If You Search Someone on Instagram Will You Show Up As a Suggested Friend

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Instagram Search History Comes Back (or Disappears)

The Instagram app can use an advanced algorithm to determine the relationship between different users. If the app finds that certain criteria are met, they will be suggested relevant friends also use the app to follow.

This is one of the biggest quality-of-life features that Instagram offers to its users, allowing them to easily find and add friends that they might not currently be following on the app. This detailed guide will cover many of the frequently asked questions regarding Instagram friend suggestions.

If You Search Someone on Instagram Will You Show Up As a Suggested Friend

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If you search for someone on Instagram it will generally not cause your profile to be suggested to them unless the algorithm has already determined that your profiles are somehow associated. Rest assured that any users you search for will not be notified of this activity due to a new friend suggestion.

Since Instagram depends on mutual followers and interests to help make accurate suggestions, it will be unable to sync your profiles optimally if you are not following each other, which means that your search activity is not likely to influence another profile’s friend suggestions.

If Someone Has Searched For Me on Instagram Will They Show Up in My Suggested List

If someone searches for someone on Instagram it will generally not cause their profile to be suggested to you unless the algorithm has already determined that their profile is somehow associated. 

Since Instagram depends on mutual followers and interests to help make accurate suggestions, it will be unable to sync your profiles optimally if you are not following each other, which means that their search activity is not likely to influence your friend suggestions.

Does Instagram Suggest Friends?

Instagram automatically generates and suggestions potential contacts that you might have a relationship with. These could be close friends, family, or acquaintances that the app determines you are not currently following.

The suggestion accuracy will vary, as oftentimes you can wind up with people being suggested to you that you do not know very well. Typically, the Instagram friend suggestions are quite accurate, with most users being able to easily recognize the person being recommended.

How Does Instagram Suggest Friends?

Instagram uses an advanced algorithm, among other factors, to help determine the profiles that it suggests to users. Factors that can influence the different friends you might be suggested are several mutual friends between profiles, phone contacts, and user privacy settings.

Your app activity can also influence the friend suggestions that you receive. Instagram can use the types of posts you interact with and pages you follow to suggest other relevant pages. This can help new Instagram users get connected with posts and profiles that reflect their interests.

In short, all of your Instagram activity is monitored by the algorithm, and it will react based on the types of content you interact with.

People You May Know Algorithm

The People You May Know algorithm is how Instagram determines what profiles are relevant to others. The algorithm keeps up with your activity across the app to accurately suggest followers that whom you may have some relation.

There are many factors that the algorithm uses to help determine this information. Usually, you will find that the suggestions you receive are quite accurate. Some of the most important criteria for friend suggestions have been listed below:

1. They Follow You

If Instagram detects that you have a follower that you are not currently also following, then the app will automatically suggest them to you using the People You May Know algorithm. Instagram is constantly checking user profiles and follower lists to make sure that they match up with any relevant profiles.

If you noticed someone being suggested to you to follow, it could be due to them having already followed your account, leading Instagram to try and alert you that someone you know is currently not being followed. This is a nice feature that can make linking up on the app with friends easy.

2. You Have Many Mutual Friends

On the Instagram app, your followers represent the standard friend list associated with other social media apps, like Facebook.

If you find that you share many mutual friends with another account, Instagram will use the People You May Know algorithm to check if you are currently following each other. If it finds that you are not, Instagram will automatically suggest the profiles to each other.

It uses the large group of mutual friends to conclude that the likelihood of you knowing the person is quite high. This is one of the most influential factors that can affect the friend suggestion algorithm.

3. People You Are in A Group Chat with Follow Them

If you are participating in a group chat with people who also use the Instagram app, you could be suggested potential friends based on the followers of your group chat.

The Instagram algorithm uses all types of relevant contact information to help determine accurate suggestions.

If you are being suggested friends that you do not know very well, but you know are associated with someone in your group chat, then Instagram could have determined that your profiles are related.

4. You Have Searched for Them on Instagram Before

Instagram has access to your search history and can use that to help determine the types of accounts it suggests to you. If you have recently searched for a user or page the app will automatically take that into account by compiling a list of accurate suggestions for you.

