Facebook appears to be testing out a new form of spam detection in which users who have no friends in common cannot friend each other. The main purpose of this system is to prevent the massive amount of fake accounts that sprouted up in recent weeks. In contrast to MySpace, who had this spam tactic destroy their system, Facebook appears to be implementing a robust system to automatically detect what relationships are not likely to occur.
In other words, Facebook knows how likely it is that you like someone even if you haven’t friended them yet. For those users who are using spammy tactics by adding random users as friends now receive the following message:
Do you know this user personally? To prevent misuse of Facebook, this request can’t be sent. To learn more, please visit the Help Center. If you believe you’re seeing this message in error, you can report the problem.
You can see the error below. Ironically, the person who reported this issue to us probably didn’t actually know the person, by their own admission. The bottom line is this: Facebook is aggressively pursuing those spammers who are using the new “friend adding” techniques. If you are using similar strategies you should stop now because you could end up caught in the crossfire. Then you’ll have to drive cross country, only to have Facebook reject your request to have your account reinstated, as this woman did.
Some users already reached out to us saying they didn’t like the idea behind this. Keep in mind, this does not mean that all users who are not connected cannot friend each other. It’s simply a system to prevent those individuals who are adding large numbers of friends that they aren’t connected to from doing so.