Facebook Increases Friend Limit– This Does Not Give You an Invitation to Market There

By Lori Culwell

I recently noticed and maybe you have as well (or maybe not, if you don’t pay attention to stuff like this), Facebook seems to be lifting their limitation on the number of “friends” one person can have on a profile.

In case you’re still confused about “Facebook Profile” vs. “Facebook Fan Page,” here is a handy guide from Facebook themselves.
Here’s how to tell the difference:  you’ll know you have a Facebook Profile (meant for personal use) if: someone has to friend request you (and you have to approve it) for you to be connected.
A Facebook Profile (and in fact, MY Facebook profile) looks like this:

This is where I go to interact with my friends and post pictures of weird food, and that picture at the top is of Stephan vogueing in a forest.   In fact, I do not want you to friend request me unless I know you in person (no offense!).  I am actively trying to pare down my Facebook friends list to return it to consisting of “people I actually know,” so I have been unfriending people like crazy this year, at the rate of one or two per day.   Mostly this consists of “people I only know inadvertently through other people” or “people who friended me for marketing purposes or to ask me about writing,” and again, I am sorry– I am trying to set a good example for those authors I lecture in my book on this subject, and have non-friend types just go over and follow my Facebook Fan Page.    Facebook gets a little too confusing for me when I read through my news feed, because my brain tries to actually contextualize each person and what they are saying as soon as I see their name, and I think this is draining my brain’s battery life.  In an effort to streamline, I am cutting down the list, and I would encourage you to do the same!

While we are on the subject of Facebook Fan Pages, I will tell you that a Facebook Fan Page looks like this:

This is where you should go to see me talking about internet and book stuff.   http://facebook.com/LoriCulwellAuthor

On a Facebook Fan Page, there is no limit (and never has been) to the number of fans you can have.   Some people (like Lady Gaga) have millions.   In a Facebook Fan Page, all a fan has to do is “Like” the page.

Frankly, I’m not sure why Facebook has chosen to lift the “5,000 friend” limit, and if I were a person with more than 5,000 friends, this would make me nervous.  Lifting the limit only encourages people who are blatantly disregarding Facebook’s Terms of Service, which state (I’m not a lawyer, so don’t quote me) that you can’t “friend” people you don’t know in order to sell them things, and why else would you friend people you didn’t know, especially in numbers that large?

I’m half-suspecting that this is a trap set by Facebook to catch blatant marketers, to see who will notice the limit lift and use it as an excuse to friend thousands of people, which Facebook can then use as grounds to ban them.  This would not surprise me, and in fact, I have gone back and forth on numerous occasions with Facebook on behalf of people who were, for instance, using a Facebook profile as a business, only to find one day that Facebook had taken away not only their profile, but all of their friends with it.  Don’t let this happen to you!

At any rate, just because you CAN have more Facebook friends doesn’t mean you should.  This might be a glitch, it might be a trap, or it might be a reminder that you need to either turn your overstuffed Facebook profile into a Fan Page, or that you have something you want to sell, so you should get around to starting up a Fan Page and ask your friends to “Like” it.

Whatever the reason, please do not take this as an excuse to friend a thousand people for marketing purposes, or to continue using a personal profile as a business.  Facebook doesn’t want to turn into MySpace, and eventually they are going to crack down on people who are doing this.  Remember, Facebook is a business, they want to make money, and part of their business model is to make it so that you have to pay for Facebook Ads to build up the audience to your Facebook Fan Page.   They’re not going to just suddenly let you have 10,000 friends with no consequences.  I think this is a trap Facebook is setting for “over-marketers,” meaning people with low/ no budget to run ads who traditionally would go into the system, friend thousands of people, and then spam them with links/ things they are trying to promote or sell. I predict that we will start to see people who do that get their accounts taken away.  Just my opinion.

Watch your step!

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