One-Fifth of Facebook Friends are Complete Strangers? We Beg to Differ

Earlier this year, All Facebook and a handful of other tech blogs posted statistics showing that the average Facebook user doesn't know 20 percent of the people listed as friends on the site. In one study, conducted by GoodMobilePhones, 54 percent of people said they stayed friends with strangers out of politeness and 34 percent reported that they remained friends with strangers to appear more popular on the social networking site. According to Facebook, the average user has 130 friends, meaning that they've never personally met 26 of their online 'friends.'

Personally, I don't agree with these statistics. I haven't actually scrolled through my list of friends to see who I do and do not actually know, but I would say that it's much lower. I would guess that less than 5 percent of my Facebook friends are complete strangers. If the survey reported that the average user has only met 20 percent of their Facebook friends once, I can certainly agree with that. How many times have you attended a networking happy hour or football tailgate and found friend requests waiting the next time you logged on? These are people you've personally spoken to and spent some time with. Over the years, though, I've made a habit of only accepting friend requests from people I know personally. Sure, some people may have sneaked through, but that's my general rule for approving friends.

This survey perplexed me so much that I decided to conduct a RepEquity office survey. Here are the results; keep in mind, these are far from science or even remotely reliable answers.

Katherine Ann, Senior Account Executive
Friends: 899
Facebook friends she's never met: 0%
Facebook friends she's met once, then never socialized with again: 0%

Katherine, Marketing Strategy Manager
Friends: 1,886
Facebook friends she's never met: 0%
Facebook friends she's met once, then never socialized with again: 20%

Matt, Senior Account Executive
Friends: 500
Never met: 0%
Met once: 10%

Terry, Search Marketing Director
Friends: 386
Never met: 0%
Met once: 30%

Eric, Vice President of Account Management
Friends: 440
Never met: 0%
Met once: 1%

Sarah, Director of Technical Services
Friends: 241
Never met: 0%
Met once: 0%

Damien, Senior Software Engineer
Friends: 452
Never met: 10%
Met once: 3%

Jim, Director of Search Engine Optimization
Friends: 162
Never: .62%
Once: 0%

Megan, Director of Content Strategy
Friends: 370
Never met: 2%
Met once: 2%

Steve, Vice President of Search and Social Media
Friends: 300
Never met: 2%
Met once: 2%

Melissa, Account Manager
Friends: 1,374
Never met: 5%
Met once: 20%

Sorry, All Facebook and other tech blogs we're not sure who you're confirming as friends, but at RepEquity it appears that we tend to use Facebook among a pretty close-knit group of friends.

Let’s talk.