Facebook loves to wrap itself up in the gold-foil idea that it is a veritable online Candyland of unlimited sharing and endless warm chats among friends. Yet, for years, people have been clamoring for a “Dislike” button to counter the “Like” button but, even though the groups on the site demanding a “Dislike” button have agglomerated over six million fans, Facebook is steadfast in the belief that its users only share trivia and express themselves through rose-tinted glasses.
While it’s not the long-coveted “Dislike” button, Dean Terry’s research group has the next best thing: EnemyGraph. As Terry explains it on his blog, it’s a Facebook app that simply “allows you to list your enemies.” Ironically, and there’s probably not really a way around this, you have to be friends with someone on Facebook before you can list them as an enemy (does that make them a frenemy? Fiends?). However, other users of the app can be listed as an enemy as well as any Facebook page or group.
EnemyGraph runs contrary to Facebook’s typical search for kindred affinities between people and produces what Terry calls “dissonance queries.” You know how Facebook constantly smears your page with “So-and-so likes Show XYZ”? EnemyGraph works in a similar yet inverted way: instead of linking you with your friends across similar interests, EnemyGraph will compare your likes with the pages or people that your EnemyGraphed Facebook friends have chosen as enemies and then publish a “dissonance report” on your page highlighting the differences you have with your friends.
Additionally, EnemyGraph accumulates lists of trending enemies and top enemies:
Terry calls EnemyGraph a “kind of social media blasphemy” and while that may be true when constrasted to Facebook’s hardline policy of connecting people only via yellow brick roads, EnemyGraph is also probably the most honest lens through which one could view the Facebook experience.
As a tool for connecting people, EnemyGraph emphasizes the one binding tie that Facebook egregiously ignores: nothing rallies people together like a common enemy. I’m not saying that we should all start our own Dark Side clubs and embrace the flow of trolling hate, but society has demonstrated time and time again that people will rally around things they don’t like with a vigor that’s rarely seen when the premise is positive.
With that respect, EnemyGraph’s only giving us the most natural way to find common ground among strangers.