Facebook is testing and implementing a number of new features surrounding friend requests and suggestions. The changes protect you from friend request spam, help you manage incoming and outgoing requests, and suggest more people you may want to connect with.
Recently, Facebook added an alternative “Not now” response to friend requests, allowing you to hide requests and confirm or delete them later, instead of leaving them pending and visible. Facebook has since added a “Delete all hidden requests” button at the top right of hidden requests. To protect users from friend request spam, Facebook appears to be automatically placing suspicious friend requests into the hidden requests section.
If a you send a friend request to another user, but wants to retract the request, you can now click an “x” next to “Awaiting friend confirmation” on the person who received the request’s profile. Previously you had to block, then unblock the person who received the request to cancel it.
Also, in some cases, Facebook is placing users it thinks you may want to send friend requests to in your pending requests page. Instead of the “Confirm” or “Not Now” options, users see “Add as a friend” or “Ignore”. This is a more aggressive way to suggest potential friends to users than Facebook has tried before, and those not reading carefully might mistake the suggestion as an incoming request.
Now when you accept a friend request, you’ll be given prompts to write on your new friend’s wall, view their profile, or send friend requests to some of their friends. Under the prompt “You may also know some of [his/her] friends”, users see the names and profile pictures of four potential friends along with “Add as friend” buttons.
Lastly, Facebook has adjusted the “People You May Know” module. Now when you are viewing photos uploaded by a friend, “People You May Know” will frequently show you users who are friends with the uploader of the photos. However, it doesn’t appear to weight the suggestions towards users in the album you’re viewing.
It is to Facebook’s benefit if you have more friends (without getting unwanted attention from strangers). Friends generate notifications which bring you back to the site, fill your news feed with links to Pages and external websites – driving Likes and traffic which show third-parties the value of Facebook, and constitute an investment which increases your barrier to leaving Facebook. Therefore, the site will continue searching for ways to help you connect on Facebook with those you already know, and discover new people to forge a friendship with.
[Thanks to Amit Lavi for the tip on request page suggestions.]