Back in late October 2010, Facebook rolled out its new Friendship feature that allowed people to stalk others on Facebook at a whole new level. Now, you won’t even have to stalk people to know some things. Facebook will announce it to the world for you!
Now, if you were at an event listed on Facebook and met someone who later became Facebook friends with you, all of your Facebook friends will know about it! That also goes for all the Facebook friends of your new Facebook friend!
What used to be a generic announcement of something like John Deer is now friends with Jane Doe, now reads like John Deer and Jane Doe are now friends after both attending Jack’s Housewarming Party.
I’m dead serious! If Facebook sees you’ve attended something together, they will make that assumption and add it to the new friends announcement!
Facebook is making that announcement as if it were there to stalk you and confirm this, even though you might have met somewhere else afterwards, missing each other at the event that could have been something big like concert or the Super Bowl. You might have met through mutual friends afterwards who didn’t even know each other were at the event if it were big. You might have met somewhere else all together, like at the airport after leaving the Super Bowl. You might have known each other at work for years but only a bit more after attending a function posted on Facebook, and deciding to become Facebook friends. However, Facebook is going to insist you met at the event you RSVP’ed to that was on Facebook, and announce it that way!
I just hope for Facebook’s sake they have a time limit at which they stop this “assumption” cause if they don’t, you and someone else in your city or region might have eventually attended something together, never met each other then, but Facebook might assume it.
No matter how Facebook does or doesn’t cut off its assumptions where people met, announcing where people met when they become Facebook friends is, both, so creepy and so wrong!
To add gas to the fire, Facebook offers the opportunity for you to not only Like the new friendship, but also Share it so other people can know about it! And to top it off, there’s an automatic Add X as a Friend link right next door so you don’t even have to click on this person’s profile to add them as a friend to find out more about them!
I wonder what the US laws say about publicly posting lies and how robust it is against suing. People sue for the dumbest things in the US and win, but they’d have a pretty straightforward case against Facebook here. They’d also have plenty of opportunities considering the number of arguments this might start, and some of them are bound to end nastily!
Take, for example, how many couples can you see starting fights from something like this?
- Um, hon, who’s this person you met at that event and why are you Facebook friends, never mind so quickly?
- Did I meet this person? How come I didn’t?
- What did you do to make him/her look you up on Facebook so soon after?
Insert your additional questions of suspicions here. I don’t have experience with this sort of stuff.
But what about your friends, nosey family members, maybe colleagues?
- Hey, who’s that?
- Which guy/girl was that from last night?
- Why are you Facebook friends with him/her???
- So, guess there was some magic last night, eh?
- You decided to become Facebook friends with that creep that wouldn’t leave us alone last night?
- So why did you suddenly decide to become Facebook friends with him/her after knowing him/her all these years?
Seriously, do you need all that in your life?
So what can you do against all this?
Don’t RSVP to events on Facebook. Just tell people you know you’ll be coming by email, or Facebook Wall or something. Let’s hope Facebook hasn’t gotten to the stage where they also have algorithms to read your emails and Facebook Walls for this purpose. They already read it to determine ads they put when you use Facebook, but that’s a different level of privacy intrusion.
A little commentary and advice on Facebook’s increasing lack of privacy
Facebook may be a social networking site, but it’s quickly making itself in to a gossip networking site. You used to have to be stupid to make Facebook follies that end up costing you in real life. Now, Facebook will make those follies for you, and even lie a few times just to generate follies and conversation.
I don’t know who they have at Facebook who review and approve features they put in, but I strongly suggest they hire some CSOs – Common Sense Officers, before they get their pants sued off. Facebook has a lot of money, and like any group that has a lot of money, they are favourite targets to be sued. Just ask any government. Unlike government, though, they’re doing a lot to encourage getting sued these days.
If you’re such an opportunist looking for something to sue Facebook over, though, here’s a golden chance. However, I advise holding off as Facebook is on track to doing dumber things that will make it easier to sue and win. You’ll have to decide the fine line between ease of winning, though, and sharing the money, cause if it’s easy, you know lots of people will be doing it so your pot won’t be as large.