In my opinion, Facebook is focusing on the wrong problem here – they’ve got plenty of other things they need to research and fix! With roughly 955 million users, Facebook is concerned that not all their users are real people. And now they’re asking you to nark on your friends who aren’t using their real names.
According to Facebook themselves, the idea is to “gauge how people use Facebook and represent themselves to better design [their] product and systems.”
They claim they’re not going to use the information to enforce using your real name on accounts, but what do you want to bet that if enough of your friends indicate your name is a pseudonym that they’re going to have you flagged?
This screenshot was tweeted by @chapeaudefee:
So you do have the option of saying you don’t want to answer. I’m not sure about the tactic in terms of their marketing though: I don’t care how many times they tell us that they’re “only looking to understand the results in an aggregate sense,” this still feels very 1984. Which is a pretty bad way to portray yourself when you’re basically mining personal data off us all the time.
What do you think? Bad move for Facebook to ask us to snitch on our friends? Or harmless market research for a company since it’s based in social networking?