Was Facebook or Burger King right about user privacy?

By offering users a coupon for a free Whopper in exchange for deleting ten friends, Burger King's Whopper Sacrifice saw 82,000 users delete over 230,000 relationships on Facebook.

Few Facebook applications manage to attain the level of viral adoption and mainstream stream press coverage that Burger King's Whopper Sacrifice application have received. By offering users a coupon for a free Whopper in exchange for deleting ten friends, the application saw 82,000 users delete over 230,000 relationships on the social networking site, according to Inside Facebook.

As Nick O'Neill notes at AllFacebook, however, Facebook's temporary removal of the application until the broadcast of "de-friending" was removed was yet another public relations snafu by Facebook. According to Facebook, publishing the removal of friends by Burger King's application was a violation of user privacy, as Facebook prohibits those types of alerts.

What's ironic, however, is that Facebook requires users to jump through confusing hoops in order to prevent some of their own relationship information to be broadcast. Removing a person from an established relationship (such as "married to" or "in a relationship with") would seem as simple as asking that relationship status not appear on your profile, then removing the person, right? However, first, the user has to find the preference setting to request that relationship status not be posted to walls or feeds, then hide the relationship status, and then remove the individual. Simply asking Facebook to no longer post relationship status on a profile page results in a message going out under default settings that the user is "no longer married to" or "no longer in a relationship with" even if the relationship still exists on the site, as many users have discovered when a post went out stating that they'd ended their relationships.

O'Neill is correct that Facebook's reliance on voluntary compliance with Facebook's terms is nearly impossible to police when it comes to application developers. More cause for concern, however, is the double standard that Facebook seems to have when it comes to user privacy. For a company that's still running Beacon, the privacy concerns seem to be enforced on a inconsistent basis.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags Facebooksocial networkinginternet privacy

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Cyndy Aleo-Carreira

The Industry Standard
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?