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Your Friends Will Miss You

By July 12, 2011 April 16th, 2014 Reviews

As much as I currently enjoy Facebook, I’ve been known to disable my account every now and then. I never considered this a big deal, as I knew it would remain dormant until I decided I wanted to return. Right now, I’m in one of my active phases, and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. Despite this fact, I recently found myself visiting the deactivate page, purely out of boredom. In doing so, I unexpectedly came face-to-face with an amusing attempt at manipulation:

The Facebook deactivation page tells me that five friends will miss me, while providing an easy way to message them.

Are you sure you want to deactivate your account? Your friends will miss you.

Instead of just telling how the deactivation will affect the data I’ve shared, they go as far as saying that my friends will miss me. They don’t have a true sense of how significant Facebook is in my life, so the statement comes off as silly. Am I disappearing from the face of the Earth? No, I’m just disabling Facebook, and I will continue to be alive and reachable.

The specific friends that Facebook decided to show are also interesting – they appear to be purely random, not really factoring in how I use Facebook. If at least it showed the people I spoke to the most, then being warned about them missing me might actually mean something. After all, I’d be disabling a communication medium that had been used regularly with those specific people. But no, every time I visit the page, a random set of friends will miss me.

Furthermore, notice how the first friend listed has a photo with two people, instead of just one? That’s actually not the person’s profile photo, but instead a picture of her with me. We went on a trip together many years back, and it seems that Facebook is going the extra mile to further showcase the friendship that is at stake. Crafty.

It’s interesting to see how far Facebook will go to secure their ad revenue, and keep their userbase large. Surprisingly, according to a presentation Luke Wroblewski attended, it actually works:

looked at deactivation page and adjusted it convince people to stay by adding pictures of friends. Had a big impact, kept 1 million people a year on the site.