Facebook's social pyramid schemers

Guest post: Chris Matyszczyk laments the way some Facebook applications behave, creating what he calls "pre-pubescent pyramid selling."I have friends who seem to have a strangely close relationship with Facebook.

Guest post: Chris Matyszczyk laments the way some Facebook applications behave, creating what he calls "pre-pubescent pyramid selling."

I have friends who seem to have a strangely close relationship with Facebook. Even though their profile says they are "in a relationship," they seem to spend a vast amount of time and mental space in living the social networking dream.

The other day, two friends of mine sent me quizzes. One asked me to name movies from screenshots. The other wanted me to identify car logos (Flixster). It brought me an overwhelming two hundred seconds of fascination.

Still, if it pleased my friends, if they needed to know how much I would score, then I was happy to please them. I completed the quizzes.

But, hah, when I wanted my score, the site of all democracy told me that I couldn't have it, unless I now sent the quiz to five of my friends. Hah. Oh, bugger off.

Please forgive me for sounding irritable, but isn't the whole point of Facebook that we are supposed to be the masters of our own actions? After the chicken pox that was Beacon hasn't the principle of opting in been accepted as fundamental to Facebook citizenship among its application developers?

If I felt those two hundred seconds were something I wanted my friends to share, I was perfectly capable of spending another second and a half to send the quiz to them.

But to dangle my results over my head like the tallest ten-year-old in the class toying with the shortest smacks of pre-pubescent pyramid selling.

By spending another fifty seconds in desperate pursuit of justice, I discovered that the friend who sent me the quiz was allowed to know my score, but I was not. Because I had not done what the Application's Politburo had decreed from its Pyramid on high.

Hey, Application's Politburo, see if you can decipher the message in these pictures.

chris.jpg

I scored 100 percent. See what your friends score.

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