by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:

facebook, friendster

Does No One Remember The Friendster Fakester Fiasco? Facebook Now Dealing With Fakebookers

from the been-there,-done-that dept

Those who don't remember history are doomed to repeat it, right? There's been a bunch of buzz in the blogworld over Facebook's decision to kick out a user who went by the pseudonym Jon Swift. The complaint from Facebook was that impersonating someone or not using a real first and last name was against the terms of service. Of course, there are many such fake profiles in Facebook and the faux-Swift argued that if people knew you by the fake name there seemed to be no reason to keep that person out. Following an outcry from Facebook users, the company relented and let Swift back into Facebook, saying that since he's known by that name, it was okay.

What's amazing, though, is how (as far as I can see) none of the folks commenting on this story compares it to the nearly identical situation that happened with Friendster back at the height of its popularity. Lots of people had started creating fake Friendster profiles and the company just started deleting them as fast as possible. It pissed off a bunch of users, and some people felt that this was the turning point for Friendster. It was the point that people began to realize that this fun community they were involved in had separate rules that they didn't all agree with, and it led many people to go searching for more open social networks. Given that history, it's surprising that Facebook took the same humorless position on it -- but perhaps the kids at Facebook weren't around during the Friendster days, so they're doomed to repeat its history...

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  1. identicon
    Who, 2 Nov 2007 @ 11:22am


    Not me

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Adam, 2 Nov 2007 @ 11:25am

    all facebook cares about now is...

    monetizing their traffic

    their user experience has gone out the window

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Robert Scoble, 2 Nov 2007 @ 11:29am

    Great minds think alike...

    I said basically the same thing several days ago. http://scobleizer.com/2007/10/31/will-google-friendster-facebook/

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    NIck (profile), 2 Nov 2007 @ 11:46am

    Making and reading some of the faksters was very entertaining. When Friendster started to delete them, that is when everyone jumped to MySpace. Is MySpace plagued by fakes profiles an faux-freinding? Yes. That is because users were able to make such outrageous profiles out of themselves that no one felt the need to. MySpace really took of because of the freedom of expression. MySpace may be hideous, but it's value is much higher because this gets them more visitors. Johnathan Abrams was an idealist, and did cannot recognize opportunities when they come along.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Nov 2007 @ 11:47am

    well, i had friends such as jesus, santa, lucifer, einstein, bigbird, the walmart smiley.....

    those aren't "real people" nor are the users who created those accounts actually using the "real" name.

    why weren't those users kicked out?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Jon Swift, 2 Nov 2007 @ 12:39pm

    Thank you very much for writing about this. You might have missed it since it was only one line that was a bit buried, but in the piece you linked to I wrote: "Ironically, killing off profiles that didn't use "real names" is what helped Facebook displace Friendster as the social network of choice in the first place. Nothing like following in your old rival's footsteps."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), 2 Nov 2007 @ 1:20pm

    The other enduring lesson here...

    ...is that:

    "If you're gonna act like "The Man", know that there will always be plenty of "Stick It" ready and available."

    --General Emergency

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Random User, 2 Nov 2007 @ 1:49pm


    What do you mean Santa isn't real???

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Blaise Alleyne, 2 Nov 2007 @ 1:50pm

    Strongly Disagree

    Facebook has always had this sort of policy, and that's what made the service so popular in the first place. It established itself as a virtual component to real communities, rather than trying to create a virtual community. Facebook accomplished that because of privacy settings, networks, and policies like the one in question, etc.

    It's become a larger problem since they opened the doors a year ago and the user base has been growing so quickly, but I disagree that people will seek more "open" networks because of this. Many people, myself included, flocked to Facebook precisely because it *is* like this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. Hiding in a Name

    Just because a person uses a different name than their own does not necessarily mean everything in their profile is false. Many people I'm sure use anonymous names for a variety of reasons but everything they post is real and honest.

    Some people feel they can open up more if they don't use their real names. What's the harm?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Anonymous Coward (profile), 2 Nov 2007 @ 4:14pm

    Hey Max Power, hire a designer! Your site is so 1996!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2007 @ 3:00pm

    burns my eye

    Haha, it DOES have animated gifs!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    -=.:LUCID:.=-, 18 Feb 2008 @ 6:51am



    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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