The app was released last month by Dean Terry, director of the emerging-media program at the University of Texas at Dallas, and was built by graduate student Bradley Griffith with the assistance Harrison Massey. Users are able to use the free app to make “enemies” out of subjects or current “friends.” But, rather than only creating enemies, Terry predicts that the app will bring people closer through their shared (virtual) hatred.
“People are also connected and motivated by things they dislike,” Terry told ABC News. “People create alliances, have conversations, and friendships are stressed and stretched because of it.”
Rick Santorum currently leads the list of “Top Enemies,” a few spots ahead of other hated topics such as Racism, Fake Tans and Internet Explorer. Justin Bieber is currently at the top of the “Trending Enemies” list. According to Terry, 10,000 users have already signed up for the Facebook app.
Even the smallest items can fall victim to users’ ire. During the app’s testing phase Q-tips were briefly singled out as a high-ranking enemy.
“We are misusing the word enemy the same way Facebook is misusing the word friend. It’s not really about individuals or actual enemies. Anything can be a so-called ‘enemy’ — movies, music, politicians, even food or colors,” Terry said in an e-mail interview.
The app wasn’t designed to start arguments, but rather to offer an option to the ever-present “Like” button on Facebook.
“Relationships always include differences, and often these differences are a critical part of the fabric of a friendship” Terry writes on his website. “In the country club atmosphere of Facebook and its platform such differences are ignored.”
If you use the app you will find that if a friend has made an “enemy” out of your favorite band, a box labeled “Social Dissonance” will pop and alert you. What you plan on doing with that “friend” in person remains up to you.
While Facebook has been caught up in cyber-bullying cases, the EnemyGraph has a few fail-safes in place to keep it from being used as a bullying tool. According to the website, no one can be listed as an “enemy” unless you are friends with that person, have the app or the “enemy” is a public figure. In addition, Terry and his team say they are constantly monitoring the app to make sure it is not being abused. Facebook did not respond to ABC News’ request for comment on the new app.
Terry admitted to The Chronicle of Higher Education that the app might cause a few clashes that he hopes will “encourage people to confront their negative relations to each other head-on as a sort of conversation.”
The team is starting the conversation by using a quote from Paul Newman located in their “Add Enemies” box. It reads, “If you don’t have enemies, you don’t have character.”