Only So Many People Can Block You On Facebook

Investigating why it is that you can’t block Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook, Mashable discovered a safeguard makes it so once someone has been blocked enough, future blockage is prevented.

Here is what Facebook told Mashable:

This error isn’t specific to any one account. It’s generated when a person has been blocked a certain large number of times. In very rare instances, a viral campaign will develop instructing lots of people to all wrongly block the same person. The purpose of this system is to protect the experience for people targeted by these campaigns. We’re constantly working to improve our systems and are taking a closer look at this one.

So in case you were ever worried about Zuckerberg spamming you with YouTube forwards, be very afraid, because nothing can stop him.

Why You Can’t Block Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook [Mashable]

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  1. C. Ogle says:

    I’m lost.

    • SlayerGhede says:

      Basically, facebook has a loophole for all their scummy, spammy buddies funding their operation. You can block stalkers easy enough, but coordinated marketing campaign profiles get enough blocks to enter a “No more blocking this profile” state, giving them free reign on the site.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      …so are people who use Facebook…

  2. MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

    Honestly, what planet do these people live on?? Even if I was a gullible sheep, and blocked Christopher Butterfield because I believed that Friending him would somehow magically give him user access to my account, what is this imaginary harm to him that comes from thousands of strangers blocking him? What does he need to be “protected” from?

    • JRock says:

      Yeah, it doesn’t make sense. It’s to prevent a rare instance where a bunch of people block one particular person, which probably wouldn’t affect that one person in the first place? It’s not like all of the person’s friends, family, and coworkers are all of a sudden going to all block him/her.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      What does he need to be “protected” from?

      Exactly. Does he care that a bunch of random people are blocking him? Why should he?

  3. XianZhuXuande says:

    Uh, sooo… I don’t get it. Facebook has its issues—especially privacy issues—but why block someone who you aren’t even going to send a friend request to in the first place? Is this some strange paranoia about him viewing a limited profile page? And why would you want to be friends with someone who blocked you, via ‘viral campaign’ or not?

    • duskglow says:

      I have encountered a bunch of people on mutual pages that could only be described as idiots. I blocked them for my sanity. I would never be “friends” with them, but if I don’t block them I still have to see their pablum.

      Also for friends of friends. I’m fairly socially liberal, but I have a few friends who are Christian, and while they get where Im coming from and like it when I challenge them, some of their friends don’t and start getting hostile. I block them.

    • meg99 says:

      I had to block an old classmate who was friends with some people I’m friends with, because she’s also friends with family members of a guy who assaulted me—so sometimes people do have serious and reasonable reasons for blocking someone from out of the blue.

    • Willow16 says:

      My son has been getting friend requests (4 so far) from women who are pretty much naked (one was of the woman sitting down with her back to the camera and all she was wearing was a tiny thong) in their profile pictures so we turned down the friend requests and blocked them. I then checked his privacy settings (which had changed from the initial settings we had set up) and pretty much locked him down. He hasn’t gotten any of these requests for a while now.

  4. DariusC says:

    Great, Ill just have a couple hundred people block me and then I can start emailing that chick from high school and he can’t stop me! Mwahaha… Creeeeeeeepy….

    I almost thought if you get blocked so many times you will get your account banned, but I guess this works out in our favor! :)

  5. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Umm…. what if the person being mega-blocked actually DESERVED to be blocked, such as being an annoyance to others like a spamming incident.

    Facebook has some messed up logic all around.

    • duskglow says:

      In fairness to facebook, one of the challenges they have to deal with is the fact that sometimes what they are trying to accomplish can be self-contradictory. They have to deal with viral campaigns to all block someone, but then they also have to deal with people who deserve it, and apart from manually investigating their posting patterns, it’s very difficult to tell the difference. I do not like everything facebook does, but I’m inclined to cut them a lot of slack, because this is very difficult to get right. You’re dealing with people here, and the machines are only an ancilliary part.

