BK’s ‘Whopper Sacrifice’ Burned on the Altar of Privacy

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Burger King has disabled its hit “Whopper Sacrifice” app after Facebook asked the company to alter it in the interest of user privacy.

The application offered a free Whopper to any Facebook user who removed 10 of his or her friends. (Tagline: “You like your friends. But you love the Whopper.”) The problem, from Facebook’s point of view, was that anyone rubbed out for a tenth of a Whopper was told about the act, violating the company’s carefully cultivated relationship of trust with users.

“We have reached out to the developer with suggested solutions,” Facebook said in a comment to the Inside Facebook Blog. “In the meantime, we are taking the necessary steps to assure the trust users have established on Facebook is maintained.”

The problem with Whopper Sacrifice is not limited to preserving trust. As I expressed in a post last week, the application could also be abused in the hands of facebook users bully pulpit-sized networks. That’s because the removal of any friend by Whopper Sacrifice was broadcast to the news feed of the person doing the removing, and hence be read by any of his or her friends. Many of these will also be familiar with the victim. So it could be a means of ostracization.

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