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September 17, 2009

Somebody Unfriended you on Facebook? (Also: spurned by family)

Many Updates Below - make sure you read them all

So, you have your Facebook account which you go to regularly. You've got 250 friends now! Good for you! You're popular, or at least you have a lot of associations with different people, all wanting to know what you're doing on Facebook.

But suddenly, you notice that you only have 249 friends. Oh no!!!! Who dropped you from their hallowed list? Unfortunately, there's no way to tell on Facebook. You don't get any notice that somebody has dropped you. You just see your number of friends drop, and then keep dropping, and going down, down, down....Good heavens, what did you do??

Anyway, now there is a way you can find out who has dropped you, as long as you're using Firefox as your browser.

"Facebook Friends Checker" is a script that you can run on your Firefox browser (requires that you install the "Greasemonkey" add-on). Then, every time you open your Facebook page (well, every 2 hours is the default, so if you keep loading it, it won't run every time), it will take a list of your friends and compare it to the list it took last time. If there's somebody missing, it will find out who it is and then tell you at the top of your page. It's really handy.

One good side effect is that it doesn't just do your friends list. With the new Facebook "connections" idea, it also does people you have sent friend requests to who then actively "ignore" (i.e. click on the "ignore" button) that request. Thus, you can tell who is so offended that you would actually want to be friends with them that they would actually "ignore" you rather than just thoughtlessly adding you to the pile of 400+ friends that they probably have. Maybe they don't want any more noise? Or maybe they've heard from those hundreds of people who already dropped you (seriously, man, what did you do to piss them off so much?).

Which brings me to the second part of my subject. I sent a second friend request to a family member, just to see if the fact that it disappeared from my list was just a bug or not, and it took just a day to have it viciously ignored (thank you, Facebook Friends Checker!). Do I smell? Did she stumble upon my plans for world domination and decide "I don't want to associate with that looney?" I don't know.

Not that it's any skin off my nose. I just find it funny. Hence the tongue-in-cheek nature of this post.

There have been a couple of people who turned down friend requests but, since it was such a long time between me sending the request and me finding that person again, I completely forgot whether I had sent the request. I think I bothered one poor high school classmate 5 times before realizing that I wasn't forgetting to do it. It was just getting ignored. Now, with Facebook Friends Checker, I won't have to worry about that anymore.

*update 1 (9/17/09): Just re-read the script page, and it *could* work on other browsers. Make sure you read the site carefully if you're not using Firefox. I have a feeling Internet Explorer is out, though.

*update 2 (10/29/09): This seems obvious, but I completely didn't think of it until I went back to the script's home page, but there are a couple of limitations that the guy is supposedly working on.  The main one is that it's possible that the script won't be able to actually tell you who it is if that person has removed themselves from the Facebook search function (so basically, the only people who can find them in a search are friends).  Because it compares your old friends list to your new one and then sees who's missing, the script won't be able to find the old friend's profile page any more (because you're not friends anymore, duh!)  Supposedly, he's been working on that, but it's still happening to me, getting the "cannot find profile data".  Something else to keep an eye on.

*update 3 (1/4/10): Now this doesn't seem to be working at all.  I'm trying a few experiments to see why that might be the case.  Going to the script site, it doesn't sound like this is a universal problem, so it may still work for you.  Give it a try and see.  I'll update again once I have it working again.

*update 4 (1/4/10): Just went to the page (should have done that to begin with), and evidently the Facebook changes in early November broke the script, but it's now been fixed.  If you installed it before then, you might want to reinstall it.  If you installed it after then, it should work fine for you.  My experiment hasn't completed yet, but now that I know it was broken in November, which is when I started having problems, I assume that it will work fine now that I've reinstalled.  Will let you know.

*update 5 (1/4/10):  Seems to be working fine now that I've reinstalled.  I'll keep you updated if it goes wonky again.

*update 6 (2/2/10):  It works!  Just had my first "friend" fall of my of my friends list since the last update (I'm popular that way).  Sure enough, an hour or so later, up pops the notification of who it was.  Excellent work.

*Update 7 (2/15/10): It appears that the new Facebook broke it again. However, for those technically inclined, you can follow the directions on this page to change the script so that it works. I'm going to try it out and let you know whether it worked for me.

*Update 8 (2/16/10): Just experimented with a friend, and the changes that are on that link worked! The change is easy to make, but if you want to wait until the script designer actually implements the change, I would imagine he will post there when he's back and has done it. Keep an eye out.

*Update 9 (1/15/11): Should have posted this sooner, but this script will no longer tell you if somebody has ignored your friend request. That's sad, but understandable. It still works wonders otherwise, though! And, the family member who prompted this post, she finally did accept a friend request. Yay, me!!!!


  1. I just found out that one of my cousins not only dropped me, but actually BLOCKED me. I have no idea what on earth I did to upset her enough to block me, but you can be sure I'm done being nice to her at Thanksgiving.

  2. LOL Yes, Facebook can destroy families. :)

    It's very strange that she would actually *block* you too. I mean, de-friending can sometimes just be a glitch (I was de-friended by a couple of high school classmates...I sent another request and they accepted with no problem), but to block too?

    That's cold.

  3. I think you told me who the family member was you are talking about. I've talked to some people about adding them to my list & they say they just don't have time to get on facebook. That may be why she didn't want to be added to your list. She works & has a family. I'm sure you didn't do anything to her.

