This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Have You Seen the People Facebook Thinks 'You May Know?'

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Is Facebook (FB - Get Report) becoming Tinder? Or the now much more tame Craigslist "Erotic Services" category? Wait, they call them "therapeutic" now! 

For privacy concerns, I decided against screen capturing and publishing the "People You May Know" section from my mobile Facebook news feed on iOS. But, man, as I have clearly run out of people who I actually might even six degrees of Kevin Bacon know, the suggestions have become downright seedy. Shady. Suspect.

I have to wonder if Facebook is becoming a place for impostors of sorts to ... this is the only way I can say it ... cough, cough ... turn tricks.

This matters on several levels.

Must Read: Microsoft's Pointless Search for a Loser CEO

First, don't construe this as a knock against Facebook. As I note in my 2013 review/2014 prediction article, I called FB a $50 stock in December 2012. So I'm a believer.

I'm just concerned.

If I'm not merely an isolated case and other Facebook users are having this flavor of looker suggested as a friend, Facebook risks offending some people. Some people aren't going to go for people who could even possibly, by some stretch of the imagination, look like a call girl, Hooters' waitress or something equally as provocative.

This is a real issue for the company. 

Facebook could turn increasingly irrelevant even as it's trying to become more relevant.

Let's state it simply: I don't really want to "friend" people who I don't know. These suggested people are not even mutual friends of friends, I don't think! That's the irrelevant part. And this bit of irrelevancy lends support to something else I've been thinking about Facebook lately.

Facebook, so the story goes, wants to become your newspaper. It doesn't want Twitter (TWTR - Get Report) to play this role. It, apparently, has been driving a lot of traffic to publishers lately. Yet, Facebook, reportedly, is tweaking out the algorithm that drives your newsfeed so it can deliver even more relevant content, presumably from these partners.

I don't think Facebook has the foggiest idea what it's doing.

But, the nuts and bolts tell me that Facebook should not try to compete with Twitter. I don't care what any social media analyst firm says, Twitter is best positioned to be the aggregated newspaper of record. Facebook is, and will remain, the place you go to see what your friends are up to. If it so happens that they're sharing fun or otherwise interesting news or a fluff story, great. If it's a video of their annoying 5-year old covering Born in the USA, so be it.

That's the beauty of Facebook. It provides the spontaneity of the unplanned social encounter virtually and at scale. You bump into people all of the time. Sometimes you want to run away. Other times you want to duck into a coffee shop and chat for an hour over two.

Facebook has something there. I'm not sure why it wants to run away from it to engage in some pissing contest with Twitter.

Can Facebook do -- and be good at -- multiple things? Of course it can, but right now it has a full plate. It should do what it does best rather than attempt to be a jack of all trades.

Facebook exists to create social connections. That's what we've been told. If how it's suggesting I might want to build out my network is any indication, that mission is breaking down. Once that happens, Facebook becomes limited and ultimately useless.

Forget about the publishers. Let Twitter work with them. That's their game. Facebook can solve the "problem" of serving more relevant and personalized content (all of these darn buzzwords!) by working to connect me with people who, even if I don't know them, tend to make me want to engage them on the basis of who they are, what they look like and the information they share.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in New York City

Rocco Pendola is a columnist for TheStreet. Pendola makes frequent appearances on national television networks such as CNN and CNBC as well as TheStreet TV. Whenever possible, Pendola uses hockey, Springsteen or Southern California references in his work. He lives in Santa Monica.

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
FB $117.58 0.00%
TWTR $14.62 0.00%
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%
TSLA $240.76 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs