Answers » Categories » Computers & Technology » Internet

How are the 9 friends photos within Facebook Timeline selected for the friends box?

Why are certain friends chosen in the nine photo friend box on your facebook profile timeline? How does facebook choose these 9 friends to show up in the friends box at the top of timeline?  What does the 9 friends list on facebook mean?

43 Answers

The new Facebook Timeline design has 9 friends pictures on the left hand side of your timeline profile. As of now, it appears that all 9 friends do not rotate around (although I'm sure this will change in future updates). In my 9 friends box, it looks like the first 2 friends are based on stated family members in facebook (I only have 2 family members). The third friend is my ex, whom I have the most Private Messages with, and profile views (also tagged in some photos). The next three are friends (close) whom I've been tagged together with recently and liked a couple of statuses/pics recently (and have PM with slightly in past). Last row of three friends in the 9 friends box are one close friend, one friend I PM with recently, and another friend from college (who liked me at one time) that she Private Messaged me recently.

Overall, besides family members, I think Private Messages play the highest rate in these 9 friends, followed by tagged pics/posts together, mutual profile views / picture views, and recent comments and/ or  likes.

Essentially, the 9 photo boxes of friends on timeline show some of the people who care about you most.
I agree, but my ex is there on second position, however we haven't spoken or I haven't checked her profile since december. I chatted witha lot of people before but why she's still there? –  tadesu  Apr 7th, 2013 at 4:34 PM

The 9 people on my box are the same ones as compared to the chat list when i'm offline... except the one in the center. Maybe he is my stalker?

My 9 box is definitely people that rotated through the 6 box (when I had the 6 box). All are family except two...a guy I had something with (I check his page and I have sneaking suspicions that he checks my page), and a girl who I had been talking a lot through messaging about some work stuff...the guy is in the first, upper left box and the girl is in the second box...all the rest are family....

Has anyone's 9 box ever changed? Mine hasn't. It's been the same 9 people since I've had the 9 box (2 weeks?). Also...the guy is high on my friend's list and I'm high on his????

What I also noticed about the new updated 9box configuration is that when I looked on my regular friends list I see certain people at the top that weren't there when I had the 8 and 6 box timeline

All people in that new box are people I interact with a lot publicly or through private messages. All but 1. That one is a guy I used to date, but didn't work out for some reason. No public interaction whatsoever and no private messages. I used to stalk me and I know for a fact he stalked me and still does. I don't know whether it's my stalking or his that got him stuck there. The faces never change by the way.

Yes it is changes, mostly number 7-8-9 in my case

So mainly close friends and family members in the first row, second and third row the people I chat ...but the 8 spot a guy i never ever check on. why is he there?

Mine has had one change -- my ex-girlfriend was switched out with a friend of mine that I saw a few weeks ago that I have several pictures with on Facebook. They seem to exchange the 9 spot with each other daily. But the other 8 have stayed the same besides some switching of positions -- my best friend and seven various family members. My two sisters and two brothers, along with my aunt and oldest cousin, showed up on my six all the time, but the seventh family member, my grandmother, never did. I don't think I've been to her page since adding her and I highly doubt she checks facebook very often -- in fact, I'd be surprised if she remembered how to log on. I'm guessing it's because she's labeled as family.

Guys please help me here. Is the way that I see my friends' 9-boxes the same way they view it? And are the people I see in their 9-boxes the people they interact with privately/publicly? During the past few weeks I've been seeing that girl persistently on my boyfriend's 9-box. They never interact publicly, but she used to have a thing for him, so I'm scared. Because all the other people in his 9-box are close friends of him. She just appeared there out of nowhere and is there persistently with no public interaction between the 2. Does this mean that they interact in private? Private messages/chat etc? Any help whatsoever from your guys experience would be much appreciated.
No, when they view your 9 boxes, its completely different then when you see yours.

You can confirm this by going to your profile page and clicking on the "wheel" button on the right of "activity log button' on the bottom right corner of your cover photo. Then click on "view as," click on "view as specific person" and type that person's name. –  nameless  May 2nd, 2013 at 12:59 AM

For the random girl asking question above: ^ ^ ^
I think page views play a big role in determining which friends show in the top 9. It could be that those people have the highest number of page visits to your profile page, or they are the people you visit the most.

If you say she used to have a "thing" for him, it could just be that she used to view his profile page a lot.
Don't get all too clingy, guys don't like that...
I think page views could play a big role also, besides Family members and private messages.

This girl I used to like back in University, shows up on the 3rd box on my top 9 list about a week or two, when I took her out of aquaintances. I checked the next week and she stopped showing on my top 9 box.

She did show again today when I took her out of aquaintances list.

I hardly ever view her fb page directly, but I've checked the aquaintance list almost daily(just out of habit), so I don't know what's going on.

Also, I know top 9 box IS related to which friends shows up in Find Friends(keep refreshing the page). –  nameless  May 2nd, 2013 at 1:04 AM

There is no logic at all. The one that I have most private message does not appear in the box! They almost never change except the top photo on the left hand corner.

So now we can deduce which one stalks my fb? Really?
Make a dummy profile account and be friends with your primary account. WIth the dummy profile account, check your primary account's FB several times a day, including looking through your primary's photos.

Don't ever check or interact your dummy profile with your primary account in anyway.

Log on to your primary account everyday and note if dummy account moves up to top 9 within a week or two. Or a month..

Then.. Report back to us. –  nameless  May 5th, 2013 at 9:04 PM

Most of my 9 friends are those who I would expect to be there, family & those who I communicate with regularly through commenting, messaging & tagged photos except for a guy I like who only added me a couple of mths ago. He's appearing since then between 6th & 9th position, he moves but has only disappeared once for about a day, then re-appeared. We've hardly had any communication on FB apart from a couple of messages. I check his profile every couple of days to see what he's up to. I'm wondering if he's appearing because of the fact that I check his profile only, or could he be there because he's checking my profile too? If it based on communication then it would need to be a 2 way thing, right? Hopefully so :-)

Here's what I've noticed from my observations:

1. Any friends in the 'Close Friends' list, will automatically be in the top 9. Usually in the #1 spot. Put anyone on the top 9 list, under 'Aquaintances' and they will not show up in the top 9.
2. If you and a FB friend mutually have listed each other as a "family member" they will automatically be on your top 9, usually somewhere from positions 1-6, regardless of how much interaction you give them. But if you have a lot of interaction with them, they will move up.
3. Friends you usually mutually interact with the most will be in the top 9 list.
4. If you click on your 'Find Friends' tab(top right corner of your page when logged on FB. its between your name and Home.), you'll see 3 mutual friends listed under Mutual Friend. If you keep refreshing you'll likely see 9 different names--and that they directly from the top 9 friends box. Even if you put them under Aquaintance list, they will still show up on 'Find Friends' for a while.
5. Your top 9 list is directly related to the order of your friends in your friends list(for the most part). Almost all of them should come from the top 10 rows of your friends list.
6. People that you message/chat alot also has huge priority.

tl;dr version: I think All my top 9 friends are listed for a reason. Anyone listed as a family member or a Close Friend, automatically has priority. The people that you private message a lot, as well as people you generally publically interact with on a regular basis(comments, likes), i.e. your best friends should be in your top 9. IMO, I also definitely think profile and photo views has an influence. I just don't know if its one sided or mutual. There are 2 girls on my top 9 that I used to like, but I haven't publically(likes or messages) or privately(chat/pm) interacted with them for a long time,, especially my ex crush who's #3 now--whom I haven't had any public or mutual interaction since last July.
my ex crush who's #3 on the list, is the only one from my top 9 who isn't in my top 10 rows/ top 20 friends in my Friends List. She's usually somewhere between the 20th and 30th rows via random refreshes. –  nameless  May 6th, 2013 at 6:26 AM
I should also mention that we have like a dozen mutual likes between each other, and she has tagged me once like a yea and a half ago, though I kind of doubt that makes a difference.

