You can keep your friends. Facebook and Burger King stop the Whopper Sacrifice madness

You'll have to buy a Whopper the old-fashioned way now, at least until the next gimmick comes along. Burger King and Facebook have shut down the Whopper Sacrifice campaign as of Wednesday, January 15, which invited Facebook users to drop 10 of their friends to get a free Whopper. Facebook claimed "privacy" issues, but since more than 200,000 friends were dropped, you've got to think that had something to do with it.

The campaign spread virally, (we wrote about recently), and turned out not to be as cruel as it sounds. Often, people on Facebook will link to another Facebook user who they barely know and later wonder, "Why am I linked up to this guy, and why do I care that he's about to walk his dog? I don't even know him."

And so if you were dropping those friends, it's maybe even a convenience.
But with Facebook, when you unfriend a friend--as in, you're no longer hooked up to their Facebook page--there is no email sent to the person being dumped. They may later learn that they've been unfriended, but chances are, unless this is a case of a romance gone awry where two people know exactly what's going on with each other, you were probably never great friends to begin with, and they won't ever notice that they've been unfriended.

However, in Burger King's Whopper Sacrifice campaign, every time you sacrificed a friend for a Whopper, that friend was sent an email, letting them fully understand that they had been dumped in the quest to get a free sandwich. Apparently, the Facebook folks rethought that and asked Burger King to stop sending their snarky emails.

Burger King mulled it over and decided to drop the campaign. But what a campaign: 233,906 friends were uncermoniously dropped for a Whopper. As was mentioned in various blogs, if you were one of those were dropped, you were dropped for 1/10 the value of a Whopper, about 24 cents.

Meanwhile, Burger King has or will be giving away 23,290 Whoppers, with six remaining friend left over in the equation who were apparently dropped for nothing at all.

Oh, the injustice of it all.

Geoff Williams is a freelance journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).
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