Is There Any Significance to the Order of Friends on Facebook?

Facebook tracks your activity to predict your interests.
... Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

You probably noticed the same faces keep appearing among the nine friends featured in the Friends section of your Timeline. This no accident -- Facebook selects friends for those top spots using an algorithm that takes into account several factors. While the exact formula is kept secret, it's generally known to take into account factors such as how often you interact with those friends, how many mutual friends you have in common, liking the same post, getting tagged in the same photo, or using the same app.

1 Stalking

In the past, it was widely believed you could tell if a person was "stalking" your profile based on her name appearing near the top of your friends list, especially if you had little or no interaction with her. There was probably a lot of truth to this, but Facebook has changed its algorithm several times since then, and this is much less likely to be the case today. Instead, the order of your friends has more to do with your own activity, such as your comments on a friend's post or your clicks on one of her photos. Also, if someone else views your Timeline, she may see nine entirely different faces based on her own interactions.

2 Exact Ordering

Although Facebook features nine friends on your Timeline, the exact order of the nine faces is random. Each time you visit your Timeline, the faces change position. You can test this yourself by refreshing the page in your browser. The same holds true when you view your full friends list; the order changes each time the page loads.

Alan Sembera began writing for local newspapers in Texas and Louisiana. His professional career includes stints as a computer tech, information editor and income tax preparer. Sembera now writes full time about business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Texas A&M University.