Just what does “Facebook” think we are all doing, anyway?

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Well, this is interesting. Facebook just did the strangest thing.

I have a friend who has not been on Facebook very long and for most of that time did not actually use it. Then, I became aware that it was his birthday, so I wished him a happy birthday on his Facebook wall. Then, I noticed that he suddenly had about 200 friends where before he had almost none.

My friend lives in another country and is part of a community that historically has not had a lot of Facebook involvement, but on looking at the list of friends, I saw many individuals that I know in real life, some quite well some much more casually, from that community, which appear to be emerging from the non-Facebook world. These are people I’d like to have as my Facebook friends, and that I happen to have actually met, and in some cases, have known for decades.

So I Friended a bunch of them … remember, these are actual people I’ve met in real life and know … and Facebook’s reaction was to log me off, then when I logged back on, to scold me and block me from friending anyone else.

I was also forced to withdraw all the requests I had made that morning.

So, Facebook just made me waste time … not much time, true, but not their prerogative. It also told me that it knows better than I do whom I know, which it does not. It also once again demonstrated that it (Facebook) does not actually know how people who actually use it are actually using it. Many of my “Facebook friend” are not my meatspace friends, and many of my “Facebook friends” have similarly non-meatspace “Facebook friends.” Not everyone who uses Facebook has Facebook-only friends, but frankly, most do. Facebook also generated an absurdity; I was actually in the middle of doing what they seem to at least pretend is what everyone is supposed to do on Facebook and summarily stopped me from doing it. How strange.

Do you think that the people who run Facebook actually don’t know what we are doing here? Are they pretending to not have a clue or are they truly clueless?

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7 thoughts on “Just what does “Facebook” think we are all doing, anyway?

  1. Maybe since most of your fb friends are non-real world friends you have their algorithms messed up. They now expect the sorts of people you know to be ones of certain kinds (those who have the same mutual friends already and who certain sets of commonalities, etc.) and they think you’re now going through a random person’s list and friending random people with little in common with you.

  2. Good point. Actually, not so much because they are real world but because they are new to the community. They don’t fit either real world friends (thy are not physically close to me) nor the facebook extended community profiles.

  3. This is a recent development on FB, and they are trying to cut down on spammers randomly adding large numbers of friends. I know it’s stupid. They keep popping suggestions up at you, and if you follow them, FB assumes you’re just collecting people. There seems to be a threshold of somewhere around 5 or 6 adds at a time before they shut you down.

  4. Seems silly, unless you have a rejection rate of below 75% or something (possible if you send a lot of requests) I would think facebook would leave someone with a fairly long leash in making friend requests, as they’re probably not spam. Or maybe I’m naive about how people are using facebook.

  5. This makes perfect sense if you understand that for Facebook, you are not the customer, you are the product. The real customers of Facebook are advertisers, of course.

    From this perspective, it doesn’t matter if your “friends” are really people you know (or even want to know) – what does matter is that they share common interests and can be packaged and sold (along with you) with related data (birthdays, income level, where you live, what you like, and much, much more).

  6. Well said Uqbar, there’s also the problem of facebook actually interfering with the wider web as described on Anil Dash’s blog.



  7. uqbar, that makes no sense! I was actively engaged in assembling an even better list of names of people who would have very similar habits to mine: Africanists interested in the Pliocene and late Miocene with a proclivity for rodents! They don’t know what they are missing!!!

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