Had her mostly on my aquaintance list since last summer, and I checked it almost daily up until last week(mainly out of habit). I rarely directly view her profile or her pics, though I have done it a few times a week in the past 2 weeks. –  nameless  May 6th, 2013 at 6:36 AM
Have you been checking you ex crush's profile much? I'm really beginning to believe that profile/ photos views alone is enough to get someone appearing on the 9 list. My crush started appearing there after adding him about a week later! I was really surprised to see that and he's stayed there consistently ever since despite very little interaction on FB at all. I've added about 4 new friends since then but none of them are appearing as featured friends. The question is...could it be based on mutual profile/ photo views or just on one's own activities? I also noticed a few wks ago that despite being in featured friends he was only around spot 40 on Find Friends but I've just checked it today and he's now in no.1 spot. Oh the embarrassment every time I see him as I'm probably appearing on his profile too! –  Macy  May 6th, 2013 at 11:25 AM
No, I rarely check her profile directly.

In the past 3 weeks, I looked at it maybe 3 times. –  nameless  May 6th, 2013 at 6:44 PM

well what is strange is that I haven't contacted my ex since october, stopped seeing her profile like 3-4 months ago and now she's on 3rd postion in the box. She also appears first on my chat list.
You haven't made any interaction(including likes and comments) with her on FB since 3-4 months ago, right? –  nameless  May 7th, 2013 at 7:23 PM
Maybe the amount of contact you both used to have is still very high on the list in comparison to others & that why she's still featured.. –  Macy  May 7th, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Who are/were the first 2?

Same situation happened to me. Girl I used to like started popping up in #3 spot a few weeks back, and does so every couple of days before vanishing. –  nameless  May 10th, 2013 at 11:10 PM

well it seems that facebook is taking all your visits ever, that's why we see our exes stuck in these boxes. I did an experiment I started stalking one friend who i am 100% sure is not checking my profile and guess what... she popped up in my box
How do you know 100% that person isn't checking up your profile? Views could be mutual also.. Who knows.

What position did she jump in your box anyway? –  nameless  May 10th, 2013 at 10:49 PM
did it with two actually - positions 4 and 7. Those people I am 100% sure are not checking me –  tadesu  May 11th, 2013 at 6:23 PM

After a while of being off facebook, I poked someone, and noticed within the next day, that the same person that I poked went to the top right of my nine friends. This must have been taken in account, because I had to go at that person's profile to poke them. The other factor is how often people visit your profile. I suggest leaving facebook alone for a long while, to see who ends up high on the search bar, who shows up on the nine friends, and who friends show up more at the top of the find friends list. All's you have to do is leave facebook alone for a while, by not reading too much into the calculations and experiments.
Find Friends is directly tied with top 9--or at least it is for me.

Also, I'm noticing two different top 9 lists. They seem to last 1-2 days before switching for me. –  nameless  May 12th, 2013 at 10:42 PM

Well the strange thing is that in my 9 box there's aquintace too...

This topic intrigued me to this point I tried to figure it out myself. Every time I pm with someone, that person appears somewhere on top of my chat when offline. If you go to "Friends" section on your profile and refresh it, those are the people that are either active on fb at this point (quick! look at newsfeed on the right while refreshing) or available on chat.

First 2 out of 9 people showing on my profile sidebar are people I communicate the most over pm, comments, shares, 3th, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th are people I used to pm and comment/share or been on their profile recently. 8th place is person I pm'd 5 or 6 times, never ever had any public activities . 9th place is always switching between two random people I know and work with.

Funny thing is, every time I posted something, person on 8th place always showed up on top of my Friends or chat list. (I deleted our previous conversation!)

As far as "View as" mode, those are the people I communicate with on any level.

I'm sure it varies from profile to profile, depends on many factors, but that's just some things I've noticed. Try it yourself, I'm sure all people showing up again and again on your profile have some meaning. It definitely isn't random thing as they say.

A few months ago, switching people between close friend/family/acquaintances moved them around. I stalked someone for a bit after friending them. I'm a bit OCD so I hit refresh a lot or just type the name of whoever's profile repetitively in the search bar. So I assume the amount of refreshes I had done brought her name up the list. Prior to friending her, I hadn't used FB in almost a year and a half. So I assume my recent history has a drastically greater impact. I felt creepy when she passed one of my siblings on the top 9, so I switched her to acquaintances. It took her off the list a month and a half ago. A couple weeks ago, she popped back up.

Now, I made a fake account to check my own profile. She shows up nowhere near the top of the friends list. HOWEVER, looking at her profile, I show up near the top... This makes me think THEIR friends list reflects who views them, whereas your top 9 is by your views. So... now I feel extra creepy.

the 9 friends in YOUR box has to do with who views Your page the most.

Profile views have a big role no doubt!! I haven't had ANY interaction with my ex on facebook EVER, excpet him liking the only pic I have and he liked it a long time ago. He's ALWAYS 1st in my 9 friends box, hasn't changed position once, and it has to be non other than profile views that put him there, since we dont interact at all and never have. If its mutual views, I dont know, but I do view his profile A LOT, and thats deffinately why he's there... I am curious tho if he also views mine or if its just my stalking keeping him 1st on the list.. :\

The 9 friends box just went to all random friends for me today. I don't visit or communicate with any of the 9 friends.

I believe that the top 9 boxes are of people whom you've had the most interactions with...MOSTLY. some may not be but most of them are. I have have doing my own study out of pure curiosity to see how they appear they way they do. I do believe that there may be a few that view your profile (always a possibility). What I've been doing is refreshing my top 6 screen from my mobile, my 3 'mutual friends' check boxes, and trying to tally up numbers that way.. I myself like most of you guys have had situations with people rotating every so often or not at all. What I've found is that when you refresh you screen with the 'mutual friend screen' (the three checked boxes under find friend)...if you aren't seeing any of your friends listed here period...they will not be put into the top 9. The top 6 for me...lists my top 15 friends but clearly not all pop in my top 9...because there's 15 not 9. my investigation on this whole thing so far that I've noticed is that if you're friends are not appearing in the three checked 'mutual friends' they are probably not appearing in your top nine. What I want to know is how are friends determined in your mutual friends 3 checked boxes? some people appear more than others.

also my bottom left person (#7) has only changed position twice in the last month and I'm not lurking on his page but yet, while doing these counts...this person remains the highest and is almost first on the left side chat bar). there are a few tags involved but I have other friends who have had more pic tags by a lot but never appear in the top nine but appear in the top 6 sometimes. What the deal? I'm still continuously studying the algorithm because why not...I'm curious. What are your thoughts on this?

I've been driving myself crazy over this topic as well. As you would expect, the first 8 people in my box are my close friends with whom I have a lot of public and private interaction, as well as tagged photos. However, there's this one guy I've been stalking for a while in box 9. We have absolutely no public or private interaction. What I want to know is - did my constant stalking put him there or are the profile views mutual? To test this out, I chose a random person with whom I don't have any public/private interactions and checked his page out several times a day. He hasn't appeared in my box so far. This little experiment makes me think that the people who end up in your box are the people with whom you share mutual profile views.

Just a little update (I posted an answer before). I am now pretty sure it's people YOU stalk most show up in the top 9. As I said I used to chech my ex boyfriend's page A LOT, and I mean A LOT, but I never had any interaction with him on facebook ever, so like a few weeks ago or a month, I stopped looking at his profile completely, I havent opened it ONCE since then, and he dropped from box 1 to box 2, now he's on box 3, the rest of the people are those I chat with most, but him I havent chatted with, not ever, even when we were together, havent liked any pics of his nor left any comments or anything like that (we're also not in any groups), so I'm now sure it's my stalking that kept him 1st... damn it :(

He's back on box 2. I'm so confused. :s

He's now box3 again. I should probably stop writing here lmao

The 9 box is definitely a combination of who YOU stalk, and who you have most interaction with (mostly chat, but also likes, comments etc.)

I have always had people there who make sense, they are people I chat with and interact with on a regular basis. A couple of weeks ago though, something funny happened, A guy popped in in the 9 box and was there for a day.I NEVER look at his profile, we NEVER interact on fb NOTHING.

I do know though that he had a huuuge crash on me a couple of years ago, and he is always high up in my keesh list, chat box, etc etc. He was also showing up a lot in the 6 friends fb, even though I never looked at his. And by that i mean NEVER. What is funny though is that he has a girlfriend hahah...

