Choose (Facebook) Friends Wisely. They Can Add You to Groups

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Two months ago “at an event at its Palo Alto, Calif. headquarters” Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of new Facebeook Groups. GigaOM wrote:

CEO Mark Zuckerberg called groups “a fundamental building block” and the biggest problem in social networking,” and said after considering the issue for a long time, Facebook has determined the best solution is a social one, where users organically create and participate in groups with each other as a fundamental part of their Facebook experience.

We were told that the process is now as simple as:

1. Create a group, 2. Add friends, 3. Start sharing.

Note that Step #2 (underlined by me).

Almost immediately some started applauding the idea writing:

Face­book recently relaunch Groups.  What’s the best part of Face­book Groups?

You can auto­mat­i­cally add any of your friends with­out the has­sle of wait­ing for their decision.

Isn’t that bril­liant? Now the deci­sion to add your friends solely belong to you only.

You really think this is “brilliant”?!

Earlier this week I was added to a group by a friend of mine. It was a good group — so I had no issues with the group itself — but I certainly have a problem with the concept, and, apparently, I’m alone in my concerns:

Geno Prussakov and Kellie Stevens - Twitter chat

Jason Calacanis of Mahalo, Anil Dash of Expert Labs, Laura Fitton of OneForty.com, and others have had problems with the Groups’ auto-add function practically since day 1 [more here].

Facebook Groups product manager Justin Shaffer said that “it’s one click to leave” the group you were joined into and once you’ve left a group “you can’t be re-added to it without your permission” [source], but why not make the joining of the group permission-based right from the outset? Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places, but I cannot find a way to set this up unless I turn the groups off altogether.

Either Facebook has to change the way this works, or the end users will have to choose their friends more wisely cautiously.

3 thoughts on “Choose (Facebook) Friends Wisely. They Can Add You to Groups

  1. Funny you mention this. I have been much more careful with the Facebook friends I accept now. For a while I was getting a ton of friend requests from people I don’t know. The tendency is to accept these requests but the reality is most of these people just want to spam you.

    1. Brad, and you’re right on the money there. I wouldn’t say that in my case it is “most” of the people that I haven’t personally met, but more than once have I accepted a “friend request” from someone who has 100+ mutual friends with me (people I respect and trust), and as soon as I added them, I got some spam from them via the Facebook messaging system.

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