So word bouncing around the echo chamber this morning is that Robert Scoble‘s Facebook account was yanked last night because he was using a bot to do something with his facebook account. This bot he had developed and used is a blatant violation of the FB terms of use, so it was probably only a matter of time, so the fact that it resulted in his account being shut off doesn’t surprise me one bit.

The fact that his account with 5000 friends on it was shut off doesn’t upset me one iota. Wanna know why? Because his account is a perfect example of a unidirectional relationship, completely going against the concept of friends (disclaimer, I follow his twitter feed, but its not the same thing). The idea of a friend connection in a social network is supposed to be you agree to a two way communication exchange. Do you really think a man with 5,000 social network friends will ever pay attention to what you’re asking him seeing as you’ve likely never met him in person? So in his case you “befriend” him, and he always accepts because it means one more person he can broadcast out to.

Now I am not saying by any means he is the only person doing this, he is just the easiest to pick on since he was turning around and trying to most likely export his friend data. Note, as of the writing of this, we aren’t publicly aware of what Robert’s bot does/did.

So my plea to you 4 people who read this is to please help preserve the integrity of these social connections. Before you realize it someone is going to come around and inadvertently use you as a reference claiming you are friends on facebook or linkedIn, and it could come to bite you in the ass.

For reference, my stipulations to add someone/accept someone as a friend on Facebook are:

  1. Must have met in real life
  2. or must have had multiple email/phone conversations
  3. or must have 2 or more mutual friends (real life social graph preferred)
  4. or must be in one of my local user groups/real life social networks
  5. have commented on this blog

update: so Scoble came out and said it was a Plaxo scraper that he was alpha testing. They would download the images of your friends emails, and then run OCR/captcha breaking software to get the text, and then import it into your plaxo contacts/outlook.

8 Comments

  1. Out of the 5,000 people more than 1,500 fit your definition of “friend.” So, if I keep it down to just those 1,500 you’d be happy? Cool.

  2. Out of the 5,000 people more than 1,500 fit your definition of “friend.” So, if I keep it down to just those 1,500 you’d be happy? Cool.

  3. I agree, Facebook is working on those friend lists to help you accurately categorize your friends.. so with Scoble he’d have a few hundred real friends like the rest of us. The rest are just… there.

  4. I agree, Facebook is working on those friend lists to help you accurately categorize your friends.. so with Scoble he’d have a few hundred real friends like the rest of us. The rest are just… there.

  5. Brian Breslin

    Robert,
    thanks for the comment. I think if that was the case, then yes I would be perfectly happy. because then you’d be more likely to interact with those 1500 than the 3500 who you have no idea who they are.
    if you are limited to 5000 friends, wouldn’t you rather they be filled with 5,000 people you are interested in than the first 5,000 who friended you?

  6. Brian Breslin

    Robert,
    thanks for the comment. I think if that was the case, then yes I would be perfectly happy. because then you’d be more likely to interact with those 1500 than the 3500 who you have no idea who they are.
    if you are limited to 5000 friends, wouldn’t you rather they be filled with 5,000 people you are interested in than the first 5,000 who friended you?

  7. Brian Breslin

    Devin,
    The friends lists help, but don’t solve it entirely. unless we can create multiple newsfeeds (maybe thats next?) so we only see college friends or work friends (then the value increases.).

  8. Brian Breslin

    Devin,
    The friends lists help, but don’t solve it entirely. unless we can create multiple newsfeeds (maybe thats next?) so we only see college friends or work friends (then the value increases.).

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