Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is?

Tell me that you also find your crush’s profile icon across most of the social media applications like Facebook and Instagram on your phone.  As much as we like seeing the face that makes our hearts flutter, it’s also quite eerie to feel like they’re following us around no matter which app we use at the time of day. The question is do Facebook and Instagram know who your crush is?

Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is? - Let's Find Out!

My suspicion is that Facebook and Instagram know the exact person/s we’re interested in. Not only do these social media apps use the data we provide from our posts, but they also track our behavior and actions while we’re inside the apps. The more information we provide and the more time we spend on our smartphones, the more personal data about us is being stored for the capitalization of this massive corporation. Facebook and Instagram know us better than we know ourselves, so it would be no surprise that they know the person we like.

Why Do I Keep Seeing My Crush on Facebook and Insta?

It’s normal to notice our crushes. These one-sided romantic feelings can drive us to think about them often or yearn for them to appear from time to time. Psychologically it makes sense, but if you shift to an online setting, having the face of the person you like greeting you every time you open an app like Instagram and Facebook can get quite alarming.

Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is? - Let's Find Out!

Let me paint for you guys the exact scenario that I’m currently facing. Whenever I open Instagram, my crush’s story is the first one lined up on my row. When I check who’s viewed my IG story for the day, his icon would be right at the top even if he wasn’t really the first one who saw it.

On Facebook, I bet I’m one of the first people his new posts appear to, ready for my heart reacts. If you take a peek at my Messenger app (which no one should do because it’s not right to read other people’s messages), you can clearly see his icon with the bright green dot indicating that he’s online. It’s like the app is challenging me to chat with him! I’m too much of a coward to start a conversation though, fearing being only left as “seen”.

Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is?

Why exactly does this happen? How do Facebook and Instagram know who our crushes are? What do Facebook and Instagram do with the personal data that we provide to them and should we be scared? These are just some of the questions that this blog would hopefully come up with answers to. Let’s find out if Facebook and Instagram are really smart enough to know our heart’s truest desires.

Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is? - Let's Find Out!

Just a disclaimer: this article is in no way a credible research paper. You have been warned! Yes, I am a Digital Marketer by profession who’s taken courses such as “How Marketers Collect and Use Your Data”, but the purpose of this write-up is more for entertainment than for spreading information you can cite on your thesis. Like, who even openly talks about his sad love life for academic purposes? I will say though that out of the many blogs I’ve written for my website, this particular piece is where I went down the research rabbit hole the deepest.

How Does The Internet Use Our Personal Data?


To start off, I think you guys should first be introduced to the concept of cookies. Cookies are “small pieces of code that are added to users’ web browsers as they visit different websites” according to this article by MNI on What do Cookies Do for Digital Marketers. Whenever you visit a new website and “Accept” its cookies, you are giving them permission to track your online activities. Cookies don’t store your name, email address, or phone number, but they do retain your age, gender, location, interests, and behavior across all of the websites you visit and keywords you use in search engines. This data is then being used by companies for target marketing and to serve advertisements more relevant to your needs as a consumer.

Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is? - Let's Find Out!

Here’s an example to help you guys understand. For my website, Google Adsense is turned on and the types of ads you’re seeing are specifically catered to the cookies stored in your browser. These cookies have been tracking your online activities from the websites you visit, the words you search for, the videos you watch, and even the items currently in your online shopping cart.

Let’s say for someone like me who’s read a ton of blogs about dating and relationships, the types of ads that I’m seeing now are for dating apps. The online ads know how much I want a relationship and since the key to good advertising is repetition, they’re displaying the ad again and again whenever I visit my own website. Sometimes, the same ads even follow me across the internet until I eventually give in and just sign up for the dating app.

Coming back to Facebook and Instagram, both apps do use cookies, but only for authentication, security, localization, analytics, and advertising. Facebook uses its own log-in and tracking solution to monitor users’ activities according to this article by Hongkiat on How Facebook Uses Your Data. Also bear in mind that since Facebook owns Instagram, whatever data collected from Instagram is also being pooled with Facebook’s. Now, let’s see how both social media apps actually work!


Newsfeed – Why Do I See My Crush’s Posts First?

