Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are constantly tracking you and suggesting people for you to add. So, how do you stop these creepy “recommended” pages on social media?
Most of us have been active on the internet for years. Maybe even decades! And while we all enjoy the information, entertainment, and convenience it provides, the internet can still be a scary place. A particularly scary example is the “People You May Know” pages on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. If you’ve used either of these sites, you’ve almost certainly received suggestions for people you should add on the platform. Oftentimes for people you’ve never even met! These recommended pages are another instance of companies using your personal data for their own purposes. And it can feel very intrusive to see a long forgotten contact pop up on your feed because a platform wants you to expand your network. So how can you disable these pages, and more importantly, what can you do to stop intrusive social media suggestions long-term?
What are Recommended or Suggested Pages on Social Media?
On Facebook it’s called the “People You May Know” page while Instagram brands it as the “Suggestions for You” page. Regardless of what they call it, most social media platforms now have a page for recommendations. These pages serve as a place where the site can suggest friends, followers, and connections for you based on a variety of factors. And although these recommendations can sometimes be welcomed, other times they can border on creepy. Facebook is particularly notorious for borderline creepy suggestions on these “recommended” pages. Sometimes even suggesting people who you just met and share no mutual connections with! And as it’s owned by Facebook, Instagram is equally infamous for recommendations which seem to come out of nowhere.
Although Facebook and Instagram are the two biggest culprits, they’re far from the only offenders. Platforms like Snapchat, Tik Tok, and even LinkedIn constantly suggest people for their users to add to their friends list or network. And in many cases, these suggestions can be unsettling or invasive. Sure, we enjoy using these sites and apps to connect with family and friends but that doesn’t mean we need to deal with their intrusive data practices. As a consumer, you have the right to data privacy, and you have tools which can help.
Where do Social Media Recommendations Come From?
You might be wondering how these apps are able to make such specific recommendations in the first place. Well, the answer is more unsettling than you think. Social media platforms use algorithms based on a variety of features in order to make suggestions tailored for you. Although they vary slightly from site to site, the algorithms all consist of things such as phone contacts, mutual friends, linked social media accounts, hashtag use, and search history. Not to mention that the data policies of both Facebook and Instagram allow them to track your location! That’s pretty scary, but what exactly does it mean? Well, it means that the larger your digital footprint, the more precise (or creepy) the recommendations will be.
Sure, it might be nice to see an old friend or colleague pop up on your “People You May Know” page, but do you want Facebook to be able to recommend your profile to the person you talked to for 5 minutes at the bar last night? Probably not. So outside of doing a digital detox, what can you do? Well for starters, let’s learn how to stop social media suggested pages. Then we’ll show you how to protect your online privacy in the long-term!
How to Disable Social Media Suggestions
The first step in keeping those creepy suggestions out of your feed is to disable the feature within each app. Although this is more of a band-aid than a cure, it will at least give you temporary peace-of-mind while scrolling. If you’re curious about how to disable Facebook’s “People You May Know” page, check out this article. To stop Instagram’s “Suggestions for You” page, give this a shot!
You can also disable Snapchat’s QuickAdd feature as well as put a stop to LinkedIn’s connection recommendations. And here’s how you stop your Tik Tok account from being recommended to people you may know! These are just a few of the countless social media platforms which have “suggested people” sections. Disabling the feature in each app is a good start, but it isn’t enough to keep your data private. To make sure you’re surfing the web on your own terms, you’ll need a little extra help.
Online Privacy Solutions
Unfortunately, the long-term answer to this problem isn’t simply disabling the feature within each app. In fact, even making your account private won’t stop the platforms from making suggestions on your behalf. Since they likely have access to your contacts and are viewing your activity, they’re still able to recommend connections. So then, what else can you do to keep enjoying the apps while also keeping your privacy somewhat intact? Well, the best thing you can do is to employ the services of a company which protects your privacy rather than exploiting it. The most comprehensive privacy service on the market today is Privacy Bee. Privacy Bee helps you, the user, take back control of your data with a variety of features. From 24/7 threat monitoring to removing your data from unwanted sites, Privacy Bee does all it can to protect the personal information of you and your loved ones. A proactive service like this is your best bet in limiting the flow of your personal data on social media sites and everywhere else on the web.
And if you’re using any of these apps from your desktop, make sure to download Privacy Bee’s free browser extension for Chrome and Firefox. This allows you to adjust your privacy preferences for each website and control what personal information they have access to. And it’s not only for social media platforms! The extension works for any site you come across while surfing the web and is a great tool for staying safe.
And make sure to routinely check back in with the Privacy Bee Blog! Our blog is a terrific place to stay updated on everything privacy related and more importantly, is home to tons of resources that’ll help you keep your data safe!