When “your” network bites back

Cross posted from my work blog.

There's a great write-up by Adam Conner over on the Personal Democracy Forum of how the small actions of many autonomous individuals can add up to a networked tsunami. 

Yesterday, Facebook launched a new feature called feeds, which is a live stream of constant updates on the recent activities of your Facebook friends. Everything you or your friends do on Facebook, from adding new friends, to changing your profile, or commenting on other people’s pictures, is now streamed live to your homepage when you log onto the site. It was new, technologically impressive, and unexpected.

And a lot of people didn’t like it. Really didn’t like it.

Users immediately began creating anti-feed "groups" in Facebook to protest the change.

One group in particular, "Students against Facebook News Feed (Official Petition to Facebook),"; somehow connected the intangible elements of luck and timing to become the most popular “anti-feed” group.

By 11:55pm on Tuesday, its first day of existence, the group gone from 0 members to 68,607. At 12:55am it had grown to 85,521 members, having added nearly 20,000 members in an hour. At 2:06pm today there were 223,460 members, having almost doubled in size in 12 hours.

Facebook was promoting it's own protesters involuntarily through the unpopular new Feeds feature.

Every time someone joins the Facebook group "students against Facebook news feed," every single friend that user has is made aware of this the next time they login, without any action other than joining the group being required from the user.

This is a great example of how network infrastructure allows many people to communicate directly with each other and enables collective network action to flow through the pipelines.   Read the entire story at http://www.personaldemocracy.com/node/999

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