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Facebook is too friendly; new app helps users make enemies

Zach Epstein
March 27th, 2012 at 10:45 AM

At its core, Facebook is a social network built on the premise that people want a central location where they can keep track of and interact with all of their friends. With nearly a billion active monthly users, the site’s strategy is seemingly in line with the wants of the masses. One developer seems to think the world’s most popular social network is too bright and cheery, however, and he recently released a Facebook app that looks to rain on users’ parade.

EnemyGraph is a free Facebook app that serves a single purpose: it allows users to name their enemies. With this free app, people can list any entity on Facebook — a person, a company, a group or anything else — as an enemy. And when the label enemy doesn’t quite encapsulate the amount of hatred a user feels toward a particular person or thing, he or she can up the stakes and designate it as an archenemy.

“Most social networks attempt to connect people based on affinities: you like a certain band or film or sports team, I like them, therefore we should be friends,” self-described transmedia artist and technologist Dean Terry, the app’s creator, wrote in a blog post. “But people are also connected and motivated by things they dislike. Alliances are created, conversations are generated, friendships are stressed, stretched, and/or enhanced.”

EnemyGraph also helps draw attention to differences of opinion between friends on Facebook. “Facebook runs queries to find affinities,” Terry noted. “EnemyGraph runs what we call dissonance queries. So if you have said you like, say, Portlandia on your profile page, and in our app one of your friends has declared them an ‘enemy’ we will post this ‘dissonance report’ in the app. In other words we point out a difference you have with a friend and offer it up for conversation, as opposed to a similarity. Relationships always include differences, and often these differences are a critical part of the fabric of a friendship. In the country club atmosphere of Facebook and it’s [sic] platform such differences are ignored. It’s not part of their ‘social philosophy.’ “

Terry’s app represents the antithesis of Facebook’s general theme, but the ability to highlight people, places and things users dislike is a functionality many Facebook members have sought for years. One Facebook group that supports the addition a “dislike button” that would serve the opposite purpose of Facebook’s like button has more than 3.2 million members, and the idea of a dislike button has been widely discussed by online media.

Currently listed among trending enemies in the EnemyGraph app are McDonalds, fake tans, God and Justin Bieber.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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