You've Got a Friend


mkhmarketing / photo on flickr

Germany's highest court has declared Facebook's friend finder feature to be an illegal form of advertising. The court said the feature, which allows Facebook users to send a request to join Facebook to those in their email list, harasses people who do not use Facebook.


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  1. You know what other group of Facebook non-users was harassed in Germany? That’s right, Hitler.

    1. It’s like you don’t even try anymore

  2. sooo facebook harasses non-facebook users…pretty f’ing dumb even for a German court.

    1. I don’t know, essentially they are saying that junk mail is illegal. I might be able to get behind this.

      *looks over at mountain of junk mail waiting to be burned*

  3. The court said the feature, which allows Facebook users to send a request to join Facebook to those in their email list, harasses people who do not use Facebook.

    FTA: Facebook’s friend finder allows existing members to import their contacts to Facebook so that they can find friends on the network. However, Facebook used details from address books to send invitation emails to non-members on behalf of its users.

    Just a tiny bit of difference there, wouldn’t you say? Not that you’re not an idiot if you don’t understand the business model exemplified by the adage “if you’re being offered something for free, you’re not the consumer, you’re the product”. But getting someone to give you their e-mail address book under false pretenses is still fraud, even if I’m sure somewhere in the Facebook fine print there’s a clause that says by joining Facebook you’ve given Facebook your soul and your mind and your body and everything you own, have owned, or ever will own.

    1. A year or so back there was a flap over the fact that people figured out when they connected to Facebook, Facebook was going right into their e-mail address book and contact list and stuff and just taking that information. Facebook initially defended itself by pointing out it was right there in the Facebook agreement that they could do that, but then they backed down and said they were going to stop doing that. So now instead of just taking that information, they’re sweet-talking users into handing that informatio over of their own accord.

      And of course, Reason itself had an article about those “icons” you see at the top of the page. That’s not an icon – a static picture – it’s a “widget” – a piece of active software. As you browse Reason, they have to collect certain information on you to allow communication between your computer and theirs and – serendipitously – that informantion helps them “enhance the user experience” by figuring out which shitty ads they want to shove in your face are the ones you’re least likely to think of as shitty because it’s something you might actually be interested in buying. (Why the hell do I keep getting ads for goat-sized lingerie?). The widgets within the Reason page means it’s not just Reason and the NSA keeping an eye on you, it’s also Facebook and Google.

      1. my experience is sooo enhanced now I think I’ll have to take my pants off

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