New Year Wish For Facebook Friends!
Everyone you consider a "friend" on Facebook, may not have the friendliest intentions. That was the hard lesson homeowners in New Albany, Ind., believe they learned after their home was ransacked by two men. Keri McMullen and Kurt Pendleton left a status update on Facebook Saturday night that said they wouldn't be home because they were going to a concert in nearby Louisville at 8 p.m. At 8:42 p.m., two burglars entered their house, using a screwdriver to force open a back door. However, luckily for McMullen and Pendleton, they had recently installed a surveillance system in their home. The cameras caught the entire episode on tape. The video shows the two men going through McMullen's purse, stealing electronics -- more than $10,000 worth -- including a plasma television right off the wall. The burglars are then seen driving away with a laundry basket filled with the stolen goods. After posting images of the suspects on Facebook, McMullen realized one of them had "friended" her about six months ago. On "The Early Show," McMullen said after looking over that Facebook "friend"'s page, she thought the man in the surveillance video was him. "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez added that if the surveillance camera hadn't captured the burglary, this person wouldn't have been suspected in a million years.
Facebook, enables its users to present themselves in an online profile, accumulate "friends" who can post comments on each other's pages, and view each other's profiles. Intensity of Facebook use is positively associated with individuals' perceived bridging of social and strong ties with family and close friends, who might be in a position to provide emotional support or access to scarce resources. As a social networking site, Facebook encourages you to find old friends and meet new ones. As you find friends, you can add them to your account, opening up a range of options for sharing your news and daily happenings. Now Facebook claims to be signing up 150,000 new members a day. Oxford professor Robin Dunbar has posed a theory that the number of individuals with whom a stable interpersonal relationship can be maintained (read: friends) is limited to 150. Facebook begs to differ. It encourages adding up to 5000 friends. The Facebook obsession of amassing 'friends' creates the impression that some users are wildly more sociable than others. It encourages a disturbing competitiveness around friendship: it seems that with friends today, quality counts for nothing and quantity is king. The more friends you have, the better you are. You are "popular"!
In all this scary scenario, if you’re experiencing a bit of bloat on your Facebook friend list, here is a silver lining. You can snag a free burger by dropping 10 of your Facebook friends, courtesy of Burger King. That’s the gist of Whopper Sacrifice, an advertising campaign from Burger King to promote a new version of the company’s flagship sandwich called the Angry Whopper. To earn their free burger, users download the Whopper Sacrifice Facebook application and dump 10 unlucky friends deemed to be unworthy of their weight in beef. After completing the purge, users are prompted to enter their addresses and the coupons are sent out via snail mail. Brian Gies, vice president of marketing for the fast-food chain, said the company had been eyeing Facebook as a marketing platform but wanted to use it in a way that was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. “Facebook is an amazing way to keep current with your friends, but it’s becoming more of a popularity contest with how many friends you have as the barometer,” said Mr. Gies. “We wanted to be part of its momentum and growth, but in an inverse way.” Facebook declined to comment on the campaign.
If you're on Facebook, you've no doubt got a bunch of friends. And if you're like most Facebook users, you're certain those friends are exactly who they say they are. And you might be right. Or you could be wrong. They could be scammers posing as your friends. Facebook represents a perfect storm of fraud factors. The whole "friend" system creates trust, but the reality of social networks prevents verification that people are who they say they are. While some Facebook fraud involves strangers posing as existing "friends," other types involve making new "friends." Eventually, that fraud may become so widespread that signing up for Facebook will require a verified cell phone number. But in the meantime, difficult-to-detect fraud is exploding on Facebook, and you would be well-advised to verify every unfamiliar friend. And you may ever remain prosperous and never fall prey to any fraudulent friend on your page is my New Year wish for Facebook friends.