almost 10 years on 2009-01-15


so, who knows what the real politics are - but the headlines are reading that facebook is either shutting down or massively limiting "whopper sacrifice" (see note below - updated)... i think this is senseless, if anything facebook should be embracing and promoting the app -- and i wouldn't be surprised if a few of the crew over in palo alto agree.

by way of quick background, burger king launched a very cleaver app recently that asks facebook users to 'sacrifice' 10 friends (remove 10 friends) in return for a free whopper burger.  according to my sketchy research online whoppers cost $2.39, meaning that to 'sacrifice' a friend on facebook you are valuing that connection at $0.239 or less. 

i am comfortable declaring that if the information stream and connection you get from a given 'friend' on facebook is worth less than $0.24 cents, then they are not a real friend.  i personally really like the app, and i love burgers, but looking down my friend list (which is almost 1000 people long) i can't think of anyone i would boot for 1/10th of a hamburger.

facebook's value is built on the verity of their information and their friend graph.  if anything, they should be encouraging people to purge out non-real worthless connections.  facebook has been speaking for ages about how to guard the truth and purity of the graph as a real world representation of friendships, isn't this a perfectly economically rational way to get there? 

so, i honestly think facebook should be embracing and even promoting apps like this.  in fact, perhaps facebook should be offering a straight up $0.24 cent buyout to their users per 'sacrificed' friend, it would be a great incentive to cull my 'friend' list to reflect reality...
so, after reading the articles that came out today - a bit more info.  something i didn't understand is that the burger king app was telling people when they had been 'sacrificed' and thereby was violating the fb terms.  first, this means that the cost of sacrificing a friend was actually higher than $0.24 cents - there was social 'blow back' involved.  further, it means, theoretically fb would have let the campaign go on with a slight modification (removing that function).

this makes me feel better about fb's move (since the app was in violation of the terms), but i still think fb should be encouraging this type of behavior / initiate a 'friend' buyout.

original swl blogposts and letters 2007-2010