Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Facebook

Okay... so, there are some things that make facebook a bit of a mare.

One is that, when you have three thousand, ahem, friends, it can make opening your own profile a bit difficult. I've never understood all the applications that exist, I have no desire to be a vampire or a pirate or to send a stranger a questionnaire or... or any of that. But obviously lots of people do. And they often send them indiscriminately to their friends. So I often find I have 200 pointless invites waiting for me... from people who weren't really specifically aiming the invites at me in the first place... they were just clicking a button that meant some of their friends got an invite. The point of me using facebook in the first place was to try and live a more spam-free online life... but the reality is that facebook's never ending stream of applications that are developed faster than they can be blocked - not to mention all the groups and events - just add up to another kind of spam. A well-intentioned kind, maybe... but if you've got five minutes to check your mail and find 300 invites waiting for you first it adds up to the same thing.

The other problem with facebook is what happens when someone decides to create a fake profile, pretending to be me... and then goes ahead and mails people, creates groups and so on.

So, the sensible advice seems to be that I should set up a page instead of (or as an adjunct to) my profile. So I have done. It's here.

11 comments:

Jim Jay said...

You can also block applications and block particular friends from inviting you to things - so whilst the process of fending off pap never really ends you can stem the flow somewhat.

Once bitten - then blocked.

Gavin said...

In Facebook's defence, it's not supposed to be a "social networking" site, where you connect with anonymous people based on common interests. It's intended for use by people who already know each other in meatspace. So having 3,000 friends is not something FB was ever intended to support: not even the most popular person on the planet could say they have 3,000 real-life friends!

Thomas Knowles said...

I just block all invites for 'Applications' and 'Groups' from the main perpetrators. I will also wait until there are some actual useful collaborative web based apps out there (like google docs/calendar) for Facebook.

Dave Gorman said...

@Jim Jay: Yes, I know you can block applications... and I block every application I'm ever invited to...

@thomas knowles: yes... I block all invitations and groups too. But they develop new ones faster than they can be blocked and when the friends list is as large as it is, there's nothing you can really do to stem the tide.

@gavin: I agree. Although they have set a limit of 5000 friends for an account so there is some grey area. In any case, I'm not criticising facebook for being what it is... just explaining why I'm changing the way I use it. And creating a page is - it seems - designed for connecting with large numbers of strangers based on a common interest.

Alex said...

You know on MySpace there's virtually no application/group invites (I say virtually because I'm too lazy to do the required leg work necessary for it to be considered a fact).

And (yes there's even more!) it'll stop those fake Dave Gormans parading about the MySpace corridors.

So for all these reasons and more (we're fighting the uncontrollable HTML war) come join MySpace.

(After re-reading this I feel it necessary to point out I don't actually work for MySpace)

Emma said...

MySpace sucks. Fact (I've done the research). Unless Dave plans to release that EP of acoustic EMO/mockney ballads he's been hinting at...

Sall said...

Your picture reminds me of Van Gogh.

Hmmmm...must be the beard...

Lee said...

My suggestion would be to have your status pointing people to your new page for a about a week and then start deleting people that you don't really know, keeping your profile for your actual spam free friends and your page for us fans.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Facebook? Shower of bastards. 'You may come in but you can never leave ...'

Read Tom Hodgkinson's (of The Idler's) excellent 'We want everyone: Facebook and the new American Right' and you'll never want to have anything to do with them ever again ...

Ben Nuttall said...

Dave,

I recently had an email conversation (ten or so emails back and forth) with a nice lady working for Facebook so I sent her the links to your two blog posts about Facebook and your problem with the fake account. I got a reply saying they'd looked into it and taken the appropriate action:

Hi Ben,

After reviewing the reported abuse, we have removed all offending content based on our Terms of Use.

If you need to report offensive material to Facebook in the future, please write to us at privacy@facebook.com with a link to the offensive material and a description of the problem. We will then review this material and take the appropriate action. Please be assured, these reports will be kept confidential.

Thanks for contacting Facebook


It's annoying when people sign up obviously fake accounts (a search for something like Osoma Bin Laden will come up with all sorts of crap) and separate accounts for things that are not people, like "Stu Dents Manchesta" who recently added me, or my friend's pub "The Sheaf" - these are clearly not people, and should not be permitted to create accounts. That's what groups and pages are for!

If only there was some sort of genuine human detector...

Hope my email helped,

Ben

Anonymous said...

Hiya Dave, I am a bit concerned about a particular Group which somehow was linked to me via a friends comment on their Page, some of the content is so offensive, can take a joke and some would say I have a warped sense of humour. However when the Jokes involve dead Babies as well as graphic images of still borns I think morally they have crossed the line. If the Authorities are hot on certain content being put online then why isn't that true on Facebook? I know I don't have to read it which I don't, but at the same time when it involves that subject why have Facebook not shut the Group down?