You had better be real scared if you offer me friendship on Facebook – I might take out a court case against you instead of simply Decline and Block. Not. Sheesh.

Facebook friends are not real friends: Judge (Daniel Emerson from Sydney Morning Herald)

A British judge has made official what many of us have long suspected – that being “Facebook friends” with someone doesn’t necessarily make you their friend.

The magistrate was presiding over a harassment case in which a woman accused her former boyfriend of hounding her by sending her a “friend request” on the popular social networking site on January 21.

The ex-boyfriend, Michael Hurst, 34, was cleared of the charge after the magistrate accepted his argument that the contact was highly innocuous because being “Facebook friends” could not be defined as “friendship in the traditional sense”.

I wonder how many friends Michael has? I bet it’s not a million:

“[Popular British radio DJ Chris Moyles] has 1 million Facebook friends. Do you think he knows them all intimately?” Mr Hurst said.

Geoff Dick, senior lecturer in information systems at the University of NSW, said he agreed with the judge that Mr Hurst wasn’t actually asking to become friends with his ex-girlfriend and physically spend time with her. He was merely suggesting that they give each other access to their profile pages, pictures and comments.

Is this an example of someone assessing the intentions of a social network member, and coming up with stalker? Strangers doing bizarre things are one thing, but clearly this woman has more to the story than simply an ex offering her friendship on Facebook. Is there an AVO? Did he request 2,000 times before she learnt how to block his requests? The SMH has done a hatchet job – as it stands, she looks like a goose. And I suspect that’s unfair.

Shel Israel (co-author of Naked Conversations with Robert Scoble) has a post on his blog about his not giving access to friends on Facebook. I can’t find the post right now – Facebook Inbox doesn’t have a search, nor does Shel’s blog – but it made me think: wouldn’t it be helpful to have a guideline note from the member? Such as “I am a friendly soul and accept most friendship offers”. Or “I use Facebook only for immediate friends and family – sorry – please follow me on Twitter?” And so on. By the way, I’m the opposite of Shel: I use Facebook for business and can’t be bothered writing up my truly personal stuff there. I use other (secret) networks for that!

I still wish Shel would add me as a friend. *looks woebegone* Heh.