If you have recently searched for special interest pages relating to hobbies or entertainment, then Instagram could use that information to also suggest to you similar content to follow.

Searching for a user or page indicates interest and will flag the Instagram algorithm to try and pair you up with suggestions accordingly.

5. They Are in Your Contacts

Instagram can sync with the contacts of your phone to help suggest relevant user profiles. If Instagram detects a number associated with an account on your phone that you are not currently following, the app will automatically suggest the user to you using the People You May Know algorithm.

This is a great feature for those who are new to Instagram and wish for their profile to be easily discoverable by their friends and family.

Although you can choose to not sync Instagram with your contact if you like, which will keep your Instagram presence hidden from those who only have your phone number.

6. You Are in Their Contacts

The same thing applies to users with your contact number on their phones. If Instagram detects your phone number associated with your account in the synced contacts of another user, then the People You May Know algorithm will automatically suggest their profile to you.

You do not have to necessarily have numbers mutually saved between two Instagram users for the algorithm to suggest profiles to you. Any contact numbers used to sign up for an Instagram account have the possibility of being suggested to you or vice versa.

7. You Are Using a Linked Account

If you have more than one Instagram page, users have the option to link them together for convenience. Linking together two accounts can cause their followers to become associated, leading the Instagram People You May Know algorithm to start finding new relevant suggestions.

Using the activity across both accounts, Instagram will suggest profiles that are relevant to all of your linked accounts. If you have an extra business Instagram or another account just for fun, linking those accounts could cause your friend suggestions to be affected.

8. You Have Followed Them Before

If Instagram detects that you have followed someone before, no matter the reason you unfollowed, you could still be suggested that profile.

Instagram will still be able to determine the relevance and association of that profile to yours and will likely continue to suggest the friend, even after unfollowing.

If you wish to stop someone from showing up in your suggestions entirely, the only way is to block them completely on the Instagram app. This will remove them from your suggestions, and you from theirs, for the duration of the block.

9. You Use the Same Hashtags

Your contact and following lists are not the only information that Instagram uses to determine relevant friend suggestions on the app. Your general activity, including the types of hashtags that you use, can cause you to receive different suggestion pages.

The use of certain hashtags can associate your profile with different types of interests. If you find that you are using a hashtag that is frequently used by others, Instagram could make those connections and start suggesting to you other profiles that they think match yours.

10. Your Close Instagram Friends Interact with Their Post

To even further illustrate the complexity of the People You May Know algorithm, the app not only takes your account activity but also the activity of your close Instagram friends to help craft accurate friend suggestions.

This means that it is possible to receive friends’ suggestions based on the post interactions of someone you are close to on the Instagram app.

Typically, for this to happen two users need to be “Close Friends” on Instagram, which is a label that helps identify friends that they frequently chat with or know in real life.

11. You Are Friends on Facebook

Facebook and Instagram are both owned by the same company. Since that is the case, you can expect your Facebook contacts to affect the types of profiles being suggested to you while using the Instagram app.

If you are friends with someone on Facebook, the Instagram app can automatically detect any Instagram profiles associated with that account and suggest them accordingly.

Since your Facebook account is synced up with your Instagram automatically, the algorithm usually has no trouble making accurate suggestions.

12. Instagram Knows You Went to the Same School Together Because Of Facebook

Some common information to make public on Facebook is where you went to school. This can help alumni of different schools stay in touch.

If you currently have where you went to school visible on your Facebook page, then Instagram could use this information to help match you with others from the same school.

Instagram has access to all of your Facebook friends and information. It can use that in the app to help craft accurate friend suggestion lists that could potentially contain someone that you have gone to school with in the past.

13. Instagram Knows You Live Close Together

Users who have given Instagram access to their location can be suggested profiles that the app detects live nearby. Instagram determines your location using GPS and can then determine other users who you may not be following in your area.

Generally, this will lead to the widest variety of friend suggestions, as it covers a fairly wide area. If you see your neighbor being suggested to you while using the app, it could be due to the People You May Know algorithm determining that your locations are close to each other.

14. You Search for Similar Things

Just like your use of hashtags can affect the type of profiles Instagram associates yours with, your search history can play a big part in your overall suggestions.

