Facebook "Groups" Welcomes You To NAMBLA

Facebook updated its Groups feature this week, making it easier for your friends to create new groups and add you to them — without asking you first. As Mahalo CEO Jason Calacanis discovered, this means a long-forgotten “friend” can make you a member of just about anything, even a group known by the acronym NAMBLA.

Calacanis was none-too-happy with his unsolicited inclusion in the group, and told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about it:

Seems as if anyone can add anyone to a Facebook Group.

There is no “opt in.”

In this case someone added Mike Arrington and I to the “NABLA” group on Facebook. I know I’m not a member of NAMBLA, and I’m going to guess that Mike isn’t either.

I’ve now been assigned to a group that advocates… well…. ummm…. you can look it up-it’s very bad.

Also troubling:

1. I was never asked to join the NABLA group
2. I was never informed that I was “force-joined” to the NABLA group.

If you guys want to run these new features by me before you launch them, I can probably save you from a couple of privacy law suits each year.

Facebook has promoted the updated Groups function as a way to “make it easy for users to create a shared space where they can quickly post photos, chat with other members who are online, and even keep in touch when they’re not on Facebook through a group email address.” And after Arrington added Zuckerberg to NAMBLA, the Facebook CEO left the group and commented that “this is why it’s easy to leave groups.”

Nice try, Zuck. But we’re with Groucho on this one, and refuse to join any club that would have us as a member — or any group that anoints us a member without our approval.

Email I sent to Zuckerberg & Sheryl over “FORCE JOIN” Groups on Facebook [The Jason Calacanis Weblog]
New Groups Design [Facebook Help Center]

Comments

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  1. bizzarodave says:

    Thats the North American Marlon Brando Lookalike Association, right?

  2. RandomHookup says:

    No by-line on the article? Guess no one wants to come up in a search for NAMBLA + (name)…

  3. AstroPig7 says:

    Is there a way to disable this?

    • AstroPig7 says:

      I just skimmed the information in the help centre, and the question “Can I prevent people from adding me to a new group?” was not satisfactorily answered. I can see a marketing benefit in this if you have some sleazy friends or corporate-sponsored friends, but otherwise this is nothing but trouble. What the hell were they thinking?

  4. BettyCrocker says:

    I think everyone should be on a quest to add Zuck again and again to all sorts of groups he may not want to be a part of. Seriously – WTF?

  5. Murph1908 says:

    I read about this on Yahoo today. Facebook’s response?

    “Tell your friend not to do that.”

    Idiots.

    • dragonfire81 says:

      Sounds like they took the Steve Jobs conflict resolution courses.

    • rijrunner says:

      When you combine this with companies that search public info about prospective and current employees, this could seriously impact your professional career.

      • Rena says:

        Or it could be a great alibi. “No, I never joined any of those! You heard how Facebook changed it so people can add you to groups without asking, right?” Let them prove that you were in those groups before this “feature” was added…

  6. Scribblenerd says:

    If memory serves, the original NAMBLA had 3 members and disappeared years ago!

  7. Horselady says:

    I just keep getting happier & happier
    that
    I left Facebook

    I have never looked back.

    • SomeWhiteGuy says:

      Second.

      I help my wife deal with some of her stuff, but she’s a stay-at-home mom (got promoted in July :-D) so we’re not too worried about any prospective employers searching her for anything.

      I will have to warn her about this though.

    • Mythandros says:

      I have an account, but I use it about once every 2 weeks and it does NOT have any real information about me on it.

      That’s the key. Lie to facebook and don’t login for about 2 weeks at a time.
      Facebook is not trustworthy enough to have any of my real info, and this way I can actually use it to communicate with my facebook-bound friends.

      • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

        Also: Always fisking LOG OUT when you leave Facebook. I am so freaking sick of random websites knowing who I am, even though I went through facebook’s privacy settings and was pretty sure I clicked every option that said “Do not share my information with other websites.”

    • gethenian says:

      Same here. I left years ago and have never once regretted it.

  8. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Wow, this is very very bad. But groups are limited to 250 people, so it won’t spread far… that’s a good side but very bad facebook!

  9. HeavyMental says:

    i’m gonna hit in the balls anybody who adds me to a group like that

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I’m FB friends with family members who live far away. They’re not close enough for me to hit them in the balls. :(

      • AstroPig7 says:

        I see a future for craigslist ads offering this service. If anyone has friends or relatives that need this treatment in Dallas, then I will gladly take care of it for $10 plus gas money.

        • Clumber says:

          Does it have to be FB related only? I do not have any of the FaceSpaceTwit accounts but I do still have a use for your valuable service.

  10. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    …if you’re foolish enough to be using such a service as this…

    …and we know these services are being trolled for info by employers, prospective employers, etc….

