The Phaceborg Menace

Just when you thought it was safe to start using Facebook again, yet another “feature” rears its ugly head. For several months now Facebook has allowed members to join other members into groups without their permission… even if the two are not friends. I wasn’t aware of this until recently, when I was joined into a conservative political group, which was no big deal for me because I know the people in the group and find the content userful.  There were, however, a few people who did get irate about it.

Today I got joined into a group by someone I’ve never heard of, called “Draft Thad McCotter For President”.  Great.  I don’t know anything about this guy except that he came out of nowhere on Thursday to bid on space at the Iowa Straw Poll, and I already got crap for joining the actual campaign page for one declared candidate.

Just so I’m very clear, I’m not publicly supporting any candidate at this time. I try to follow all of the campaigns any way I can, so my membership in a particular campaign page of any kind is not indicative of support, but a need to get information timely.

However, I don’t want my name showing up on an activist page like McCotter’s unless I’m actively supporting the effort. Not that I don’t think he would be a good candidate, but I think joining that type of page says I’m already on board.

I suppose it’s a fine line for some, and the specific situation really isn’t the point. Facebook is a place where people assume that your connections mean something. I can’t see how the Facebook security goons believe that it’s appropriate for someone to be able to add any other person to a group. Even though I can un-join and forever prevent that group from rejoining me, I don’t want the hassle in the first place, and Facebook should be providing a better model for managing this… perhaps “opting in” to allowing others to hassle me with unsolicitated joins.

Political TV ads, phone calls, mailings and emailings are already out of control… I can just see myriads of new political support pages on Facebook roping in unwilling “members”. I’d like just one little refuge from all this.


Photo courtesy of Photosani –

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