If the People You May Know app determines that you and another user have similar interests, based on your search activity, it could try and match you together.

You could also be suggested additional pages that are relevant to those searches, as Instagram uses search history to try and match users with new content on the app. The People You May Know algorithm is quite good at matching up profiles with relevant interests.

How to See Instagram Suggested Friends

Instagram makes it easy to see a comprehensive list of all their friend suggestions in one place, so they can follow any profiles they see fit. To navigate to the suggested friend’s list, simply view your profile on your mobile app, and at the bottom, you will see a toolbar of suggested profiles relevant to you.

At the end of the toolbar will be an option to be sent to the dedicated People You May Know page, which will contain a long list of any possible connections that Instagram has made between you and other accounts.

If Someone Has Searched for You On Instagram, Will They Show Up in Your Suggested List?

If someone has searched for you on the Instagram app it will generally not cause them to show up in your suggested friend’s list, depending on how closely associated you are with the profile.

Someone searching for you on Instagram could cause you to appear in their suggestions but typically will not affect the types of suggestions you receive. Instagram will not be able to access the activity information associated with accounts that you do not currently follow.

Why Does Instagram Keep Suggesting the Same Person?

If you find that are consistently being suggested the same profiles on Instagram, there are a couple of factors that could play into the suggestions.

Instagram can suggest those who it believes have a close personal relationship with your or just a brief association, so knowing why you keep seeing the same profile suggestions is important. Many of the key reasons why you keep getting suggested by the same person on Instagram are listed below:

1. They Follow You

Instagram can determine if someone currently following you is missing from your friend’s list. When the algorithm reaches this conclusion, it will automatically begin to suggest the user profile to you. If you noticed that you are constantly being suggested the same friend profile on Instagram, it could be due to them following you.

The same applies to profiles you follow. If you follow a user and they are not currently following you back, you can expect to appear in their suggestion friends list. This is a feature of the Instagram app People You Know algorithm that helps pair up followers.

2. You Have Lots Of Mutual Friends

If you have lots of mutual friends, Instagram will assume that two profiles are somehow associated. Typically, the algorithm is correct in assuming that you have at least some knowledge of this person, whether you ever choose to add them or not.

Mutual friends are one of the biggest determining factors that the People You May Know algorithm uses to correctly match profiles together.

Should you find that you share several followers with another account, you can expect to be suggested to each other. Generally, sharing around 15- 25 mutual friends can trigger the algorithm to associate two profiles together.

3. Instagram Thinks You Know Each Other

No matter what method the Instagram People You May Know algorithm uses to determine whether or not two profiles are related to each other if the app thinks you know each other you will likely appear in each other’s suggestions.

Instagram uses all of the methods above to determine profile relations. Once it does, you will find that you are automatically suggested friends based on that information.

While Instagram cannot determine how well you know a person, it can use app activity to make a well-placed guess.

4. You Have Each Other’s Contact Method Saved On A Phone

Since Instagram can use your phone’s contacts to find numbers associated with profiles, it can use that information to decide what friend suggestions to show you.

Instagram users with their contacts synced to the app can expect to see suggestions of profiles that used a contact number you currently have stored to sign up for their accounts.

If someone you have saved on your phone has recently joined Instagram, you could be greeted with a notification that they are now using the app. This helps you find friends with new accounts easily.

How to Appear on Someone’s Instagram Suggestions

If you want to ensure that your profile is suggested to someone using the Instagram app, there are a few things you can do to raise your chances of them seeing your profile. Some of the most important things you can do to influence your showing up in someone’s suggestions are listed below:

1. Follow Them

Following a user will automatically cause your profile to be suggested to them. This lets the other user know that they currently have a follower that they are not following back. Any time you want to show up in someone’s suggestions, simply follow their account and they will begin to see you on their People You May Know page more regularly.

This does not necessarily mean that they will add you back. It is simply a notification that you are available to follow.

2. Follow People They Follow

As previously mentioned, one of the biggest factors that the People You May Know algorithm uses is mutual followers.

If you want to raise your chances of appearing in someone’s suggestions, consider checking their following list and adding some of the profiles that appear there.