    …just think of how much fun you’d have if a company you were applying to checked out your FB page and saw you were a member of the NAMBLA group. Or the I

    It’s staggering how stupid people can be…somebody, someplace, thinks this is a good idea.

  11. Murph1908 says:

    So by inviting him to the group which included him automatically, he made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

    Fitting.

  12. jason in boston says:

    I think these types of things (gaming the system for the lulz) is funny. No one is forcing people to use facebook.

  13. Anonymously says:

    How do you do this? I must know.

  14. dohtem says:

    the Facebook CEO left the group and commented that “this is why it’s easy to leave groups.”

    This nut is so far removed from reality, it’s starting to worry me.

    • segfault, registered cat offender says:

      That’s pretty funny, next to your avatar…

    • Julia789 says:

      Easy to leave, and then they add you to it again five minutes later.

      • psiphiorg says:

        According to the FAQ, if you remove yourself from a particular group, then nobody else can add you to that specific group again other than yourself.

        Also, only one of your friends can add you to the group in the first place; strangers can’t do that. If one of your friends adds you to a group you don’t want, talk to them about it. If they do it again, de-friend them.

  15. Hank Scorpio says:

    You jerks just made me google “NAMBLA” from work. I really, really hope they don’t having logging turned on on the content filter.

  16. Thanatos says:

    Someone who is friends with Zuck should should add him to this group and many others like and see how he likes it, oh wait im sure this feature isnt part of his profile, but “it’s easy to leave groups.” I really am considering leaving facebook for good with all the shit they try to pull. Id do it in a heartbeat but it seems to be the only way to get info whats going on with my family unless i want to hear about it a couple months later after the fact (they never tell me anything) :(

  17. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I don’t see why it’s necessary for them to do it this way unless they’re hoping that people’s friends will force-join them into public groups and make their profiles findable to people who aren’t Friends of Friends.

  18. Rocket says:

    What the fuck Facebook?

    • Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

      I can’t speak for Facebook, but I can tell you who THIS particular group was looking to fu…..

      nevermind.

  19. summeroflove says:

    Great…. I can see it happening that now every person that I know who wants to promote their businesses will form groups and add me involuntarily to them.

  20. econobiker says:

    Aside from the current issue of Facebook groups, I chuckle at Yahoo’s mismanagement of personal profiles and groups/clubs over the last 10 years.

    Yahoo could have had Facebook-like profiles years ago but they always downgraded and limited their Yahoo Profiles when people started to try and share – - -too- – much information. They tried to create a Myspace me-too with Yahoo 360 but that eventually tanked. They had commenting message boards related to news stories and then canceled them but are now back with blog like message boards related to news stories.

    Another example of their Profile mismanagement is that Yahoo bought Flickr and dumped the Profile related Yahoo Photo accounts into that site and now they are back with some sort photo scheme related to profiles but not related to Flickr. What a bunch of maroons…

  21. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Since I check it every day after work anyway, I’ll just keep checking I guess and take myself off anything I get put on.

    I haven’t left it yet because I have long-distance friends it helps me keep in touch with.

  22. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    I thought facebook was improving the privacy on the site which is a ‘big step’ for them, but this force-join-no-notification is a ‘giant leap’ backwards. I’m finding that friends and family, even the computer-literate ones, occasionally fall for a facebook scammer. ‘Like’ this if you hate scammers.

  23. zegota says:

    I don’t think you can do this anymore. Either that or it’s only available in certain circumstances. A few friends and I have tried this in multiple different circumstances this morning and we weren’t able to get any “Add Friends to Group” button.

  24. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    That at least apparently isn’t going to happen: http://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=18897

    At least not for now…

  25. almightytora says:

    It’s so annoying to have a chat window all of a sudden open up with people talking random crap. I hope Facebook puts in an option that denies automatic adding into groups.

  26. 3skr1mad0r says:

    “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.” Groucho Marx

  27. Happy Tinfoil Cat says:

    Why a group named NABLA instead of NAMBLA? I’m guessing you can’t have two groups with the same name?

  28. ccuttriss says:

    Sounds like Zuck has been taking CEO 101 from Prof Jobs!

  29. Extractor says:

    Now I know why the first thing that is suggested when you type delete in google is facebook account. And I signed up yesterday thinking I had strict settings. Today found that my entire birth date was on it as well as some other stuff I didnt want posted.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      You have to go line by line to hide stuff in your profile. It’s possible, you just have to go in and edit your profile to do it instead of going into the regular Privacy settings.

  30. Myotheralt says:

    Does it announce when you leave a group? Bob has left the group “I have never had sex with a goat.”

  31. Rhinoguy says:

    A friend of mine was kind enough to create a whole profile for me. Without asking! I’m sure she deleted it, which means only TWOFacebook has all my personal data. As I have often said about friends and foes “His heart is in the right place, it’s his head that’s in a dark place.” Let the foul abuses of Suckerberg’s name begin. Oh, it has.