Facebook App Turns Pages Or Friends Into Enemies

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. If you believe in that philosophy, check out Facebook application EnemyGraph, which allows users to designate friends and brand pages as enemies.

EnemyGraph was hatched at the University of Texas at Dallas, created by Professor Dean Terry, director of the emerging media program, and students Bradley Griffith and Harrison Massey.

However, the app may not be around much longer if it meets the same fate as another social media app created by Terry and Griffith, Undetweetable, which allowed Twitter users to recover deleted tweets. Twitter forced that app to shut down, Mashable reported.

Facebook has shut down applications that purported to show people who unfriended them, finding that the apps violate the social network’s rules.

EnemyGraph launched March 15, and had about 400 users at the time of Mashable’s post yesterday, but the app and its website appear to be running into some difficulties already. Griffith sent the tweets below last night, mentioning slowness due to “an influx of users” and “a major speed-sucking bug,” but we couldn’t access the website or the app at the time of this post.

Terry wrote in a blog post describing EnemyGraph:

Facebook runs queries to find affinities. EnemyGraph runs what we call dissonance queries. So if you have said you like, say, “Portlandia” on your profile page, and in our app one of your friends has declared it an enemy, we will post this dissonance report in the app. In other words, we point out a difference you have with a friend and offer it up for conversation, as opposed to a similarity. Relationships always include differences, and often these differences are a critical part of the fabric of a friendship. In the country club atmosphere of Facebook and its platform, such differences are ignored. It’s not part of their social philosophy.

The ironic thing is — and this is a byproduct of the project, rather than the intention — we are generating a whole new set of personal data that could potentially be mined. I found it a compelling tool for self-expression, at least as powerful as the likes list on your Facebook profile page. Often, it tells you a great deal about a person in a way that an affirmative list cannot. The first thing my colleague, Dave Parry, thought of to list, for example, was venison, which says a lot by itself.

A few people have asked us about the potential for misuse. Beyond the obvious fact that every tool can be misused, ours is all opt-in. Also, based on our test group, it’s also mostly in jest. (I’ve been top enemy among my friends all through testing). If you are not friends with someone, or not a user of the app, or generally not famous, you cannot be listed as an enemy. We will also monitor the app closely for abuse.

Readers: Would you use an app like EnemyGraph, or are you holding out for the ever-elusive Facebook dislike button?

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