Braving the new world of Facebook

A Philadelphia performance artist is revealing “scientific” discoveries about Facebook and the people who use it.

Part performance art, part social science experiment, Dave Kim did everything Facebook recommended that he do for the month of April.

He went to every party, replied to every message, and “friended” everybody that Facebook recommended.

At the time, he admitted to being a reluctant Facebook user.

“I don’t understand the impulse to tell everybody,” said Kim at an open house party for a bike messenger-bag company in April. “I’m not naturally going on and doing these things.”

He and his partner, James Weissenger, developed the experiment as part of a group exhibition at little berlin, an alternative art space in Fishtown.

Kim says he learned that Facebook’s recommendations are not designed to enhance popularity, but rather to push the user to reveal more personal information for the benefit of a customer database.

When he took the system’s recommendations to their extreme—such as accepting every friend request and sending out as many as 30 of his own friend requests a day–Facebook assumed he was a spam-bot and shut down his account.

Kim’s Facebook friends were indignant, and that surprised him.

“I came to the conclusion that people are confused about the rights they have,” said Kim. “They should have the right to breathe, and to pursue happiness, and they should have the right to Facebook.”

After 30 days of having Facebook determine his social calendar, Kim says it took a few weeks to get used to making decisions for himself again.

You can see pictures and conclusions of the experiment 

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