Facebook Groups dinged for drafting members

Facebook on Thursday was getting kudos for giving members better control of their information but dinged for letting people be thrown into "groups" without their permission.

A day after the world's most popular online social network began letting users form cozy cliques at the website the Internet was abuzz with grumblings by people who found themselves added to groups without being asked.

Well-known technology entrepreneur and blogger Jason Calcanis posted at his website a copy of an email that he sent to Facebook after being "force-joined" to a group called the "North American Man/Boy Love Association" (NAMBLA).

"There is no opt-in," Calcanis complained, noting that he is not - and has no interest in being - a NAMBLA member. "I've now been assigned to a group that advocates...well...ummm...You can look it up; it's very bad."

While unveiling the overhauled "Groups" feature on Wednesday, Facebook said people could easily opt-out and that once they did they could not be signed back up without their consent.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said that, as in the real world, social standards set by friends, family, or other members of groups were expected to control who got admitted.

People can only be added to a group by those designated as "friends" at the social network. In the case of Calcanis, a friend evidently created a NAMBLA group and inducted folks to highlight a problem with the opt-out approach.

"Many social dynamics on Facebook are determined by the people who use it," Facebook spokeswoman Jaime Schopflin said in response to an AFP inquiry.

"If you don't trust someone to look out for you when making these types of decisions on the site, we'd suggest that you shouldn't be friends on Facebook."

Facebook allowed group members to add others to make it simple and along the lines of "tagging" uploaded photos with the names of people pictured, according to Schopflin.

"If you have a friend that is adding you to groups you do not want to belong to, or they are behaving in a way that bothers you, you can tell them to stop doing it, block them or remove them as a friend - and they will no longer ever have the ability to add you to any group," Schopflin added.

Any member of a group can add friends to the clique, meaning the circle can grow to include people outside an individual's array of Facebook contacts.

"I found myself added to a group without being asked, and that was worrisome," SearchEngineLand.com editor-in-chief Danny Sullivan wrote in a blog post.

"I was pretty aghast this had happened. Groups got it wrong from the beginning by failing to ask if you want to be included," Sullivan said.

Groups was unveiled along with two features that will give people more control of the information they upload to Facebook.

A new service lets people download all pictures, video, comments and other digital information they have uploaded to the social networking service.

A new "dashboard" feature will let Facebook users see and manage what information in their accounts is accessed by third-party applications.

The online rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called the new Facebook features "important steps" toward giving people more power and control when it comes to their information at the social networking service.

"EFF is very pleased with (the) Groups revamp, which we hope will provide users with a powerful new tool for managing their privacy on the Facebook site," EFF attorney Kurt Opsahl wrote in a blog post.

"We greatly appreciate the additional control provided by the newly redesigned Groups feature, which will allow people to more easily share information only with particular subsets of their friends."

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Recruitment Genius: Support and Development Engineer

    £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The leading provider of Employee Managem...

    Recruitment Genius: Creative Designer

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Kent based design consulta...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Gazetteer Consultant

    £25000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking to work for an ...

    Day In a Page

    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate