Lots of apps help make "friends" on Facebook, but a new app from UT Dallas is helping make "enemies.
Lots of apps help you make "friends" on Facebook, but a new app from the University of Texas in Dallas is helping your make "enemies.
Called EnemyGraph, the application runs in the Facebook ecosystem and lets users list their enemies or dislikes.
The creators of the app, a research group in the Emerging Media and Communication program at UT Dallas, have been getting a lot of attention after Sarah Palin mentioned the application on NBC's Today Show last week.
"It's all about tearing people down, hurting people," Palin said on the program. "When an app is used to take somebody down, it just adds more darkness to our world."
Palin might have reason to "dislike" the app herself, as she's ranked 23 on the "Top 25 Enemies" list in the app, behind President Barack Obama, the Twilight series of books, the Internet Explorer web browser, and musician Justin Bieber, who appears four times on the list.
The UTD team doesn't see the see the app's intention as a negative way to bully, but rather to open the social discussion to larger topics.
"We're wondering if there's a way to draw people together against something but that results in positive change," Professor Dean Terry told the Dallas Morning News, "We're interested in how that works. People create alliances against things they dislike. Think of the recent backlash against Rush Limbaugh and Joseph Kony."
Terry and his team are also using the application as a way to challenge Facebook's "system built upon almost purely positive feedback," as described by team member and UTD graduate student Bradley Griffith.
For now, though, the application at least lets users show their dislike for things like "racism," the band Nickleback, and cigarettes. But UTD faculty member David Parry thinks the next step might be bigger.
"This isn't simply a matter of poking a finger at Facebook," Parry told the Dallas Morning News. "The stakes are much, much larger."