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

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, 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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