Je t’aime,
moi non plus :
The so-called
“Facebook purge”

Hugo JACOMET

Je t’aime, moi non plus : The so-called “Facebook purge”

Gentlemen,

Today’s post is dedicated to the hot webtopic of the day: the so-called purge done by Facebook on the “Likes” of the pages of the world’s largest social network.

For those who haven’t heard, and who must be few and far between given the chatter it generated online, here is how the company (whose recent introduction to the stockmarket was one of the most unsuccessful of the recent years with a quick 50% drop in share price) explains this rather unexpected and unforgiving Fall cleaning. Facing media storm generated by a privacy infraction of individuals (millions of private messages have reportedly been suddenly made public), Facebook has, in what seems like a quick damage prevention gimmick, decided to put his affairs in order and to simply delete million of so-called ghost pages, including some dedicated to pets (?), held by members with dozens of accounts (we did not know a page had to be held by one single person), pages with no activity for over a year, fake pages created by businesses selling “Likes” (who knew?) and a large number of other pages, considered fallacious on one or more levels and according to rather murky criteria.

The admitted purpose being, for a company obviously under fire, to “give confidence back to its advertising partners” and to shoot a healthy dose of ethics and so-called privacy into the leg of its monster network.

Reportedly, some pages like one dedicated to online poker, lost over 300 000 fans in just a few hours!

Among the many FB members to feel the quake, Parisian Gentleman was surprised to see the privacy maid had vacuumed our house, taking away a few thousand fans from our list. Although we do not understand the entire basis of this sudden change in policy for Mister Zuckerberg’s company.

If the intention really was to increase transparence and privacy on the world’s largest social network, what we are dealing is one of the greatest paradoxes in recent events. Indeed, isn’t it Facebook’s function to make one’s private life public?

On the other hand, how did concern for privacy and sustainability of statistics (which lead to its market overvaluation and subsequent demise) bring Facebook to decide to clean out one account over another? Of course, no human assessment was involved in handpicking the “fake” accounts from the millions that exist on the network, and a computer algorithm was most likely established to perform a task that could have taken decades to complete otherwise, with the lack of finesse and accuracy usually associated with such time-efficient solutions.

To tell the truth, PG has barely been affected by the operation, regardless of its scope. Indeed, we use FB exclusively as a stepping stone to our site and for promotional purposes (rather efficient, we will admit). If some of you feel like declaring their love with a “Like” (not from your goldfish’s account!), please use this link to our page: Parisian Gentleman, the french voice of sartorial excellence.  We know some of you abhor the very concept of Facebook, to them we specify that our last intention is to lure you into creating one!

Fortunately, we use much more specific and accurate measures of our readership and popularity. Let us take this opportunity to bow our hat to our increasing number of (most importantly) loyal English, American, Spanish, Chinese and Italian readers, who follow us through the excellent work of our translators Bruno, Stéfano, Sophie et Yasmine.

We hope that our friends and colleagues who have relied more on Facebook (by not posting elsewhere on the Net), have not suffered too greatly from this unexpected clearance which reeks of damage control on the part of a company for whom transparence and data protection hasn’t precisely been a forte…

So when is the end of the Facebook tunnel?

Cheers, HUGO