My point is though, was it just random, or dit fb show me my biggest "stalker"? Have you guys had similar experiences? He was only there for a day and has not showed up after that.

Share your thoughts, it's fun to hear! :D

I think that 9box shows the peope YOU view/have most interaction with (messages etc.). However, when you look at your profile with a fake profile, the 9box shows users you have recent PUBLIC interaction with (likes, comments). But, when you view your own profile with a fake profile, the 9box then does not show the people you have the most PRIVATE contact (messages) with or the people you stalk most/are most interested in by viewing their profile very much, I guess. At least this seems appropriate for my own account.

6 in my top 9 are family members, 1 is a guy who I've been messaging with recently, 1 is a girl who I've been messaging with a little while ago. This is almost always my top 8, the 9th box however keeps changing. It's always either an ex or someone who is (or used to be) interested in me. I rarely ever look at someone's page (because I get paranoid that they will SOMEHOW find out). So it seems to me that the 9th person is that persons profile views on your page.

When I go to "view as" there's some people who comment on me or people whose post I've liked, but half of them seem random. They're not the people who I never ever have contact (likes) with, but there isn't more to say than just a like. Also, none of the people that are in my top 9 are in the "view as" top 9

Weird.. Even when I took my sister and cousins out of my "family," a month later or so, they reaappeared, and they're all on the top 3. I added one of my cousins as a family member back (after she requested me), but my sister and other cousin are one sided(they have me added). I wonder if even if its one sided, it takes that into account.. Or maybe its just by memory of us being family members in the past.

Go to settings, then private settings, then on the left hand colomn click on timeline and tagging, then click on view as next to the question that says who can see my timeline. YOu can see how your profile looks to other people when you type in their names. Maybe one can draw a conclusion based on that.
What do you mean by " one can draw a conclusion based on that "?
I'm sorry I don't understand..

Do you mean that the friends other people see in the 9 boxes are different from the friends I see ?
when I see how my profile looks to other people, the 8 of the friends are who are not in the boxes when I see my profile and the rest one is the friend who shows up in the 1st box when I see my profile.

Sorry about my bad English. –  lemon  Sep 19th, 2013 at 11:26 AM

It's views mostly I suspect. My #1 & #2 have been in that order since befriending them. #1 for 1 year, #2 for 2 months. #1 is a recent date, #2 is a ex gf since a number of years which I added as a 'benchmark' since I strongly suspect she still has a thing for me.

There's #3 thru #9, all friends and family of which only one is 'marked' as such. Three of these friends I interact the most with, chat, likes, comments and all vice versa, for years now and frequently on a daily to weekly basis. The rest hardly but still more than #1 and #2. All 9 are part of 20 friends I labeled close friends + of which the 1 as family. So #1 and #2 in the 9 are the latest friend additions. I don't interact with #1 *at all*, at least not thru FB, #2 maybe 5 times of which one lengthy chat session two months ago. There one more close friend + family who never shows up. This because I know for a fact she does not use fb since signing up.

The lower regions #3 thru #9 swap places regularly where only the last two positions fall out of the list to be replaced with lower rankings. #3 - #7 swap among themselves but with minimal differences. #1 & #2 are locked since day one.

Test with dummy accounts show me that reloading a page for a dozen times, two times a week, and some likes etc. resulted in a #8 position at best. This took a day and lasted one day.

Given the fact my chat fb mates who do comment on my posts, like and chat etc. can't make it to the top 3 I suspect that clicking the timeline of the other person is the most important not ruling out other interactions, that is, unless #1 & #2 aren't clicking my timeline with a manic frequency (definitely not the case). I also suspect this is due to the 'private' nature of checking out someone's timeline. The target has no way of knowing otherwise as opposed likes and chats etc. If anything it's a good indication of people interested in you. You be the judge if it's a good or a bad thing.

