuclear option as you’ll find on Facebook. Go to your privacy settings and add her to your block list and even if you have a bunch of mutual friends you’ll never see her. Same for her, try as she might, she won’t be able to find you after that.

Do you have the same email address that you had back then? If she still has it - and gave Facebook permission to scan her email for contacts - that’s a possibility. If she’d popped up as a suggestion for you, I’d have said it’s because she’s been searching for your name. Given that it’s only her word that Facebook spontaneously suggested you, then I’d take it with a grain of salt.

Another thought: I don’t suppose your (now presumably grown up) kids have searched for her, establishing a link that way?

I had a guy that I did Karate with 20 years ago show up as someone I might know. I assume he looked me up or something, because we have no common friends and neither of us have that Karate place listed anywhere on our FB pages.

It baffles me how people I went to high school with 30 years ago, that were 2 grades above or below me, who I never had a class with or was associated with in any way or never even had one conversation with in my life will put in a friend request to me on Facebook.

I told this on here once before and still have never figured it out, but the only Facebook account I had was one that I set up using a fake name and an email address that I only use for junk. I never filled out any information or used photos or liked or friended anyone. I logged into it a handful of times then forgot about it. Sometime later, I want to say a year or two but I can’t remember, I got the only Facebook email I ever remember getting. It was notifying me of a friend request from my sister. She said it had recommended me as someone she might know. I have no clue how it linked us. My sister and I email each other but I use my real address, not my junk one.


Have you run into the ‘prove you’re you’ dialogs? These are seen protecting credit info, etc.

Which company did you use to finance a car 20 years ago?

What is the name of the street you lived on for 3 months 30 years ago? (I actually got that one).

I stuck a toe in the ‘social newtwork’ by giving just enough info to find an old acquaintance.

The 'you may know’s that came from just that were scary.

IOW: There is no more Frontier, your past is an open book for anybody with a computer, and the connections being made are based on common employers, locations, phone prefixes (some large companies have entire area code/prefix blocks on their PBX systems) and gawd knows what else.

Welcome to the Brave New World!

You have no way of knowing that you have zero contacts in common. The first thing Facebook does, even before you complete the process of registration, is read your entire email address book.Do you have an old email address you once used call a plumber named John Smith? Maybe the ex-employee used the same plumber 10 years later. Facebook will connect you and your ex-employee… And yes, it is creepy . So creepy that I refuse to use Facebook

(About 8 years ago, when I started to register at Facebook, I was still on the first splash page, and it told me “welcome to Facebook–the following people might want to be friends with you”
And it listed almost every person I had ever sent an email to, and a WHOLE lot more. Some were simply friends-of-friends, so that is only one degree of separation, and I can see how Facebook made the connection . But others were completely unknown to me, or only vaguely recognized as friends-of-friends-of-friends. Total strangers to me… but Facebook seems to think that doesn’t matter–we obviously want to be in touch.)

I was under the impression that you had to give permission somewhere for them to scan your email addresses. I registered back when it was only for universities, but they never asked for anyone. On occasion, they ask me if I want to search friends by gaining access to my address book, but I always decline.

Also, yes, friends of friends may be one way they found. Also if your location is still similar, they may have pulled up everyone who lives in the area. Lastly, some people have privacy settings such that say, A and B are FB friends. A is also friends with C. A (and possibly C) has it set up that if B checks C profile, even if they’re friends, it won’t show B that A is friends with C.

An ex (OK, a fling) did the same thing with me. I honestly didn’t know who he was at first, and it took me awhile to place his name, LOL.

No, I didn’t friend him back. Some things are best forgotten.

No it doesn’t. You must explicitly grant permission for FB to read your address book; it has no way to do so unless you provide them with your password.

I’d kind of gotten the impression that Facebook did whatever the hell it pleased, and then said, “Whoops, you didn’t tell us we COULDN’T,” when you complained.

Still trying to figure out why their adbot decided I might want to go on a gay cruise…

They may try to do that, but unless you give them your account and password there’s nothing they can do. It’s just software.

The email I had back when we knew her has been defunct for some years; my current email is not something she’d have known.

We also have no friends in common, I’m quite certain of that unless it’s complete and utter coincidence and 3 steps removed.

She may well have been full of shit on “just popped up” but I’d be inclined to think that Facebook did somehow make the connection.

Mine are filled with junk, I pick what I know is the right choice but it is obviously wrong and the person at the company just goes uhh ok and goes along with it.

Places you live, pages you like, work places, study places.

Isn’t really just your phone number, which you give to Facebook in order to do messaging? By default, Facebook doesn’t read your contacts unless you give permission, but what it does do is make your phone number (and email, too) a way for people to find you–unless you tell it not to. It doesn’t tell people your phone number. But if they have your number in their address book, it asks them if they might want to friend you.

The reason I suspect this is because I have a lot phone numbers in my contacts list of people who have long since stopped using that number. Their number has been recycled by the phone company to someone else. Facebook sees that number in my contact list, and then finds the account of whoever has that phone number, and says, “Do you want to friend this person?” Often it’s a picture of some total stranger, who clearly isn’t the person I used to know who had that number before. (This happens with services such as Viber and Whatsapp, too.)

You need to go into privacy settings and change, “Who can look you up using your email address?” and “Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?” to friends (only).

The nanny in the OP still probably has Mama Zappa’s phone number in her contact list.