It just became a lot harder to turn down a friend request on Facebook. Used to be you could click ACCEPT or IGNORE. Yes or no. But the company quietly changed those options this week to ACCEPT or NOT NOW. And it’s a pretty big step.
If you choose Not Now, the prospective friend goes into a kind of limbo. They get an up to date feed of all your status updates, photos, anything you do on Facebook. That’s if you leave your privacy settings in the “share with everyone” position, which is the default setting.
So now everyone can be either your friend or sort of your friend. And that means it’s a lot harder to make someone NOT your friend. If you say NOT NOW, that kind of implies that eventually you’ll cave in, right?
And that, of course, is what Facebook wants: more people, more connections, and more attachment to Facebook.
We examine the implications of NOT NOW on today’s program with B.J. Fogg, who runs the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University. We also talk to Clay Shirky, who has written extensively on the social effects of technology, about the collapse of the word “friend” in social media.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.