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How Does Snapchat Choose Your Best Friends List? We Investigated

Can you really end up Best Friends with someone you rarely (or never) snap?

Snapchat laid to rest an entire league of cybersnooping when they made their Best Friends feature private in an update last January. The notorious Best Friends list, for those who aren't snap-savvy, is literally a list of people who a Snapchat user most frequently interacts with through the app.

In the past, everyone's lists were public, so nosy curious people could casually check out who their (ex)bae was sending snaps to. But after Snapchat made the lists private, teens freaked out because they could no longer get their creep on. Users can still view their own Best Friends list, but nobody else's.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel revealed that the change was made to protect the identities of "high-profile" app users. He promised that once these privacy concerns are addressed, Best Friend lists will return in their full-fledged, very public glory.

Many people, however, feel like their Best Friends list never accurately represents their snapping behavior anyway.

For all the drama these lists can cause -- see exhibit A and exhibit B -- the exact mechanisms behind the feature are unclear, as the above tweets prove. Snapchat states on their support site that Best Friends are "selected automatically by a magical Snapchat friendship algorithm."

K. That sounds cool and all, Snapchat, but jealous girlfriends and boyfriends worried about their significant others cheating on them need a little bit more to go on than just a magical friendship algorithm.

We wanted more info about this mysterious algorithm, so we decided to test things out for ourselves. Over the course of two weeks, we conducted Snapchat experiments to nail down answers to our biggest Best Friend questions:

>> Can you be Snapchat Best Friends with someone you never snap?

>> Can you be Snapchat Best Friends with someone you rarely snap?

Here's what we found out:

Can you be Snapchat Best Friends with someone you've never sent a snap to?

The Test: For one week, someone -- let's call her Friend A (starred in the graph below) for the sake of simplicity -- who I've never snapped with previously sent me at least 10 snaps per day, but I never responded to her. I continued snapping my other friends as I normally would throughout the week and recorded how many interactions I shared with each of them.

The Results: Even though I technically had the highest number of Snapchat interactions ( = number of snaps sent + number of snaps received) with Friend A, she never ended up on my Best Friends list. Friend B, who I shared only eight interactions with, was my only Best Friend for the week.

The Answer: No! If you never reply to someone's snaps, no matter how many they send you, they'll likely never end up on your Best Friends list.

Can you be Snapchat Best Friends with someone you rarely send snaps to?

The Test: The following week, I repeated the first experiment with Friend L (starred below), who was again someone I had never snapped with before this. This time around, I made a minor change and responded to her 10 snaps with one snap per day. I continued snapping with my other friends normally, and you can see from the graph that several of my friends from the first experiment were also part of the second.

The Results: Two days into the experiment, Friend L took the second spot on my Best Friends list, after I had sent her exactly two snaps ever. Friend B, my only top friend from the first experiment, remained #1. Three days later, Friend L overtook Friend B. By the end of the week, however, Friend M -- who sent and received roughly the same number of snaps to me and I did to him -- was #1.

Answer: Yes, you can be Snapchat Best Friends with someone you rarely reply to, but responding to each other equally seems to place them higher on your list.

So there you have it, folks. The Best Friends list likely involves much more than just the pure number of interactions you share with someone. Judging from our very unscientific -- but still all in good fun! -- experiments, a one-sided Snapchat convo probably won't land you on someone's Best Friends list. The bad news? This means that if your bae's #1 Best Friend is an ex, it's probably safe to assume that it's not the ex sending all the snaps. Sorry :(

Oh yeah, and there's also this...