10 Worst Breaches of Facebook Etiquette

Sending Friend Requests to Strangers
Sending a friend request to someone you don't know is like walking up to a stranger on the street and asking personal questions about her job, love life and hobbies. JackF/iStock/Thinkstock

It may seem strange to send a "friend" request to someone you barely know, or don't know at all, but people do it all the time. Why? Perhaps they view it as networking. Undoubtedly, some people like to accumulate friends as, ostensibly, a sign of popularity. Or maybe they're actually trying to connect with a third person through the stranger.

No matter the reason, this is considered a big no-no in the realm of Facebook etiquette. A whopping 32 percent of respondents to the Real Simple poll called it the "most irksome Facebook request" [source: Appenbrink]. Since Facebook pages often contain much private information, sending such a request is sort of like walking up to a stranger on the street and asking personal questions about his job, love life and hobbies. If you do have a valid reason for wanting to befriend a stranger — she's an avid runner like you, lives nearby and you'd like to run with her — then add a note to your request explaining this.

Interestingly, although many people find this practice annoying and even unsavory, researchers from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver) found 20 percent of Facebook users who received an unsolicited friend request from a stranger via bot-controlled fake accounts added the person. That percentage soared to 60 if the stranger had just one mutual friend in common [source: Bright]. But don't take that as an excuse to send friend requests to strangers.