3. Add Them to Your Contacts

If you have access to someone’s phone number or email that they used to sign up for Instagram, adding that to your phone’s contacts could trigger you being suggested to them on the app.

Most people use Instagram in tandem with their phone’s contact settings to help find people they may know more easily.

Adding someone to your contacts automatically raises your chances of Instagram detecting a relation between two profiles. Using your synced phone’s contact information can be a great way to ensure that you are being suggested to a certain profile.

4. Add Them On Facebook

Instagram works with your Facebook account to help determine accurate users to suggest to you on Instagram. Since Instagram and Facebook are owned by the same company, they share much of the information they are giving access to across the platforms.

This means that you could wind up being suggested to some of your Facebook friends who currently do not follow you on Instagram. If you wish to enhance your chances of being suggested to a certain user, try adding them on Facebook first.

5. Add The Same Facebook Friends As Them

Just like mutual friends on the Instagram app, your mutual Facebook friends can be used to determine whether or not you appear in someone’s suggested friends. Adding more mutual friends with a profile you wish to be suggested to can significantly raise your chances of being seen by that user.

Mutual friend count is near the top of the list of important factors that can influence whether or not you are suggested as a friend on Instagram.

Try adding as many friends from their friend’s list as possible and you will likely wind up being suggested to them while they are using the Instagram app.

6. Add the Same School Information As Them On Facebook

Facebook lets users add information to their profiles that can help people better get to know them.

This includes information like where they work and went to school. Users who have added a school that they have previously gone to can be grouped by the Instagram People You May Know algorithm, causing frequent suggestions of people who also attended.

Simply going onto your Facebook profile and adding a school can cause Instagram to associate your account with many new suggestions. This is a nice feature for any alumni of a school to use when trying to get back in touch.

7. Be Near The Same Location As They Are

Instagram uses your phone’s GPS to calculate your location and display relevant friend suggestions for your area. If Instagram detects that you are in the nearby vicinity of another user that does not follow you, this could cause you to show up on their suggestion page.

Keep in mind that this does not include temporarily being in the vicinity, as Instagram will use the location that it believes you reside in to find potential friend suggestions.

8. Use The Same Hashtags As Them

Using the same hashtags as someone can associate your profile with theirs in the eyes of the Instagram People You May Know algorithm.

Hashtags are unique identifiers that can be used for quick access to related content. If you frequently use hashtags that another user does, Instagram can sometimes match up those common interests and suggest you to the user as a potential friend.

If you follow a lot of celebrity or influencer pages, your use of hashtags can also affect those types of pages you are shown as well. Hashtag use is a major way to influence whether or not you will be suggested to someone on Instagram.

Why Does My Ex Come Up in My Instagram Suggestions?

Unfortunately, simply unfollowing someone will not stop Instagram from suggesting their profile to you. This means that if you have an ex using the app that you have recently unfollowed, you could still be shown their profile in your People You May Know suggestions.

The only way to stop someone from being suggested to you is to block their profile completely. Once you have blocked a profile you will no longer be able to see any visible indication of their existence on the app. All of your profile activity will also be hidden from them.

Do Private Accounts Show on Instagram Suggestions?

While making your account private is a great way to ensure that the content on your profile is only seen by those to who you give access, it does not affect whether or not your profile will be suggested to someone. Whether your profile is private or not, Instagram will still possibly suggest you as a friend to anyone that whom it finds you could have a relationship.

A private profile simply limits the visibility of your posts, not your suggestion rate. The only way to ensure that you do not appear in the suggestions of another user is to block their profile in your settings.

Final Thoughts

This detailed guide has broken down many of the common questions people have about the Instagram People You May Know friend suggestions. Friend suggestions are one of the biggest quality-of-life features that Instagram offers its users.

When using Instagram, you usually do not have to try very hard to find relevant profiles, as the algorithm is constantly working to match you up with other users that whom it believes you could have some sort of relation.

David Johnson is a freelance writer with 9 years of experience writing for Techzillo and other established tech outlets like iMore. His focus and key interests are Apple and accessibility as well as consumer technology in general. Read our Editorial Guidlines and Fact Checking process.

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