June 28, 2011, 12:30 PM — A few weeks ago I got a Facebook friend request from a cute young blonde thing named Marjorie. I did not know Marjorie from Adam, but she was certainly enthusiastic about friending me. She even initiated a chat session before I had a chance to respond.
In fact, she continues to chat me periodically at random, even though we are not officially “friends.” When I asked why, she says she just “wants 2 b yr frnd.”
[ See also Wanted: Privacy policies written for human beings ]
There was something strangely familiar about Marjorie, and it took me a couple of days to figure it out. Her profile photo – the only one on her page – was of country star Taylor Swift. (On closer inspection, one can see the MTV Awards logo behind her. Duh.)
There's one other use of this sleazy tactic that revolves around ad placement. Any relevance algorithm in the network will take into account ads your friends 'Liked.' If you allow a fake friend into your personal network, that entity can drive more ads to your sidebar than otherwise would be the case.
Naturally, I Googled Marjorie, who sports a common Filipino surname. I got a fistful of nothing; every link to her was via Facebook. She’s like The Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager; beyond Planet Zuckerberg, Marjorie does not appear to exist in corporeal form.
A fake friend epidemic appears to be sweeping across Facebook, though with only 30 friends Marjorie is one of the less aggressive offenders. Blogads blogger Henry Copeland details the case of one “Nicole Bally,” who managed to befriend some 697 people, including the hoi polloi of the InterWebs: Sean Parker, Arianna Huffington, Chad Hurley, Henry Blodget, Jimmy Wales, Seth Godin, and Amanda Congdon among them.
It seems no one, male or female, can resist a pretty stranger.