4 November 2009

Facebook - Your Meddling Relationship Advisor

I previously mentioned the lack of diplomacy that Facebook showed in dealing with its Unfriending feature. But this is a little more serious.

Check this. Now Facebook has taken to telling me what to do with my friends. Yes, Mr Facebook here, thinks it knows what's best for me and my relationships.

Recently while viewing my Live Feed I accidentally glanced on the far right only to see a couple of Suggestions, each featuring a photo of one of my friends.
One of them said, "You haven't spoken in a while."
Mark that...
And just below that profound observation was the magic social healing suggestion: "Poke Her!"


Poke Her. As if that would solve anything. What an insight. I've poked people in my time so believe me, the Lack of Poking has never been a sign of social ineptness on my part! But now, to be bullied by a PHP application into Poking my friends, no, that's going a little too far.

Another friendly advice told me that I should Suggest some new friends to one of my friends. Facebook was concerned that: "She only has 17 friends".
Obviously Facebook thinks that 17 Friends is something to be ashamed of. Facebook wants everyone to be a social climber and value quantity over quality. Facebook, you should be ashamed of yourself!

Please do not become paranoid about this mysterious Facebook ability to meddle in your private affairs. You have to understand that by joining Facebook and therefore storing your private business in its servers, you take as much a risk as you do joining GMail or any other online service...But be reassured that no human is actively stalking you and monitoring your activities on the Evil-Facebook-Control panel while munching on popcorn.

Well except if you call an auditing programming algorithm a stalker...I've come from an IT background and that algorithm is not difficult to implement, it's just a matter of programmatically auditing particular Wall to Wall interactions between two users during a particular time and introducing rules that alert the Facebook user when those interaction rates are too low. So Facebook evidently has the knowledge to surmise who I interact with most and who I have neglected for a while.

But should it care? And is it really Facebook's business? And while meddling into my private affairs, should it really try to shove it's own narcissistic and superficial social values in my face?
Hell no.

I am not really outraged, only amused.

Because it could be worse.
I could be glancing to the far right and seeing the well meaning suggestion:
"Don't forget to reply to Tania and tell her about your new crush at work."
Now that would be amusing to me but it would drive most non-IT people up the wall. (Get it, the Wall? oh, well I thought it was funny.)

Because like Google Mail which uses content intelligence to display relevant advertisements while you view your emails, I gather that Facebook also has the capability to gather insight about the gist of your Messages...and whether you've replied to them or not!

Anyway I wanted to post this because I think it is very rude to meddle.

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