Minnesota, USA -August 4, 2011 - The 'friend suggestion' feature of Facebook may change if Cambridge University is able to influence Facebook with its recent research focus of suggesting friends based on common places visited; this would require people to use the 'Places' tool, which allows them to check-in themselves and their friends to locations such as restaurants, clubs, stores, and much more.If this change is implemented, it could assist shy people in connecting with the people whom they have difficulties approaching; in addition, it could assist people in connecting with those they know but forgot to 'add'. Then again, it could be a way for someone to stalk others and gain information that otherwise would not be known - such as a name.
If suggesting friends based on 'Places' is to be successful, it will need to be focused on the smaller or less frequented places; after all, no one wants to scroll through thousands of people who visited the same place on a particular day. Since friend suggestions are not recreated daily, the enormous amounts of suggestions would 'snowball', causing the tool to become irrelevant and useless.
Then again, the friend suggestions as they appear now could be considered irrelevant at times as well; there only needs to be one mutual friend to appear in the suggestions. How many people have friends who do not know other friends Certainly Facebook needs to make modifications regardless of whether or not it tries out Cambridge's new idea.
Just like many changes made to Facebook, this may put up red flags when it comes to privacy. People do not mind that they can be 'seen' by others if there is a mutual friend; however, the reaction is bound to be dramatically different when it comes to introducing profiles to strangers. But if Facebook could narrow down the type of shops it affects -such as those that have only a couple hundred 'likes' - it could actually connect people who frequently see each other and make 'small-talk' often.
With everything there is always a question of safety; if minors use this, could predators target them more easily Also - speaking as a woman - would I need to be concerned of men not only physically stalking me, but also cyber-stalking me as well Perhaps we would need to monitor our loved ones more closely. If anyone is cyber-stalking us, the digital evidence is the best to have because it can reveal exactly who is doing it and from where.
If Facebook decides to use this new 'friend browsing' method, a way in which it could combat privacy and safety criticism is by allowing users to opt-in if they want to use it. If someone is already having issues with being followed by someone in public, obviously he or she will not want to be a part of this. For everyone else, it could be a great tool to meet up with those familiar faces - online.