Facebook won’t let me be Leo Laporte’s friend

At risk of invoking memories of playground rejection by wading in to the sensitive topic of whose a friend of who, I thought this was an interesting story worth telling.

I saw from Facebook that two people I know, Robert Scoble and Jeff Jarvis, had friended Leo Laporte and went to try to add him as a friend as well. I got the following error message:

 

 

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Now this is interesting as although I haven’t met Leo personally we do exchange the odd email and are “friends” on most of the other social media sites. It is totally possible that Leo wants to limit the number of people he friends as he re-enters Facebook but this block appears to have pre-empted any message to Leo. There may be some setting in Facebook that lets him pre-set who gets to send friend requests that I don’t know of.

Wondering why this error message might have been triggered I looked at the suggested help file I got the following advice:

If you have been prevented you from adding friends on Facebook, it is likely because many recent friend requests sent from your account have gone unanswered. This may be because you’ve asked strangers to be friends or because you’ve engaged in other behavior that Facebook users have reported as unwelcome. When you are allowed to use this feature again, only send friend requests to people that you already know to avoid having additional limits placed on your account.

This seems hard to understand as I can’t remember the last time I tried to add a friend in Facebook as it is so long ago and I only ever do it to people I do know in some way I can’t imagine too many people blocking me. In fact I thought of seeing if the block applied to others apart from Leo but could’t bring myself to do it as I have already friended everyone I can think of in Facebook and didn’t want to be seen to adding someone I don’t know!

 

Clearly Facebook knows something I don’t!

 

15 thoughts on “Facebook won’t let me be Leo Laporte’s friend

  1. But that is part of what is odd Joe. I am "real" friends with several of Leo's "real" friends and connect with him in lots of other ways.

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  2. I to found myself in the sane boat, it seems to be new feature added just lately I have had a email from a friends asking me to friend them because they have received this message, and guess what I got message trying to friend them, seems to be a two way thing.

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  3. It's the classic problem of putting a computer program in charge of something which requires semantic reasoning. Software can know many facts, it can know that those facts are connected together, what it can't do (yet) is understand the meaning of those relationships. A Human could look at your friends, Leo's and infer that since you know people in common, are both active in similar fields and have attended some events together (presuming they were on your events list in FB) that you are likely to be real-life acquaintances (at the very least – the decision whether to "friend" or not would ultimately be Leo's) and let the request pass. Alas, while Moore's law has given us more processing power in the palm of our hands than we can possibly know what to do with (aside from Doodle-Jump) semantic computing hasn't progressed apace (or been funded to). I have a simple idea to get some semantic web going (and benefit developing economies) – Mechanicial Turk (equivalent) it. Bootstrap 3rd world economies with some infrastructure and get their workforce to do it. OK it's a pretty menial knowledge worker task, but it is a knowledge worker task and once you start an information economy the potential opens up. (Look at Ireland, India, Poland, Vietnam…)Sorry Euan… soapboxing on your article. I'll shut up now 🙂

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  4. This seems to be an emerging epidemic on Facebook – i n my case, I only get the message when I friend women – but apparently I can still friend men.It appears to be part of a broader effort by Facebook to limit the social graph to people you already know which fundamentally destroys what until now had been a core strength of Facebook – as a platform for serendipitous encounters with people you did not already know. I wonder if they understand what they are doing.

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  5. Hi Euan, this is similar to the dialogue we had the other day re LinkedIn. (this is an observation E not a criticism!) Rather than a computer decide to decline a link you quite rightly declined to connect across a 3rd degree divide on LinkedIn as you didn't really want to open up a dialogue with someone you were "connected" to, but hardly knew on the LinkedIn system. You as a conscious human being intervened in the relationship process. We must remember however The Facebook automata although spooky is also driven by humans but at the software interface. It's ever so subtle all this interaction on social media – a real mystery of meeting!!

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  6. Don't take it personally. That is not intended as a sarcastic remark. Facebook's algorithms for what is and is not acceptable "friending" behavior are undoubtedly incredibly simplistic and primitive compared with human real-world decisions concerning relationships and communication. Undoubtedly, though, celebrities such as Leo are treated differently from the rest of us so I would not be surprised if relationship requests between people at different levels of prominence would be treated differently. 'Twas ever thus; I wouldn't expect to get face to face meeting with the President if I rang the front door of the White House, either.

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  7. But there is a world of difference between me deciding and Facebook deciding Tim, especially when even by their own data driven criteria Leo and I are likely to connect given shared friends, networks and previous Friendship on his old account.

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  8. While grateful to everyone advising me not to take this personally my point in writing this post wasn't that this situation, as far as I know, had anything to do with connection between Leo and I but rather another example of quirky behaviour by Facebook.

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  9. Now that is interesting. I had no idea that Facebook had these type of friend blocking measures. I doubt Leo Laporte set that on his account. He seems like the type that encourages online connections. (He follows my personal twitter!) Yet, Facebook feels it is their responsibility to protect him from you? I think there is something bigger going on here, and it probably has something to do with Facebook's money.

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  10. HOW CAN FACEBOOK CALL ITSELF A SOCIAL NETWORK SITE, AND THEN LIMIT HOW MANY NEW PEOPLE YOU CAN MEET? IT SHOULDN’T CALL ITSELF A SOCIAL NETWORK SITE, MORE LIKE A PROFESSIONAL NETWORK SITE FOR PEOPLE WHO ALREADY KNOW EACH OTHER. I THINK SOCIAL NETWORKING IS ALL A BUNCH OF HYPE. I MEAN THEY SAY ITS A GREAT WAY TO FIND NEW PEOPLE AND MEET SOME OLD FRIENDS, BUT THEN FACEBOOK YELLS AT YOU AND BLOCKS YOU WHEN YOU TRY TO MEET SOMEONE NEW. ITS COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS. I LIKE TO MEET NEW PEOPLE ONLINE. FACEBOOK EVEN SENDS YOUS “SUGGESTIONS” FOR PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW AND THEN WHEN YOU ADD SOME PEOPLE YOU GET BLOCKED AND YELLED AT BY FACEBOOK FOR ADDING TOO MANY FRIENDS YOU DON’T KNOW AT A TIME. I AM SO SICK OF FACEBOOK I AM ALMOST READY TO JUST GIVE UP ON FACEBOOK ALL TOGETHER. FACEBOOK SHOULD STOP CALLING ITSELF A SOCIAL NETWORK. THE IDEA OF A SOCIAL NETWORK IS TO BE ABLE TO ADD AND BEFRIEND NEW PEOPLE FOR NETWORKING REASONS OR OTHER REASONS. IT IS RIDICULOUS THAT FACEBOOK PUNISHES PEOPLE WHEN THEY REQUEST TO BE FRIENDS WITH NEW PEOPLE (SO WHAT IF I DONT KNOW SOMEONE) I LIKE MEETING NEW PEOPLE. SUE ME FACEBOOK. FACEBOOK IS GETTING WORSE AND WORSE. IT USED TO BE A GREAT WAY TO MEET NEW PEOPLE AND KEEP IN TOUCH WITH OLD FRIENDS BUT I THINK WE NEED A NEW SOCIAL NETWORK SITE. FACEBOOK IS BECOMING MORE AND MORE LIKE A SECOND VERSION OF LINKEDIN.GET A LIFE FACEBOOK!!!!!!

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