  4. Hell hath no fury like a fb junkie scorned =) ha!

  5. Yeah... the odd thing is, I think she "friended" me first when I first joined and actually chatted with me a couple of times. Then one day, she dropped off my friends list. I found out last week while looking on my husband's Facebook page that she had blocked me. I was pretty offended. At this point, though, I figure it's her problem, not mine.

  6. You got that right, Marieke. I shall not take this standing down!!!! Um, I mean up. Yeah, that's the ticket.

    And Mom, it's not a time issue, I'm sure. There are many reasons to turn down friend requests: maybe you want to limit your Facebook activities to people in your daily life (which, of course, doesn't include any of us)? Maybe you checked out the person who made the request's profile and you found a bunch of stuff that you don't want cluttering your news feed? Or possibly many other reasons.

    But if you have time to be on Facebook at all, then you don't turn down a friend request because you don't have time.

    I just find it funny. That's all. I especially find it funny that she's on Scott's friend list.

    And I'm happy because it inspired another blog post, and I am always looking for inspiration for that. Heaven knows I need it some days.

  7. That's the right attitude to take, knotheadusc (I feel weird calling you "knothead" LOL). It's their problem, not yours. And that's the attitude I'm taking too.

    Maybe I'll do a blog post one day on the many reasons we turn down friend requests or de-friend somebody once you've accepted them.

    One day. LOL

  8. I was recently de-friended (although I use the term UN-friended. Has a more Orwell's 1984 ring to it) by a cousin. I wanna believe it's a glitch. Another cousin also was Unfriended and she too was puzzled. She and I friended him very close to the same time. Perhaps on the same day, but I'm not sure. It's been a few months back...and I'm not sure how long ago he unfriended us. But being unfriended certainly brings out the insecurities. We've always been friendly/talkative at family gatherings although I don't see him much as he lives in another state. My Aunt (his mom) calls me once a month. I keep wondering what might have made him unfriend me. I do tend to maybe clog up the newsfeed with a burst of silly quizes or status update. But not overly so. I don't do any inviting to farmtown or that nonsense...I actually try not to bug people. I don't even use the Instant Message. So I think it's a glitch but I'm just insecure enough to be afraid that I might be wrong. My worst fear is that it IS a glitch and he thinks I unfriended HIM!

  9. Nothing wrong with sending him a quick message mentioning it and saying that you hope it's a glitch. I've done that with a couple of old classmates who unfriended me, and they quickly added me back.

    Actually, I did it by sending them another friend request and including a message with the request talking about a possible glitch. I then said "if it turns out you did to it intentionally, then feel free to ignore this request and I wish you the best of luck in the future" or something like that.

    Obviously, for a cousin you would have to modify that. :)

    Hope it works out for you!

  10. This is an awesome hint! However, it presupposes I give a rats arse if someone doesn't have the manners to let me know. I don't! LOL my theory on it is...don't like me, leave...and don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya! HAAHAHAH!! Now that I have said that, *clings to Dave* NEVER LEAVE ME NEVER EVER NEVER EVER EVER!! I am your NUMBER ONE FAN!!!!!! *cackles* sorry, stevie king momnet =)

  11. LOL note that I'm not complaining about how clingy you are. :P

    I've said it before (maybe it's not clear enough in the post above): I don't really *care* that much, but it is nice to know so that you don't go and send them another friend request.

    Like I said, there was one person I kept on forgetting whether I had sent her one, and she ended up getting 4 or 5 before I realized that I *had* sent them. They were just ignored.

    And somebody must care, if people keep on finding that page. LOL

  12. Thanks Dave, I'm not concerned about who unfriends me on Facebook just as i don't worry about who drops me on twitter. I enjoy the people that are my friends regardless of how long they stay.

    Looks like a great tool for those who are curious!



  13. Hmm wasn't aware there was such a thing, but this does violate FB privacy. I'm sure if FB were made aware of it, they would try to put a stop to this. Sure I wonder when my numbers drop who it could have been, but I wouldn't add this just to find out. Most of the time I figure it out myself anyway. Don't you think this causes more "harm" than good though?

  14. I just see it as more efficient than me manually keeping a list and checking it periodically. FB has stopped a bunch of things (like the iPhone app that would have done this), and they haven't bothered with this.

    I don't think it causes any harm, though, personally. I want it just for information's sake, so I don't keep on bothering the same people with Friend Requests because I forgot that I had sent them one.

  15. I too have been unfriended and wondered who it was that I had lost. But I can't justify adding a program from a third party to keep track for me. It may be perfectly safe, but with my luck, it'll crash my computer. Anyway, another way of keeping track of your friend list is to periodically take a screenshot of each page. It's a little more work, but doesn't require any extra software.

  16. Thanks for the comment! I fully appreciate the fear of new programs or tech making your browser go wonky. I can definitely say that Greasemonkey, and the Facebook Friends Checker script, has never crashed my computer. But I have had other add-ons do it, so I understand the fear.

    The good thing is that these things usually can be taken out really easily, so if you install it and your browser does funny things, just get rid of it. I've had to do that with a couple of things that I really wanted, but yet didn't seem to like my browser.

    I'm glad you stopped by, and I hope you keep reading!


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