What does ‘Who You Might Know is On Instagram’ Mean? As you casually scroll through your Instagram feed, you might come across this list of suggested friends, which can be a bit surprising at times. These suggested accounts can range from your neighbors to creators you completely don’t know, living in entirely different time zones. How does it happen? Instagram uses a multifaceted algorithm that analyses various, occasionally privacy-nudging methods to identify and propose these accounts to you.
From leveraging your existing list of followers to identifying people who share your alma mater, Instagram’s “Who You Might Know on Instagram” feature casts a wide net, encompassing a diverse array of accounts and people who, well, you may or may not know.
What Does ‘Who You Might Know is On Instagram’ Mean
Have you wondered how this “Who you might know is on Instagram” algorithm works? Luckily, we’re here to discuss all the factors it analyses.
- You Share Mutual Followers
Imagine you follow three old high school friends, and coincidentally, they all work at the same place now. Well, this can lead to their coworkers showing up in the “Who You Might Know on Instagram” suggestions. You all have something in common: the three friends from high school you’re following. Consequently, these coworkers’ accounts might pop up with a message like “three mutual followers.” Instagram’s algorithm identifies such connections, presuming that if you follow the same accounts, you might also know these individuals.
- Strong Connections Matter
If you interact heavily with an account on Instagram, such as your roommate or your significant other, any account they follow or who follows them might appear in your “Who You Might Know on Instagram” section. Instagram takes note of who you tag most frequently in your posts, stories, or with whom you exchange direct messages. This active engagement suggests a strong connection, and Instagram infers that you’re closer to this specific follower than others, even if your only link is through the mutual follower.
- Contacts in Your Address Book
By sharing your phone number and syncing your contacts, you enable Instagram to identify accounts linked to your contacts. So, those obscure contacts from middle school and high school whose numbers you barely recognized? Well, if they’ve linked their number to their Instagram account, they might just show up in your “Who You Might Know on Instagram.” Instagram presumes that since you have their number, you might be interested in connecting with them on the platform, regardless of whether you’ve ever met them.
- Contacts Who Know You
Even if you don’t have their number, if someone has your contact information and both of you have your contacts synced on Instagram, this individual might appear in your “Who You Might Know on Instagram.” Maybe this user once heard you were great at tutoring back in college and got your number but never reached out. As long as they’ve kept you as a contact, Instagram recognizes this tenuous connection and suggests that you follow each other.
- Facebook Friends
Instagram collaborates with other social media platforms, like Facebook, to expand its understanding of your social circles. By syncing your account to Facebook, and if your Facebook friends have similarly linked their accounts, Instagram can identify those connections. So, if you’re not yet following each other on Instagram but you’re Facebook friends, the apps realize you know each other and recommend that you start following each other. This integration extends to other platforms like Twitter and Snapchat as well.
- Past Followings
Remember that ex you finally unfollowed, proudly severing all ties? Well, Instagram has a remarkable memory when it comes to your past followings. So, it might try to reunite you by placing that ex in the “Who You Might Know on Instagram” section. The app recalls that you once followed them, so it assumes you know them and recommends you follow them once again. This also applies to anyone you’ve unfollowed in the past.
- Close Friends’ Interactions
Instagram’s Close Friends feature enables you to select a limited group of followers with whom you share specific stories and posts. If those friends heavily engage with other accounts, there’s a chance that these accounts will appear in your “Who You Might Know on Instagram.” Your Close Friends list designates accounts with which you share a close relationship on multiple levels. The algorithm concludes that you probably know anyone they follow due to your close association, prompting Instagram to suggest you follow these accounts.
- Location-Based Connections
Location services play a substantial role in social media platforms, particularly Instagram. You can easily add location tags to your posts, stories, or reels. If you consistently post from a specific town, Instagram learns that you live there and may also know other users who frequently post from that town. These accounts might pop up in your “Who You Might Know on Instagram” suggestions because Instagram has discerned that you both live in the same area. However, this won’t happen if you both live in a bustling metropolis like Los Angeles; instead, it’s more likely to occur in smaller, localized areas.
- Educational Ties Through Facebook
Instagram also leverages educational information on Facebook to recommend connections. If you and the suggested accounts have both linked these two social media platforms and shared your educational backgrounds, Instagram considers these common educational experiences as potential connections. While you may have boasted about every school you’ve ever attended, even those five elementary schools, everyone else on Facebook who includes the same school on their profiles becomes semi-associated with you through education. Consequently, Instagram factors in your educational history when suggesting connections, even if you graduated a decade apart. School is a common way people make friends, so it’s reasonable to assume that you might have connections with others who also attended the same schools.
Pro Tip: If you’ve recently created an Instagram account and wish to keep it low-key without alerting others to your presence on the platform, you might be concerned about potential notifications. Luckily, I’ve addressed this concern in a separate article, providing a comprehensive overview of what to expect.