I'm beginning to think there isn't just one algorithm but many. It seems we all have different experiences on our nine. I have 290 friends on my timeline. I do not have anyone tagged as a close friend or acquaintance and all my friends have the same settings. I belong to a group that requires I take their pictures in action at least twice a month and I post their tagged pics on both my wall and in the group. They all comment, like and share their pics and I chat with a few of them. With all that activity, I still cannot get them to appear on my nine.
A close friend of the family has been chatting quite regularly with me for a year and went through my pictures of family on my profile. She stayed off my nine until I made a visit to her profile. She immediately popped into my nine and has never left the number 7 spot since. The one I really question is in my number 4 spot of the nine. In the past 2 years, we have chatted maybe 5 times, he's liked one post, commented on one post, I liked one of his and we have wished each other happy birthday. I have visited his profile very few times in the past 2 years. Why is he there? I have had way more interaction with so many others and they never make it. It is this that makes me believe it has to be a mutual view. It's possible I have forgotten 20 other times I visited his page but I don't think so. He also is always in my top 40, not top 20. I started "stalking" a few I feel have had about the same amount of interaction and they don't appear either. In my opinion, the only thing that makes sense is a mutual viewing going on between us.

First two are the ones I chat with frequently, next three are ones that I periodically chat with and used to contact frequently, next one is a guy I've chatted with once and we like each other's statuses and photos often, next is a girl I've chatted with several times over the last couple of days, and the last two are the only family members I've listed.

I think it comes down to the frequency and amount of interaction. With the one guy, I'm pretty sure he shows up because I creep on his profile all the time. I actually have no idea if he looks at mine.

I did an experiment back when it was the 6 box. It cycled through about 25 people who I interacted with. Including those whom I had checked out, but had never contacted really. I think the nine is the same deal.


I knew someone who worked on this project - it uses your overall interactions with people on Facebook and your search history to discern who's important to you - some of the other individuals generated in the box have high Friend of Friend numbers (and are deemed to be more socially important to you), some are more recent connections (because timeliness was important to creating "friendships") and the rest are people that you actually care about due to your like and comment history or message history with them. This also looked at where you knew people from, how long you'd been friends... a couple of other factors I can't remember.
They know way more about you than you'd ever want to imagine.


To show how much you love ❤ them,and how special they are to you.


I have to delete them then others show up. None of the 9 are people I chat or interact with. I want to choose!


So basically, nobody here knows how it's actually done. Nobody knows how to change the settings. A few years ago, my group of nine was obviously the nine with whom I had the most activity of any sort. But at some point it changed to where it's the nine most recent new friends. I don't like that format. I like seeing my most active friends in that grid. Does ANYBODY know how to change this? Please, no guessing.

If you go to your profile and in the bottom left of your cover photo there is 3 dots next to Activity Log, there click on 'View As' and you can see how non friends see it if your friend list is set to public, or choose a specific friend to see how they see things. Now, I've cycled through a few friends to see how this changes, and the top 3 become mutual friends, and 6-9 stay as your top. However if there are no mutual friends the top 3 bring in randoms. Still trying to figure this out but I hope that helps a bit –  FoxxM  Jul 27th, 2017 at 11:19 PM


I think it's the top 9 people who takes a look at your profile/ timeline


I agree. My 9 friends do NOT match with the chat order or friend list order at all. And most of my 9 friends I rarely interact with. So, to me:

9 friends slots order = people who stalk you the most
friends page list order = people you stalk the most
chat list order = no idea, seems random, or base on when people login to chat


Looks like there are three layers:

1) Close friends who've added new posts in the last 24 hours, then:
2) A couple of either REALLY close friends, or members of the opposite sex who are crushing on you, or your S.O. if you're in a relationship I suppose, then:
3) The latest people you added in order
And if there are no friends in 1) or 2), they're all from 3).

When you go to a friend's profile, it's different:
1) The top three friends that you have the most mutual friends with but are NOT friends with you (IOW, "people you may know")
2) Six others; mutuals if you have them, otherwise simply from the top of their Friends list

Answer this question

by Anonymous - Already have an account? Login now!
Your Name:  

Your Answer:  
Source(s): (optional)

Enter the text you see in the image below
What do you see?
Can't read the image? View a new one.
Your answer will appear after being approved.

Ask your own question