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Puckishly Conquering a Facebook Pinnacle

The long-anticipated moment arrived early yesterday: Ted Leonsis added his 5,001st "friend" on Facebook.

"And it didn't blow up," he said. "The world didn't end."

Who better than the gregarious AOL exec and Caps owner to push the surly bonds of Facebook's legendary 5,000-friend limit? Local bloggers, including our Post I.T. colleague Kim Hart, watched as Leonsis drew ever closer to the point where he'd presumably no longer be able to form any more connections on the social networking site.

And then he hit 5,000 and ... nothing. Leonsis was surprised to find his number up to 5,002 by last night.

What happened? A year ago, billionaire Mark Cuban blogged that he had reached, and failed to breach, the 5K ceiling (he has since scaled back to 3,500-plus), triggering a debate about whether the automated limit is necessary. But Facebook denied reports in the spring that the company was about to lift it. Has that changed? Facebook reps did not return our calls or e-mails yesterday.

In the meantime, Leonsis is setting his own limits, accepting "friend requests" only from people with whom he has at least 10 friends in common. He told us he's "getting a little burned out" by e-mail from all those new so-called friends, most of whom "are asking for things."

** An update to this story appeared in the newspaper Mon., Dec 8, and online here.**


By The Reliable Source  |  December 5, 2008; 1:05 AM ET
 
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