How does Facebook determine which posts show up on your newsfeed? Why do we immediately see our crush’s posts the second they publish them? You see according to the same article stated by Hongkiat, the posts you see on your newsfeed are based on three major sources. The first one is Interaction with your friends – the friends you chat with frequently will show up first on your feed. The second one is the Type of Content You’re More Likely to Enjoy – the kinds of content: pictures or videos that you like, comment on, or share often will appear in your news feed. The last one would be the Activities on a Certain Post – if certain posts get lots of likes and comments, they will show up on people’s newsfeeds.

Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is? - Let's Find Out!

Data Tracking – How does Facebook know all of this information?

It almost seems like Facebook “knows what you are going to say, do—or buy—even before you do and that is because Facebook collects a lot of data” according to this article by Forbes on All The Ways Facebook Tracks Your and How to Stop it. Well, it tracks everything from your engagement: likes, shares, and comments to the amount of time you spend watching or reading a certain post to the specific people you most frequently chat with on the messenger app.

And you can actually verify this yourself by opening the Facebook App on your phone. Go to Activity Log under Profile Settings of your account. Under Logged Actions and Other Activity, you will see a detailed list of all of your activities while you’re using the app.

Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is? - Let's Find Out!

It doesn’t stop there actually. Facebook also keeps has an eye on what we do on other apps on your phones as well. They do this using Facebook Connect which you might recognize as the “Log-In with Facebook” pop-up when you’re registering in a new app. If you choose that option, Facebook can now track whatever you’re doing on that app.

This article from Wired titled All the Ways Facebook Tracks You—and How to Limit It said it best: “Facebook stalks you to see what you like”. Instead of their original goal of connecting people together, they’re capitalizing on people by selling their personal information to companies who would like to target ads on specific user profiles to make more money off of them! Now, I’m not sure if Facebook will find a way to capitalize on my feelings for my crush, but I at least hope that we’ll be together already before that happens!


Stories – Why is My Crush’s Story First on My Row?

When you first open Instagram, you immediately notice if your crush has posted a new story because their icon is the first one on your row. Of course, you can’t wait to watch it! I mean, I understand guys! Self-control is not a concept I am familiar with when it comes to matters of the heart. If you stop and think though, why is your crush’s story always first up?

Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is? - Let's Find Out!

Well, here’s how the Instagram Story algorithm works according to this article from Alphr on How Does Instagram Choose The Order of Stories. Instagram Stories looks for this thing called “signal” which is more of the summation of 4 aspects of your behavior on the app. The first one is Interest – accounts you manually search for or profiles you frequently visit. The second is Interaction – the exchange of likes, comments, and direct messages between the two accounts. The third one is Timeliness – the newest stories will show up first. The last one is Experience – your repeated actions or if you keep tapping on their stories right away, they will show up first.

If you think about it, we tick all boxes when it comes to our crushes. I definitely visit my crush’s profile maybe once a week. I seldom message him, but I’m sure to like his posts on the rare chance that he posts a new picture. His new stories are always first in my rows even if there are still stories from my other friends that I haven’t watched. And more importantly, I keep tapping and watching his stories first. Instagram has noticed how often I repeat this action. I’ve given the app signals and it has figured out what I want. That I want him. Hahaha.

Story Views – Why is My Crush at the Top of My Story Views?

We film 15-second videos or snaps of our day and post them on our Instagram Stories with a 24-hour expiration. Do we post these with the intention for that one person to see them? Yes. Don’t deny it. You guys are in the same boat as me. Every hour, we keep checking if our crush has viewed our story, and sometimes, we see them at the top of our viewer list for some reason. I’m sorry to spoil it for you though. The reason they’re at the top of our list isn’t that they pay so close attention to us.

Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is? - Let's Find Out!

Elite Daily’s article on An Expert Explains What It Means When A Crush Watches Your IG Stories, the reason your crush is at the top of your list is that their’s is the account you’re most interested in or interact the most with. The first fifty viewers of your story will be listed in chronological order by who viewed your story first. After your viewer count passes 50, the accounts will be listed according to the accounts you’re most interested in. So yeah, your crush isn’t stalking you. You’re the one stalking them.

