Random friending isn't the sort of activity condoned by Facebook, which continues to insist that it is a social utility, not a social network.
The distinction came to light once again after a recent controversy involving PackRat, a popular application on Facebook. The game, which was created by Alamofire, involves trading cards that users must find on their friends profile pages. According to Alamofire, the games generates about 500 page views per day as users hunt for, and steal, cards from across their social network.
But it turns out the desire to complete a set has prompted some users to friend people they don't know or create dummy accounts simply for the purpose of playing the game.
That doesn't sit well with Facebook, which is working hard to keep its community from mushrooming into a free-for-all like MySpace. In an email obtained by TechCrunch, Facebook admonished one user who had his profile terminated.
"Please note that Facebook accounts are meant for authentic usage only. This means that we expect accounts to reflect mainly "real-world" contacts (i.e. your family, schoolmates, co-workers, etc.), rather than mainly "internet-only" contacts. As stated on our homepage, Facebook is a social utility that connects you with the people around you, not a 'social networking site.'"
While the distinction may seem minor, it's a crucial one for Facebook. Unlike MySpace, which has had some success selling site-wide campaigns, Facebook has been trying to integrate brands into user activities that naturally occur on the site.