How does Instagram determine if I know these people or not? Are these users looking at my Instagram profile? How does this work?
Do you keep getting this notification in your Activity saying “(user), who you may know, is on Instagram. Would you like to follow them?” only to show you someone you have never known?
Or sometimes it shows a person you met once last night and you get a notification of them even though you had never known them before or have their contact number? Some of these notifications seem very random while others seem eerily accurate. Where is Instagram getting such information from?
How does Instagram suggest ‘people who you might know’?
Have you noticed that once you watch too many dog videos in a day, the explore section is then filled out with more dog videos?
Instagram tracks your interests to suggest more content that you would like to see. In the same way, it provides you with connections that you have made with a well-made algorithm. Instagram is owned by Facebook so if you know somebody on Facebook, you will see them being suggested on Instagram and vice versa.
Instagram also uses contacts on your phone to show your friends that are on Instagram with whom you haven’t yet connected. Surprisingly, it also uses your search history and sends you a suggestion to follow someone if you have opened someone profile repeatedly or spent some time on their profile without sending a follow request. That means that Instagram knows when you are stalking somebody.
Instagram also shows you people with whom you have a lot of mutual friends as there is a high chance you may know them.
Instagram also collects data from your likes, websites that you have browsed, shares, comments, location history, etc. to suggest relevant people and content. Sometimes Instagram may also suggest people just because they are using a lot of the same hashtags that you are.
Can you disable these suggestions?
Yes. While you cannot stop Instagram from collecting your information but you can remove these notifications if they bother you. Log into your Instagram account on a web browser (this feature is not available in the app) and go to your profile by clicking on your display picture.
Click on ‘Edit profile’ and navigate to the bottom until you see ‘Similar account suggestion’. Just click on the tick mark to disable this feature and then hit ‘Submit’.