Why Do People Disappear From The “People You May Know” List On Facebook?

The “People you may know” is at once an interesting, useful, and creepy feature of Facebook. It shows you a list of users’ profiles belonging to people that Facebook’s data-mining algorithm thinks you may actually know (whether digitally or in real life) and therefore want to connect with.

Facebook determines who “you may know” based on the networks you’re a part of, the mutual friends you have, the contact numbers in your smartphone/devices, and the Pages and Groups you’re a part of on Facebook. You’ll likely have come across the “People you may know” list in your News Feed.

Sometimes, however, people you see on that list often seem to ‘disappear’ from it. But why? Well, there are two possible reasons.

Reason #1: List refresh

The most plausible reason for someone disappearing from the “People you may know” list on Facebook is simply that they haven’t actually disappeared. Instead, the list has simply refreshed to show you a different selection of users.

Since we most often see this list in our News Feed in a horizontal scroll bar, we usually only see a handful of ‘people we may know’ at a time. If you think someone’s disappeared, then you can always expand the list to see it in full, and double-check.

To see the full “People you may know” list just tap or left-click the ‘Friends’ tab in the sidebar of your Facebook homepage. Then tap or left-click ‘See more’ and you should be able to find the “People you may know” list. Click on it and you’ll be able to see everyone Facebook currently thinks you might know.

If the person you thought had disappeared still isn’t on the list, see ‘Reason #2’ below.

Reason #2: Your interests/mutual contacts have changed

The most likely reason that someone might have actually disappeared from the “People you may know” list is simply that Facebook no longer thinks you might know them, or at least doesn’t think they would be of interest to you.

This might come about if:

  1. One or both of you have left a Page or Group you were both a part of
  2. If you’ve deleted their number in your phone book/Contacts app
  3. Your mutual friend(s) have deleted their Facebook profile/account
  4. You’ve removed certain network information from your profile that they were linked to
  5. Or, of course, if they have left Facebook and deleted their profile/account

And that’s all there is to the whys and hows of why some people seem to disappear from the “People you may know” list on Facebook. For all other information, or if you have further questions, please see our FAQs down below.


What is the “People you may know” list on Facebook?

Facebook was the world’s first majorly successful social networking platform, and continues to be used daily by many millions of users all around the world. Though its principle purpose (to “connect” people) may have changed over the years (now it is largely a data-mining money-maker for mega-corporation Meta), to this day many still use it to connect with people they may have fallen out of touch with in their day-to-day lives.

The “People you may know” list is a list of Facebook profiles of people who Facebook thinks, in short, you might know, and thus wish to connect with by adding as a friend, or following. Facebook collates this list by using a lot of your personal (and sometimes private) information.

The information Facebook uses to find people it thinks you might know include: your phone’s contact list (i.e. yours and others’ phone numbers), the friends you have in common or your mutual friends on Facebook, the Facebook Pages or Groups you’re part of, and finally, your “networks” (i.e. your school(s), college(s), university(ies), or work place(s)). 

By collecting this information, Facebook can cross-reference it with all of its other users, and find people who share common traits, memberships, histories, friends or contacts. The app then puts a list of these people into “People you may know” which you can find on your homepage, News Feed, or Friends tab. 

Will people who disappear from Facebook’s “People you may know” list come back?

It is possible that people who have disappeared from the “People you may know” list on Facebook may reappear on it in future. As we discussed above, the “People you may know” list is put together using information Facebook collects on all of its users.

Therefore, someone might have ‘disappeared’ because you and they no longer share mutual traits. However, if you were to share traits again in future (rejoin the same Page or Group, or refriend the same mutual friend, for example) then it is possible that they will reappear on that list.

However, if you add someone from this list as a friend, then they will not reappear on the list, but will instead be moved to your ‘Friends’ list.

Is there a way to expand Facebook’s “People you may know” list, or view it another way?

Yes! You can absolutely expand the Facebook “People you may know” list and view it in full. If you’ve scrolled past it in your News Feed, or don’t like only being able to scroll through it horizontally, you can access the full list in the ‘Friends’ tab of your Facebook homepage sidebar. Read our tutorial above for more information.