by Kristin Burnham

Live and Learn: 10 Unforgettable Facebook Follies

Jun 09, 20114 mins
FacebookSocial Networking Apps

It's amazing what people do in the name of Facebook, and the first half of 2011 was no exception. Here are 10 of the most memorable failures, bad ideas and regrettable decisions that left us shaking our heads.

Woman Tattoos Arm With 152 Facebook Friends

There are some people who like Facebook, and there are others who really like Facebook. Take, for example, this one woman from the Netherlands.

Identified only as “susyj87” on her YouTube account, this woman posted a 90 -second video of the finishing touches on her “social tattoo,” which includes 152 of her “closest” Facebook friends.

In the video’s description, she writes: “Of course I gave it a lot of thought…To me it represents who I am right now and the time we live in.” Cue the regret in three…two…one…

Google’s Schmidt Admits Facebook Failure


Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt got a lot off his chest this year at the AllThingsD conference in June. For the first time, Schmidt admitted he “screwed up” in the area of social networking, specifically in Google’s failed attempts to partner with Facebook.

“I clearly knew that I had to do something, and I failed to do it,” he said. “A CEO should take responsibility. I screwed up.” Better luck next time?

Facebook’s CIO Shares IT Innovation Successes and Failures

Egyptian Family Names Child “Facebook”


To honor the role that Facebook played in ousting Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, an Egyptian man chose to name his daughter “Facebook.” A unique idea, for sure, however we can’t help but feel for baby Facebook when it comes time to make friends of her own.

[For everything you need to know about Facebook, check out’s Facebook Bible.]

Buckingham Guard Fired for Middleton Insult


In the middle of all the excitement surrounding Will and Kate’s royal wedding this year was a less-than-excited palace guard who chose to air his foul feelings toward the princess publicly on Facebook. Which we all know is never a good idea.

Among other things, 18-year-old Cameron Reilly called Kate Middleton a “stupid stuck up cow”—comments that prompted an investigation by the Ministry of Defense and resulted in his firing from patrolling the palace on the big day.

Facebook Photos Prompt Polygamy Charge


Earlier this year, a Michigan man posted pictures of his wedding on Facebook—a common action for happily married newlyweds. The only problem: He was still married to a woman in Rhode Island, who was tipped off to these photos.

The original wife alerted the authorities, who soon after arrested him for polygamy. Third time’s a charm?

[Facebook Privacy: How to Block Facial Recognition]

German Birthday Party Goes Gangbusters


A German teenager officially invited just a handful of friends to her birthday party in June, but a whopping 1,500 people showed up—all because she forgot to mark her invitation as private when she created the event on Facebook.

The girl, identified only as Thessa, fled the premise for her grandparents’ house while 100 officers were dispatched to deal with the crowd. Now that’s a party.

Family Names Child “Like”


Not to be outdone by baby “Facebook,” a couple living in Israel, too, wanted an original name for their newborn daughter. The one they decided on: “Like.”

“We named her Like because it’s modern and innovative,” the father told an Israeli newspaper. “I checked that the name does not exist elsewhere in the country. That was the main condition for me.”

When the couple announced their daughter on Facebook, the update received 40 Likes. “Considering that I only have a little more than 100 friends on the network, that’s a lot,” he said.

Facebook’s Smear Campaign Against Google


There appears to be little hope in getting these two companies to play nice. In May, Facebook admitted to secretly hiring PR firm Burson-Marsteller to run a smear campaign against Google, calling out how Google’s “Social Circle” Gmail feature violates users’ privacy.

Facebook calling out Google on violations of user privacy? Really?

[10 Must-Have Facebook Apps and Add-Ons]

Facebook Craze “Planking” Leads to Death


The Australian prime minister called for an end to “planking” after a 20-year-old man fell to his death from a seven-story balcony in May. Planking—the latest craze to hit Facebook—is when individuals pose for a picture by laying flat, with arms and feet outstretched, on various objects.

The Facebook page for “planking” has more than 300,000 “Likes” and features a gallery of people posing on various objects, from airplane engines to wooden suspension bridges.

Rapper T-Pain’s Facebook Tattoo


Rapper T-Pain tweeted in January that every time he visits Hawaii, he gets a tattoo. “I think this ones [sic] pretty sweet, unless facebook shuts down soon O_0,” he wrote.

His latest ink: a tattoo that read, “You don’t have to Like me,” complete with Facebook’s signature thumbs-up. Let’s just hope, for his sake, that Facebook doesn’t shut down soon.

[ Teardown: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg]