Sometimes I’ll go a week or two without logging into Facebook. It doesn’t take very long before they start sending me reminders trying to bring me back.

“See Alice’s message and other notifications you’ve missed”

“Bob updated their status”

“Carol posted a photo”

It’s only been since the weekend and Facebook has sent me two of these today.

Some of them are straight-forward: You’ve got X messages, Y group invitations, Z notifications.

But the “updated their status” emails are downright manipulative. The message starts with a 40-character snippet from the status they think will get you interested, so it shows up in the preview in your inbox. But it’s styled with color: #FFFFFF; display:none; font-size: 1px so that you don’t see it when you open the message, just a giant button to go to Facebook. And once you’ve clicked, they’ve already got your attention. You’re engaged, and you want to see what this thing is that’s hidden, making you more motivated to actually click on that big giant button. They hope. Unless it makes you angry and want to delete the message out of principle.


Anyway, Facebook apparently gets more and more desperate over time, and after a few months people have been getting customer support messages about how you seem to be having trouble logging in, though Facebook swears they are “not a re-engagement tactic.” Given the manipulation in their actual re-engagement messages, I’m not so sure. (via Slashdot)

It’s all about keeping you online, so they can get more data, show you more ads, and keep their engaged-user numbers up. Understandable, but a bit excessive, IMO.

Oddly enough, LinkedIn is sort of the opposite. When I go a long time without logging in, their messaging slows down. Then as soon as I’m in, *bam!* every few days, another “people you might know!”

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