Proving that not all people want to characterize online relationships in the friendliest of terms, a new Facebook application for listing your enemies is now working its way through the social network at breakneck pace.
EnemyGraph, first released last month, is a play on Facebook’s social graph and encourages people to use the popular social network to do the exact opposite of what they’re used to: declare their enemies.
The app, developed by a research group in the Emerging Media and Communications program at the University of Texas at Dallas, has received a lot of media coverage in the past two days for its anti-friending product, adding more than 10,000 users in the last 36 hours.
“People want to express themselves in broader ways, and not always in the ways that Facebook prefers. I think this is a blind spot, an opportunity,” EnemyGraph co-creator and program director Dean Terry told VentureBeat.
He might be right. The frenzy of activity may be too much for the little app, however, as it appears to be buckling under the pressure of maintaining so many enemy relationships.
In addition to encouraging folks to finger their foes, the application also tracks the most disliked people on Facebook. Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum and pop-star Justin Bieber are two of the most despised people on Facebook, according to EnemyGraph’s tabulations.
For Terry and his student co-creators Bradley Griffith and Harrison Massey, though, EnemyGraph is less about making enemies and more about understanding the complexities of online relationships. The current crop of social networks are lopsided, they argue.
“You learn a lot about people by what they dislike,” Terry said. “This app opens the door to wondering if there’s a way to draw people together against something that in turn results in positive social change, or at least brings [people] together in new ways.”
With the influx of attention, the application, launched primarily as an exploration in social dissonance, could evolve into a full-fledged company. “We’re interested in developing this idea further in a non-Facebook app. There’s certainly a startup angle here,” Terry said.
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