Facebook says that the average journalist using its Subscribe feature has seen a "320 percent increase in subscribers since November 2011," but a certain level of noise should always be assumed whenever someone can connect just by pushing a button. Journalist Jim Romenesko, for one, is dubious that his over 15,000 subscribers are really there for his writing, especially since many of them come from obscure parts of developing countries and don't seem to have any interest in US media.
To test his theory, he put a request on his wall for subscribers outside the US to let him know why they were following him. Of his thousands of subscribers, only 20 replied, and fellow writer Nisha Chittal's post on his wall was followed by a spammy "hiii nisha.. hw ru u" from a random subscriber. Of course, nobody who's spent much time on social networks is really surprised by posts or friend requests from complete strangers. But Romenesko says the presence of "Presiden Jeprie'ScreamoloveTodeath Blackmonster'attackRawksylend Eventhough'shewasnot-inourside" and his compatriots on journalists' subscription lists proves Facebook's numbers "bogus." Facebook has a history of being strict about who can join its network, but for now, it may have some housecleaning to do.