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You Can’t Just Make New Friends on Facebook!

What do you think this is, a social network?

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[ Social Media]

Facebook is not a social network. Who knew?

That’s what they have told their users anyway. TechCrunch shares an email that a user was sent when their account was deleted. In that email, Lauren of User Operations for Facebook says:

Please note that Facebook accounts are meant for authentic usage only. This means that we expect accounts to reflect mainly "real-world" contacts (i.e. your family, schoolmates, co-workers, etc.), rather than mainly “internet-only” contacts. As stated on our home page, Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you, not a “social networking site".

Now let’s put this into context.

The reason for the email, which was likely received by a number of other users, is largely a response to members signing up to play a game via a popular Facebook application called PackRat, which leads to users adding strangers as friends. Facebook wants to keep users who are not interested in PackRat from being annoyed by illegitimate friend requests. This is understandable, but was this really the right way of going about it?

PackRat

First of all, I wonder how many applications in the Facebook Application Directory cater to people interacting with others that they only know online. Perhaps they should block the apps before deleting the users. Or more appropriately, maybe they should just recognize that the ways in which people use Facebook have gone beyond their initial intentions, and embrace it. Discouraging people from making new friends online through their network seems like a really bad decision.

Competition

Facebook’s closest competitor MySpace thrives on people making new friends online. A perfect example of this is the enormous number of musicians, writers, filmmakers, etc. who make friends online with their fans every single day. It is clear that not all of these fans actually know the artists, but can interact with them online, and that is a large appeal for both the artists and the fans.

I’m fairly certain that similar interactions take place on Facebook, but are these violating Facebook’s policy? Are fans who are interested in the possible Facebook movie in the wrong for sending a request to Aaron Sorkin? And what does this mean for businesses? Is business networking frowned upon? Perhaps they wish to keep it limited to the Visa Business Network.

In all fairness, this is probably all blown a little out of proportion. I think (or hope at least) what really happened here was a poorly worded explanation and solution to Facebook’s PackRat problem. I don’t think they thought hard enough about what they were saying, and I will be curious to see if Facebook follows up on any negative publicity.

Some damage control is likely in order for Facebook’s PR department. With MySpace Music set to launch this week, Facebook does not want to drive people away, because I think MySpace is about to draw in quite a few users. I wonder if this episode will be in the Facebook movie.

You Can’t Just Make New Friends on Facebook!
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  • http://www.BrewCityTails.com Sara

    This is exactly why, despite what all the Facebook champions say, I don’t like Facebook!  It’s not set up to make it easy to "meet" new people and that email makes it very clear that they never intended it to allow for that.  But when someone like me is trying to spread the word about a new business, that’s exactly what I need to do — meet new people!

    Facebook needs to decide who they are/what they want to be and bloggers and the media need to stop parading it around as if its a social network.  It’s not!

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk Gareth – Design

    What!?! A Facebook Movie! How is  that going to work?!

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Debbie Morgan

    I don’t care what that email says, FaceBook is a social networking site. It may not have started out that way but it has evolved into that and if FaceBook tries to discourage it, they will be shooting themselves in the foot.

    Like Sara, I use FaceBook along with some Ning sites to raise awareness for safety and security issues to drive visitors to my web site. If they made me stop making friends with people I’ve never met, I’d take my attention elsewhere. If enough people left the site for that reason, FaceBook’s raffic would drop and their advertising revenue would suffer. All because their principle use has turned into something greater than they every imagined?

    The demise of FaceBook for clinging to a dying ideal would definitely not make for a very good movie!

  • http://www.body-rockin.com Body Rockin Models

    I had a FB account for months or about a year and a half, didn’t do anything with it till about 4 months ago, mainly because they don’t disable my site links like MySpace does now cause we are umm, to sexy for Myspace it seems, so I started working on on my FB, still use MySpace too though.

    What’s crazy is now they also limit how many friends you can have too, I was told by a model friend of mine when she reached like 5,000 I think..she can’t add any more…and  huh, FB is labeled all over the news and in every article I see written that it IS a SOCIAL SITE..why do they care how many friends I add, either real life or internet..hell if I only added real life ones I wouldn’t have but a few in the 1st place.

    I see this as just a tool to slow down folks using FB as a marketing vehicle and by limiting friends etc…that limits ad money they would earn if to many businesses didn’t need to buy ads from them and had 50,000 or 100,000 or more "friends" they can reach without paying FB a nickel.

  • http://www.worryfreeonlineshopping.webs.com Martha

    What is wrong in making friends in the internet? If facebook do not allow in making friends in the internet they might as well shut down. They are just wasting the time of people who sign an account with them. Facebook should be sued for damages by pepole whos accounts has been deleted.

  • http://www.ebiz-strategies.com Dean Markham

    I agree with the article, why ban the user for using an application that they endorse?

    If Facebook don’t want users because of the application, then disable the app.  Sounds like a good way of losing your users and unless I was born under some rock, USERS are what makes a site valuable.

  • Gilmore Harris

    The Facebook company still thinks. they are on their precious little campus, at Harvard, where everybody knows everybody, and so they think, they can get away with such arrogant, elitist displays (not to mention, poor customer service), shutting CUSTOMERS accounts for little or no reason. INSTANT KARMA WILL GET YOU FACEBOOK!

    And they have the nerve to blame the customer for their own
    incompetence: don’t invite people to use features on your sites (search, chat, messaging, applications, etc….), and then proceed to disable their accounts without expressing, the company’s guidelines before or after, explaining what exactly “persistent misuse of our features” means…..Facebook’s disabling policy is unprofessional, arbitrary and applied incoherently.

  • http://car2be.com/ Anderson

    While there are some benefits to the whole 2.0 social networking thing, and this technology will probably add to our way of dealing with each other its ok. But as long as people have to eat (and hopefully together), meet to build consensus and understanding and physically “get together” to create another person, the human condition will always require real relationships and face-to-face exchanges – Facebook can help facilitate contact, but deep meaningful relationships in the name of collecting friends like beanie babies? I think not. Sometimes Facebook reminds me of the CB radio fad of the 70′s – lots of chatter and no depth. Facebook may be an adjunct, but not a replacement for who we are as humans.

  • Amy Elizabeth Behnke

    I created a group on facebook to show support for making new friends.
    Please feel free to join and invite all of the friends you’ve made in facebookia to join as well :)

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=197281091127

  • http://Gmail Vikas paswan

    I want fariendship

    • jamil

      i am your friend

    • Narinder

      I also want friendship with u call me on 9465895762 no

    • Narinder

      I also want friendship with u call me on “9465895762 no>

  • jamil

    always try to préach peace to other

  • http://www.facebook.com aman

    how can make friends on facebook

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