Facebook Blows A Whopper Of An Opportunity

Facebook Blows A Whopper Of An Opportunity
by Michael Arrington on January 14, 2009

Burger King, through their insanely creative advertising agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky (see their recent Burger King perfume launch), launches a Facebook application that encourages users to remove Facebook friends. Sacrifice ten of them and you got a free Whopper. 233,906 friends were removed by 82,771 people in less than a week.

Facebook is overjoyed, right? What a great example to show the Madison Avenue agencies on how a big brand can get real engagement from users. This is the future of advertising. Or it could have been, if Facebook hadn’t shut it down, citing privacy issues:

We encourage creativity from developers and brands using Facebook Platform, but we also must ensure that applications follow users’ expectations of privacy. This application facilitated activity that ran counter to user privacy by notifying people when a user removes a friend. We have reached out to the developer with suggested solutions. In the meantime, we are taking the necessary steps to assure the trust users have established on Facebook is maintained.

Did anyone talk to the sales department before pulling the trigger on this? All that happened is the user being dissed got a message telling them, which helps the application spread virally. Without that feature the app is far less powerful. There is no real privacy issue here, just a policy decision by Facebook that people shouldn’t be notified when you remove them as a friend.

Facebook consistently tell users they can’t do things in the name of privacy, despite the fact that those users know full well what they are up to.

Unless investor and partner Microsoft makes them do it, of course.

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