Creepy Facebook adds friend stalker tool

Nicole Kobie
29 Oct 2010

Oh Facebook. You never do learn, do you?

The social networking service has unveiled a shiny new "See Friendship" button on the site, letting users see "the story of their friendships". But instead of "See Friendship" being a nice little add-on feature, Facebook has again taken it one step too far and hurled itself crossed the creepy line.

To access the new feature, a link shows up next to wall posts from friends (it's shown up in my account, but not others here at PC Pro, so if you haven't seen it, give it a few days as Facebook tends to do staggered roll-outs). Click it, and it pulls onto one handy page content from your Facebook friendship, such as wall posts, comments, photos and events.

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Facebook software engineer Wayne Kao said in a blog post that he realised a "magical experience was possible if all of the photos and posts between two friends were brought together. You'd remember that first wall post with your best friend or the funny photo from a night out. You may even see that moment when your favorite couple met at a party you all attended."

Isn't that lovely? We can all embrace nostalgia and travel back in time to relive those wonderful, magical moments... Even if we weren't actually there.

With "See Friendship", I can not only see everything between myself and my friends, but all the content shared between two mutual friends of mine, thanks to a handy search function. It lets you enter in the names of any two friends to reveal their entire Facebook correspondence with each other -- even if the content dates from before you added either as friends.

For example, I can see everything our senior staff writer Mike Jennings has said over Facebook to our editor Tim Danton -- absolutely nothing, as it turns out.

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Of course, all this information is already available to me. I could click around the site and find everything said between my mutual friends by sifting through their accounts. But that would take ages, and eventually -- hopefully -- I'd either get bored or ashamed of creeping on my friends. This makes it possible to stalk in seconds.

The next time Facebook has the idea for a whizzy new feature, it really needs to find someone normal to try it out on, such as, I don't know, its users. A few have posted their thoughts:

"How can I disable this so people are NOT able to research which events I attended together with another friend or which photos we're jointly tagged in? I realise this info was public before but now your 'labor of love' has yielded a handy tool for stalkers. DO NOT WANT, please opt me out."

"It's a handy tool for nosey people to gain an insight on someone else's relationships with others which should be kept private."

And my favourite: "I've always wanted this! And yes, I'm a creepy stalker."

Of course, this being Facebook, all users are automatically opted in, and there's no way (as of yet) to turn it off.

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