Yes, Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is!

So, the final answer to the question: if Facebook and Instagram know who your crush is – Yes, they do. We voluntarily share so much data about ourselves on these apps and they even track every tap on our screen and every keystroke on our keyboard. But on the bright side, they have too much data about us at their disposal already that I think the people we like aren’t as valuable of information to them. The only ones who might care about if these apps know who our crushes are are us.

But I bet if you happen to see your friends’ Facebook or Instagram accounts, you’ll know right away who their crushes are based on whoever’s face shows up right when they open the app. Care to confirm my hypothesis? Haha!

Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is? - Let's Find Out!

As for me, you might accuse me of maybe spending too much time stalking my crush’s profile. Maybe I chat with him too often or look at his pictures longingly hoping that he someday be mine. I will not admit nor deny this claim. I say, to each his own! Maybe I’ll blindly believe that it was destiny working its way through technology to bring two soulmates together. As a hopeless romantic who believes in signs and the universe and all of that stuff, I would rather accept this explanation than the hard facts I’ve just gone through. Hahaha.

But in all seriousness, Facebook and Instagram are powerful applications that have forged their way into our everyday lives already. It’s the digital age and technology is advancing further and further as more time passes by. I would just like to remind you guys to be careful with the data that you share online because it could always be used against you. If you guys want to learn how to protect your data, you may check out any of the articles that I’ve cited on this blog.

I Hope You Guys Enjoyed Reading!

I’m not sure if you guys learned anything from reading this blog, but I hope that you at least had a great time! I had so much fun writing about this. It’s been a while since I had to do somewhat of research where I actually cited credible sources. If I were the professor who received a paper like this, I would immediately fail the student. That’s why if you like enjoyed this article, maybe you can share it with your friends or let me know what you think in the comment section!

Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is? - Let's Find Out!

If you’re curious about what I’m going to do with my crush since Facebook and Instagram are obviously pushing us to be together, I’m keeping my mouth shut. I think the internet and social media have had enough of my personal information. Also after having my soul sucked dry from online dating apps, I’m kinda so done with digital romances. I want my love story to happen in the real world and I’m feeling really good about it! It’s so much more magical when you just let things happen. Be patient and let time lead you to those moments when you slowly fall in love.

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26 thoughts on “Do Facebook and Instagram Know Who Your Crush Is?”

  1. LOL this is great! I am married but only see my husbands stuff first when we are actively liking each others posts – if we don’t then I don’t see him.

  2. I love this! I remember in high school and in college, I used to wonder about this because Facebook would always show my crush on my main page. I eventually realized that Facebook becomes aware of whose page you check a lot which is probably why it happened that way. LOL

  3. Sooooo interesting! I wondered how Instagram always showed me my sister’s posts- it’s probably for the same reason!

  4. Socials track everything, I’m not surprised that they also show more of the same people that you interact with on a regular basis.

  5. So that’s how social media sites like Facebook and Instagram track your identity online. We should be careful to use these apps on social media because you are allowing them to access your info. which is not safe.

  6. It’s all about the algorithm! It’s a bit freaky but they do track our history / search results. Always ensure that you turn off the tracking or limit it. It’s good to be more private also.

  7. This is so true! I see my crush too all the time and yes, I think it’s because of the algorithm and the cookies. Thank you for sharing this. What a fun way to understand how they use our personal data and information on our online activities.

  8. One of my oldest kids (he’s not a kid anymore, actually) uses a dating app. He likes it. It used to make me nervous, but it seems to be the way people meet others now.

  9. I don’t spend much on Instagram now but knowing this, I’m not sure if I feel positive about the data collection. I guess it’s the main reason why these apps are free. It’s because we give them free valuable information about us

  10. I noticed this before, and I already thought that it is because of the algorithms, because they track all the things that we do on the internet.

    1. The real world love story is still the most romantic despite this internet app dating craze. I’m with you on finding love that way. I’m feeling really good about it too

  11. Such a fun post! Yeah, I feel like Facebook knows more about me than I do, haha. But it makes sense. The algorithm is tracking everything I do and where I always click and react first, so they will of course give me more of that. They have me figured out!

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