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The Globe and Mail

Five Facebook phenomena we could do without

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

We here at Globe Tech HQ love Facebook.

Seven years ago, a young Harvard sophomore named Mark Zuckerberg first realized what we all take for granted today: that the Internet's true purpose wasn't as a hub for research or democracy or building bridges between distant cultures, it was a place where narcissists wanted to post photos of themselves in various states of drunkenness and undress, and creeps wanted to gawk at those photos with impunity.

With that simple thought, Mr. Zuckerberg set about building a digital Noah's Arc for the Web's socially awkward.

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That's why we were thrilled to hear this week that Facebook has nabbed its 500-millionth user. One out of every 12 people on Earth have now experienced the Internet's newest rite of passage: waking up to find your default privacy setting changed from "Strict" to "Mardi Gras."

But Globe on Tech readers know that our focus here is on constructive criticism. As such, we present the five worst side-effects of the Facebook experience:

5. The Obvious Scam Account:

You have received a friend request from "Xanadu Q. Firehose"

Some of Xanadu's friends:

"Spambot. B. Englishword"

"Dr. Professor Lamborghini Millionaire"

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"Natalie Portman"

Some of Xanadu's hobbies:

"Assisting Nigerian royalty with complex financial transactions."

"Getting you to open very large, oddly named PDF files."


Confirm? Ignore?

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4. The Pointless Facebook Group:

"I bet this [onion ring/pancake/stop sign]can get more fans than [Stephen Harper/Nickleback/Maya Angelou]"

"If I [amass some number of fans] I will [shave my head/ pierce a body part that shouldn't be pierced/give my newborn child a ridiculous, life-ruining name]"

"We demand you get rid of [the newest Facebook re-design/some anti-Justin Beiber group/the long-form census]

3. The Endless Stream of Farmville Wall Posts:

John Doe has just found a lonely sheep on his farm! Will you help him take care of it? Click here to sign up!

John Doe's sheep is sick! Oh no! Will you help him take it to a vet? Click here to sign up and save John's poor little sheep!

The sheep has tuberculosis. Seriously, sign up.

It's dead. Are you happy? Are you happy now? Click here to sign up and remove that photo of the sheep carcass from your wall.

2. The Cryptic, Narcissistic or Just Plain Stupid Status Update:

"I am strong and I will get over that thing you did that one time when you did that thing in that place. You know who you are."

"The heart is like a well: it nourishes you and gives you life and sometimes in the summer months it can produce an oily discharge due to contaminants in the water table. IF YOU BELIEVE IN LOVE FORWARD THIS TO 100 FRIENDS OR YOU WILL GET RUN OVER BY A TRUCK <3 <3 <3."

"omg guys I just locked my self in the refrigerator lol."

1. The Soul-Crushing Confirmation of Humankind's Failure as a Species:

"Three of your friends are now friends with Xanadu Q. Firehose."

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