September 3, 2011
In its quest to invite political activism, Facebook has unleashed a river of uncontrollable event and email spam no human being can possible keep track of.
Political activism cannot be collaboratively organized on Facebook. Those with similar interests cannot converge them into a common cause by “event linking.”
Anyone can start an “event,” invite their friends, who invite their friends, who re-invite other friends. Events have become fast-replicating self-inflicted spam -- as if Facebook wants to drown useful political initiatives in a sea of mass noise. For lack of convergence, the swarm of repetitive events has descended on us like grasshoppers on Kansas wheat.
Most of these events are “virtual events,” not invitations to real events in some location. Most Facebook “events” are nothing more than an in-your-face invitation to waste all day yammering in a glorified chat room. Any experienced political organizer knows this accomplishes nothing.
Facebook does not provide users a simple way to block event spamming. I have received perhaps 50 repetitive invitations to 9-11 Remembrance or flag-waving events. It is not possible to block events by name or by originator. Once invited, emails commence in volume, which cannot be easily blocked. Even if declined, more invitations for the same event arrive from other friends. Hundreds of thousands of people have been dragged into these events, often more than once.
Facebook has effected a remarkable political achievement. It is killing conservative political action with a system designed to make conservatives exponentially harass each other to the point of hating each other and their own agenda.
While the conservative masses drown in a sea of noise, Facebook is working with liberals to give them a centralized political-action system serving the Obama administration.
Facebook is violating Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) guidelines in its implementation of “events” (which are essentially chat rooms). Users are repetitively dragged into chat rooms without prior permission, and there is no method to “opt-out” of the event or repetitive future invitations.
Facebook is also violating IETF email spam guidelines. Events generate volumes of unwanted email generated by a pyramid scheme overwhelming to the recipient.
Facebook must require events to be real events held in a physical location. National “virtual” events should be discouraged, or classified differently and blockable by the user.
Secondly, Facebook must implement localized invitations within reasonable distance of the physical event. Nobody in the United States needs to see an invitation to attend a fundraising event in Brisbane, Australia.
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Facebook must allow users single-click functionality to remove and block an invitation (and future similar invitations from the same organizer), and to block all invitations from a particular organizer. Single-click opt-in functionality must ensure that users do not receive email about an event unless the user requests it.
Facebook must be held accountable for implementing an unrestrained pyramid scheme turning conservative political action against itself, and for violating IETF guidelines. Let the lawsuits commence.
© 2011 David Usher - All Rights Reserved
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David R. Usher is President of the Center for Marriage Policy, and a co-founder and past Secretary of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children.
Cynthia Davis is the former State Representative for Missouri’s 19th District and Executive Director of the Center for Marriage Policy