Facebook’s bizarre search algorithm
I’ve been having some problems trying to locate friends on Facebook and now I know why.
Facebook’s search algorithm is the most bizarre search algorithm known to man.
If you know how to spell their name exactly and type it all in lower-case that works fine. As soon as you introduce a capital or partial then spacing, which letters are capitalised and the length of the match all seem to play their part in the bizarre matching process that never delivers what you would expect although does deliver the same results every time.
I’ll use my name as an example (~ indicates additional space character):
Damien Guard / damien guard
Finds me, two coast guards named Nick Zieser and Patrick Fernandez, a person called Romy Domingo and two groups that match on description. The other people have nothing in the “Matches” field to indicate why they were bought in but not too strange.
Finds me, Damien Guarnieri and Kyle Damien Guarco. This one makes sense.
damien guar / ~damie guar
Should return same as above but oddly excludes Kyle.
Damien Guar / damie Guar~ / ~Damie Guard / dami Guard~ / dami guar / dami guard / dami guar
No matches at all.
Curiously only Damien Guarnieri. Worrying given that many people search with lower case.
Damien Guarnieri and Kyle Damien Guarco only. No sign of me.
The above two plus Damian La Guardia but still no sign of me or Damian Guard.
Damie guard / damie guard / damie Guard / Damie Guard / damien Guar / ~damie Guar~
Finds a Damian Guard in Tulsa but nobody else.
Includes most of the people mentioned here but excludes my partial-namesake Damian Guard.
Finds Damian Guardia and Damian La Guardia which didn’t show for “Dami Guar” yet excludes Damian Guard again.
It’s likely a case of devs trying to be intelligent and ending up with a usability nightmare but until they get their act together be prepared to try all sorts of combinations for partial matching.