28 April 2013

Facebook auto-unfriend revisited

Back in January, I wrote about my suspicion that there is a bug in Facebook that causes it to unfriend people with no input from the people involved.

Judging by the fact that that post is currently the 4th most read post of all time on my blog, and the number of variations in search terms relating to Facebook auto-unfriending that show up in the statistics for my blog, a lot of people are clearly asking the same question.

With that in mind, I decided to contact one of the people who "unfriended" me several months ago, leading me to write that blog post in January. This is someone who I have known for a few years, and it genuinely surprised me when my girl profile was unfriended by him, particularly as he is still friends with my boy profile and his wife and several other friends remain friends with both. I even spoke with him at the Kurri Kurri Nostalgia festival, where I was obviously in girl mode...

Knowing that there could have been a genuine reason why he might have needed to unfriend my girl profile because of other people, I sent him a message firstly stating that I would be fine with the answer either way, briefly explaining the whole "is Facebook doing this?" issue, then asking if he had unfriended my girl profile.

In his answer, he not only said that he hasn't unfriended anybody in quite some time, but that other people have asked him the same question!

In reply, I said:
I hate to think how many people have had friendships damaged by this screw-up on Facebook's part!
I think that the message here is that if someone appears to have unfriended you on Facebook and you can't see a reason why they would have done so, it would probably be a good idea to contact them to see whether it was deliberate or whether Facebook has decided to randomly discard your friendship.

I'm yet to work out whether this means that C's unfriending of me was deliberate or not. Her political antagonism would tend to suggest that she would have done it deliberately, but her claim not to have a problem with me suggests that it might have been a Facebook glitch. If it was a Facebook glitch, that glitch may well have been the difference between going back to the cafe nights, at least occasionally, and not going since September last year.

I have read a few newspaper articles about being unfriended on Facebook having lead to assault and murder. I have to wonder not only whether this apparent Facebook glitch has actually caused assaults and perhaps murder, but also how many people who suffer from depression (as I do) it has affected, and whether it may even have led to suicide. That's a lot of real world implications for a computer glitch!

1 comment:

  1. Perhaps she just disagrees with you on certain issues and had no intention of un-friending you. I don't have a FB page and I'm not interested FB, so, I have no need to figure it all out.

    I do know suicide and murder is not the answer! I wish you only the best regarding your depression.