How to Turn Off “Who You Might Know on Instagram”
Luckily, if this feature has you contemplating deleting the app and vowing never to post family photos again, there are methods to turn it off, haha. While there’s only one surefire way to ensure you never encounter “Who You Might Know on Instagram” again, you can also use various strategies to minimize the number of profiles Instagram suggests you follow.
1. Disable It Through a Browser
The sole method to rid yourself of those pesky accounts under “Who You Might Know on Instagram” is to deactivate this feature through a web browser. This process can’t be executed on a mobile device.
- First, you’ll need a computer, laptop, or desktop to visit Instagram.com.
- Afterward, log in to your profile. If you’ve forgotten your password, don’t fret; you can request a reset link to the email associated with your account.
- Once successfully logged in, access your profile by clicking on your profile picture in the top right corner of your screen.
- From the drop-down menu that appears, select “Settings.”
- Scroll to the bottom of the page, where you’ll find the option “Include your account when recommending similar accounts people might want to follow,” with a checkmark in a box next to those words.
- Click on the box to remove the checkmark, thereby ensuring you never have to see “Who You Might Know on Instagram” again.
2. Unfriend Everyone on Facebook
Considering that Facebook contributes to the recommendations in the “Who You Might Know on Instagram” list, one approach to stop these people from appearing is to unfriend all your Facebook friends, except those you already follow on Instagram. If you don’t wish to follow them on Instagram, you likely don’t need them as Facebook friends either.
- Open Facebook and click on the three lines in the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Your profile picture will now appear in the top left corner of the screen; select it.
- Scroll down slightly until you spot “Friends.”
- Click on “Friends,” and you’ll see an alphabetized list of your friends.
- Next to each person’s name, there will be three dots. Click on them, and a menu will appear with “Unfriend [Name].”
- If you no longer want them showing up on your Instagram recommendations, choose to remove them as friends to refine your friends list.
3. Remove Contacts From Your Phone
Cleaning up your contacts by deleting those you don’t wish to follow on Instagram, or numbers you no longer need, will reduce the frequency of the “Who You Might Know on Instagram” feature in your profile. The less information you provide to Instagram, the less it knows about your life beyond the app. By removing redundant numbers, Instagram will have fewer contacts to sync with the app, thereby reducing the number of suggested profiles for you to follow. This cleanup also declutters your overall life, as contacts tend to accumulate over time.
4. Unfollow Instagram Profiles to Eliminate Mutual Friends
Suppose there are people from your past, like high school friends who’ve stayed connected and have friends you’ve never heard of. In that case, they might frequently appear on your “Who You Might Know on Instagram” page. You can streamline this by unfollowing those individuals who haven’t progressed beyond high school.
- It’s straightforward to unfollow people on Instagram. Open the app, click on your profile in the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Head to “Following” in the top right corner of the screen.
- Search for the usernames of those pesky individuals cluttering your recommendations.
- Click the “Following” button next to their names to officially unfollow them.
- To take it a step further, choose “Followers” in the middle of the top of the screen.
- Locate the same accounts and select “Remove” next to their usernames.
- This action will unfollow them and ensure there’s less data for Instagram to utilize for suggesting profiles you should follow.
5. Erase Educational Information on Facebook
The “Who You Might Know on Instagram” list frequently extends due to educational information shared on Facebook. Removing this education from your Facebook profile will help minimize the number of suggested accounts.
- Open the Facebook app and navigate to your profile by tapping the three lines on the bottom right side of the screen.
- Your profile picture will be at the top left corner of the screen; select it.
- Just below your profile picture, locate “Edit Profile.”
- Select that button and scroll down until you reach “Details.”
- Click on “Edit” and unselect any education you’ve added to your Facebook profile.
- To verify that you’ve removed your education, ensure there’s an empty box next to all your schools, not a blue box with a checkmark.
By taking these steps, you’ll reduce the number of accounts suggested by the “Who You Might Know on Instagram” feature!
Q&A – “Who You Might Know is On Instagram”
You ask, and we couldn’t be happier to answer – as with every topic!
How do you stop who you might know notifications on Instagram?
You can adjust your Privacy Settings. Head over to your Instagram Settings. Click Privacy. Next, click Discoverability and Contacts. And you’re almost there: now simply turn off the toggle for “Who You Might Know” by sliding it to the left with your finger.
Why Instagram shows who you might know?
The “Who You Might Know” feature implies that an individual you follow or have interacted with on Instagram is connected to or owns the account featured in the notification. To put it in a nutshell (we’ll try!), Instagram is indicating that someone with whom you have had contact or whom you follow also maintains this second account.
Why does Instagram keep suggesting the same person?
Seeing this one person as a the top suggestion on your Instagram is most probably a result of Instagram’s algorithm, which is used to curate personalized content for its users.
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