Facebook wants to claim that all relationships on Facebook are bidirectional friendships… In reality, what you're seeing is simply the semi-accidental "follow-only" model that Facebook enables through a chain of circumstance:
- You request friendship
- The recipient ignores or hides your request, instead of refusing/blocking it
Okay, it's a two-link chain, but the third "result" link is that you will then see all their updates, and they will see none of yours.
The idea is, it's a "soft landing rejection" – it's not so bad if you can see my updates (even if you can't comment on them)… Since more FB users are very passive anyway, many of them won't even notice this issue. And if you ever ask me about it, I can say it got lost in the mess, and add you reluctantly later.
Overall, the idea is that it's harder on both of you if you need to face up to the fact that you're not really friends… But it's definitely more of a benefit for the person ignoring you, isn't it? Just another reflection of the wobbly moral-ethical DNA of the company, if you ask me… But honestly, I don't really mind – I have enough people I interact with, and sometimes just knowing someone is alive and posting (and now, reachable via email at email@example.com) is enough for me.
Oh yeah, and of course, they're the ones missing out on all my great posts, so who gets the short end of the stick is totally debatable.