Students nationwide to protest facebook application invitations

(U-WIRE) – Thousands of Facebook users around the world will protest the use of applications on the popular social networking website on April 1.

The protest, scheduled by a group organized by Columbia College student Adam Werlinger, comes amid mounting complaints of privacy invasion and spamming on the part of the various applications that Facebook offers.

Protesters plan to call Facebook offices in mass to speak out against the various applications.

The group, titled “Official Facebook Petition: To ban the inviting of friends on applications” numbers over 900,000 members and demands that Facebook provide the necessary tools to block applications altogether.

Many applications ask users frequently to invite more friends to add the application, creating a snowball effect that some users say have drowned them in useless communications.

“They’re fun on pages but it’s stupid that you have to deal with all the invites,” said 20-year-old University of Colorado open-option sophomore Kimberly Dwors.

While many students are vocal of their dislike of applications, some just see it as a passing fad.

“I generally ignore it because I’m not really involved with trends like that,” said Dylan Muhlberg, a 20-year-old junior film studies major.

Muhlberg said despite receiving a good amount of invites for applications, he mainly uses the Web site to keep in touch with friends rather than playing games.

Facebook did not return a call or e-mail for comment, but a recent Facebook blog post hinted at the discontent of many of its users. Paul C. Jeffries posted that users will have the option to ban individual applications. In addition, Jeffries said applications would not be allowed to force users to invite friends, and would provide a link for all application abuses to be reported.

Whether or not the planned protest will be successful is up to debate.

Communication Professor Robert Craig said it would be interesting to see if an Internet-organized protest would be effective in bringing change to a company as large as Facebook.

“If they really do get 1 million people to call Facebook offices they will certainly get noticed,” Craig said.

The group was an example of more social movements being organized via the Internet, Craig said. Craig referenced groups such as, a network-based group he said was capable of mobilizing thousands of people for certain causes.

Facebook is also involved in a dispute with toy company Hasbro, Inc., which has requested that the Web site remove the application Scrabulous. The game, Hasbro states, is in violation of copyright laws as it closely resembles the popular board game Scrabble. Either side has yet to budge on the issue.

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