Facebook is one of those platforms that is very secretive about its inner workings. Though most of us use it every day to read news, connect with friends, and share ideas, the company tells its users very little about how it powers its various features.
Case in point: Facebook’s “People You May Know” function, which is referred to internally as PYMK. On the social network, it’s a simple section recommending users you may want to connect with. But how those recommendations are generated is a huge mystery–one Gizmodo has been trying to solve for months. Many bizarre cases indicate that PYMK doesn’t simply rely on a users’ contacts or even just people’s friends of friends. For example, Facebook recommended a distant blood relative to a user, despite the fact that they had never known of each other’s existences.
Now Gizmodo has released a tool that lets people track their PYMK suggestions. Every six hours it records who the PYMK suggestions are, as a way to help people figure out what data Facebook is mining to come to these conclusions. At the very least, the tool can help you understand what you may be unknowingly sharing with the social juggernaut.