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]