Facebook Blocking Could Learn From eBay

Posted By Debbie on January 16, 2012

eBay tracks you. Wildly and well. They know who’s logging in from where into which accounts. They know when you log out of one account and into another. They know how many accounts you have. And because they know you’re doing this, eBay has an interesting rule. If you get suspended on eBay (for any reason that eBay suspends people), ALL of your eBay accounts (that eBay has connected with you) are suspended. They’re pretty good at connecting all of these things. The idea here is that if you’re trouble, they don’t want YOU no matter what you’ve named yourself. Makes sense.

I once knew someone who had something for sale on eBay. He wanted to make it look like I was bidding on it, I guess because I’m some sort of celebrity. 🙂 He created an eBay account that looked like a name I could pick, and he bid on his own stuff. I was concerned that the auction would end with “fake me” as the winner, and, not knowing what personal or contact info he put in for that account, someone might try to hold me responsible for paying for it. So I reported it to eBay for shill bidding (bidding on your own item). Within 24 hours, the item was taken down, and the jerk’s account was temporarily suspended. Clearly, eBay found enough evidence in their logs and data to know it was the same guy in both accounts.

Why can’t Facebook do that? Facebook has to know when someone has more than one account. Let’s say for example that I block my ex-boyfriend on Facebook because he’s not at all a well cat, and I want nothing to do with him. Facebook knows what devices he logs in from. They know his IP number from where he lives with Mommy. They know his Mommy since they are listed on Facebook as mother and son. Facebook sees Mommy’s account logging in from the same IP and possibly the same devices. Facebook would probably see no other users coming from those devices or IPs. It would be great if Facebook could see those devices or that IP trying to poke around my Facebook page (to see whatever might be public), and STOP them. Facebook should understand that I’m trying to block ALL connection with this guy, realise what he’s doing, and throw him some sort of obstacle.

Facebook could ripple that out even further, since it’s all about relationships and the graph, right? Facebook would KNOW that the handful of his friends that I friended I also blocked. Facebook would have enough to know that I have truly disconnected from him, blocked everybody I could think of, and haven’t unblocked him, and have a clear and consistent set of behaviours that show that as soon as I figure out that someone is connected to him, I block them. Facebook COULD take that more seriously, and not let accounts connected to him surf mine.

In fact, imagine if that were an option. Imagine if when I block crappy ex-boyfriend, FB asks if I would like to block ALL of his FB friends. Let’s say his name is James Allen. I could have a block setting for “James Allen’s friends.” That way, as he makes new FB friends, they are automatically blocked. This way, there is NO possible link between me on FB (which would be my few public postings) and him (through his friends). It would mean he couldn’t ask any friends to check out my public postings and report back. That would be best.

Facebook COULD do this, and Facebook SHOULD do this. It would at least be a START.