      • trentblase says:

        There are also probably technical limitations. A naive implementation of a blocking mechanism would assume that the number of blocks are relatively low, and might therefore be coded in an inefficient (but easy to write) manner. Once megablocks started happening, instead of fixing the coding problem (expensive?) they just hacked in a block limit. Just a guess.

    • DanRydell says:

      Facebook also allows you to report another user for spam (which I do frequently).

  6. MeowMaximus says:

    I have completely blocked Mark Zuckerberg… By not being on Facebook.

    • vastrightwing says:

      You let my secret out. In fact, I’m going to sue for patent infringement, which is a method to permanently block all facebook accounts and keep my privacy. The method employed is to not join Facebook.

      • MeowMaximus says:

        I’m going to sue you for emotional distress caused by your lawsuit, the fact that your cat is more smug than mine, and the fact that I am slightly dissatisfied with the sandwich I just ate. This is obviously all your fault. I will be suing for one meeeeeelion dollars, or possibly a new sandwich.

  7. zandar says:

    popped popcorn, came for the Facebook bashing.

  8. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    This is really good news for Kip Drordy. Poor kid just needs some friends!

  9. smo0 says:

    If you’re the target of that many blocks… it’s time to /delete.

  10. Coupon says:

    I didn’t know you could “block” people on FB. What exactly does blocking people who aren’t your friends do? They can’t see any of your posts on a mutual friend’s profile and whatnot?

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Mostly…if they search for your profile, they get a “no such user found” kind of result, whereas anyone not blocked will at least see your name, regardless of how tightly you set your security settings. I think if “Alice” blocked you, but you had a mutual friend “Bob”, and Alice posted a comment on Bob’s wall, it would show up as “Facebook User” instead of “Alice”. You also wouldn’t see Alice as a member of any group or fan of anything, even if you were also a mutual member/fan.

    • MeowMaximus says:

      I make my own Facebook blocks at home. I carve them out of the petrified remains of Myspace users.

  11. zentex says:

    I blocked Zuckerberg when the privacy went to hell…to make a point incase he ever decided to look at how many people block him.

    So, blame me. I’m one of the reasons you can’t do it.

  12. WayneB says:

    They should have briefly explained the overhead involved. Everything you see on Facebook involving other Facebook users has to be filtered to remove any users who have blocked you. The amount of time it takes to do this grows with the number of users who have blocked you. At some point the number can be so large that it has a more than noticeable effect on page loading time.

    In other words, a viral campaign to block someone on Facebook can have the effect of a Denial Of Service attack on that person.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Poor algorithm then. For a fee, I will develop a proper algorithm, which won’t have performance problems like this.

      • WayneB says:

        If you can develop better performing code that scales to half a billion users then I’m sure you can command a very nice fee.

    • golddog says:

      Your explanation makes sense, but I agree w/VRW in that the dullards in charge of programming did things ass backwards. I’m not a programmer, but it seems like all they have to do is maintain a blacklist of blocked users on the blockers side, not a list on the central servers that has to populate w/every page you look at.

      And what the hell constitutes a “viral” blocking campaign? God forbid somebody doesn’t want to see every stupid advance you made in TurdWars or every little stop you made during your day in Four Square. Congratulations! You’re the Mayor Idiotapolis. I didn’t know though b/c I blocked that lunacy.

      • WayneB says:

        Ever heard of 4chan? 4chan don’t need reasons to do what they do.

      • NewsMuncher says:

        I just block any of those things my friends post. You can block “Mafia Wars” without blocking the person. I haven’t seen any of that Farmville crap since the first three days I joined Facebook.

  13. vastrightwing says:

    I’ve blocked the entire Facebook system. How? by not being a member. Works great. No spam, no privacy issues.

  14. thatblackgirl says:

    “WHY AREN’T YOU ON FACEBOOK!?”

    “Because then I’d have to deal with your constant douchebaggery.”

  15. Pax says:

    How fucking stupid is THAT??

  16. FrugalFreak says:

    This was created to prevent blocking corporate pages that pay money to facebook. like pandora, yelp, ect… remember while back when the privacy concerns about them being auto added? This is merely Facebook’s way around that and act like it is offering privacy too.