Facebook Asks You To Snitch On Your Friends

About the latest move by Facebook where users will be asked to identify profiles suspected of not mentioning their real name and why is Facebook doing this.

facebook logo

Facebook now asks users about profiles they suspect not to be mentioning their real name. Vijay Paul takes a look at this new move from Facebook and how it might affect all of us.

Hitler’s regime is back. Disadvantage – it’s online this time. Advantage – the first statement is exaggerated.

From the Biblical era to Nazi times to now, snitching upon friends is a bad worm the world has seen time and again. And, what if the largest platform for keeping in touch with your friends initiated you to do just that?

Facebook now asks users about profiles they suspect not to be mentioning their real name. How they exactly put it through is like this: They show you the profile pic of an account they suspect is not using a real name and ask – “Is this your friend’s real name?” Then you’re given four options as: “Yes”, “No”, “I don’t know” and “I don’t want to answer”. And there is no close option for the dialogue box!

Facebook name policy
Image Courtesy: paulbernal.files.wordpress.com

But what if someone actually doesn’t want to put in their real name? Due to various personal reasons which stand on individual grounds, it is also possible that not everyone would want to do so. What if I have a friend who wants to keep his/her identity discrete, connect to only a selected few via the Social Networking site and hence uses only his/her nickname? I sure wouldn’t want to snitch on him/her. Yes, Facebook does give me an option to “Not answer it”, but that’s not the point. For an entity that thrives upon the very basis of forming communities and developing the interaction between friends and family, this sure isn’t the wisest way to determine whether a name is real or not.

So why is Facebook doing this?

The Giant of Social Networks had recently declared that it would be clearing the site of all fake accounts. Maybe this is a step towards that. The first one. Instead of a long term feature it could also be a short term feature to verify the accuracy of its algorithm in finding out fake accounts. Once the algorithm reaches a certain level of accuracy, the feature could be stopped as such. But that’s all hypothesis. A whole lot of “maybe’s”.

How does this affect us Indians?

It affects us as much as it affects everyone else. Maybe more. In the present scenario, Social Media Marketing (SMM) is in its growing phase in India. Many brands have yet to understand the true value of SMM. Instead of being a numbers game, it is all about building relations with the customer base. With respect to this, many brands still don’t understand the true nature of SMM and go by the numbers. This decision by Facebook can be accounted to put an end to the growing number of fake profiles/bots that are used widely to increase the “Likes” of a page. Another fact that would be affected here is that many businesses still run profiles instead of a Facebook Page as actually suggested by Facebook Guidelines. One fine morning, out of the blue, many businesses may find their profile pages deleted and their social media marketing efforts, down the drain. Obviously Facebook can’t be blamed. They’re just doing their job. Or rather their business.

It is to be waited and watched whether Facebook would actually go forward with its decision to “handle” the fake accounts. Or whether it’s just a stunt to show off to people that it cares seriously about its ToS not getting violated. The profile page for businesses has been long standing and Facebook still hasn’t taken any steps to counter that. But all said, this idea of snitching on your friends just to find out whether the account/name is fake or not sure, isn’t the smartest idea out there in the market. Its more like Facebook declaring – “Our algorithm isn’t good enough to find the fake profiles out. You do it for us”.

So, what do you think? Do you agree with Facebook’s step or do you think its downright outrageous? Would be glad to hear your opinions.