Banned: What Happens When Facebook Doesn’t Like You [Feature]

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facebook logox1   Banned: What Happens When Facebook Doesnt Like You [Feature]When I interviewed Mark S. Zuckerberg, I immediately thought that he was a charming, polite guy. When he talked, he did so with a typically Midwestern drawl. He has raised a large family and has a massively successful bankruptcy law practice in Indianapolis, and is widely regarded as an expert in his field. Searching YouTube with the query ‘Mark Zuckerberg Indiana’ brings up countless media interviews and appearances.

He also has no connection to the Facebook founder, other than his name and his Jewish heritage.

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“I used to speak across the country, and people would say my name and know who I was, and now I’ve lost my entire identity”.

Since the rise of Facebook, and the thrusting of the founder into the public eye, Mark S. Zuckerberg has found him being confused for his socially awkward, sweatshirt donning namesake on a daily basis. He cringes whenever he hears the all-too-familiar phrase ‘are you that guy’?

“Whenever I call my credit card company and they ask for my name, they hang up because they think I’m playing a prank… I was taking a flight and I went through security, and I had to show them my ID and the guy looks at me and says ‘Oh my God!’, he goes ‘Are you him?’, and I’m like ‘Do you think I’d be flying Southwest Airlines if I was him?'”

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Mark S. Zuckerberg has completely lost his identity. Tragically, for someone who has built a career upon honesty and integrity, he has seen his last name being turned into a pejorative that describes especially underhanded behaviour, ‘Zuckerberging’.

Mark Zuckerberg Couldn’t Get A Facebook Account

For Mark, getting a Facebook account was by no means a trivial task. On the basis of him sharing a name with the founder, he had to send off copies of his birth certificate, driver’s license and even his Indiana bar association certificate just to even open an account. The process dragged on so long and was so tedious, he even had to go as far as to threaten legal action.

He thought that he was done. He’d jumped through all the hoops, and now was the proud owner of a Facebook account.

The summer of 2011, Mark Zuckerberg found his Facebook account deactivated with no explanation. He’d been banned on Facebook.

Usually, I’ll come into work and I’ll log onto my computer and I’ll open my Email account and it always tells me how many messages you have. And if you get a message on Facebook, it sends it to your regular email account. Usually I have four or five hundred messages from people thinking I’m the other guy. I only had a couple of messages that day and I thought ‘gee, that’s kinda odd. There’s nothing from Facebook today.’

I tried to log into my Facebook account, and it was deactivated because it said I was an imposter.”

Mark, however, had a trick up his sleeve. He happened to share an office building with a major local paper, the Indianapolis Star.

I said to one of the reporters ‘Hey do you want to hear a funny story?’, and he wrote an article about it. And soon enough, every single news station in the city was outside my office. Then it went on all the national news websites, and then it went international. And then I was being interviewed all around the country. After three days, they reinstated my account with an apology”.

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I asked Mark if he felt isolated and disconnected in those three days he was banned from Facebook.

“I think I’ve only really posted about three things the entire time I’ve been on Facebook. I only really use it to keep track of my kids.”

An All Too Familiar Tale

Fortunately for Mark, his usage of Facebook was so confined to surveiling his children that the impact of being banned on Facebook was limited. That said, his story isn’t unusual. Every year, ordinary people find that their social media presence completely excised.

The role of social networking and social media in our society is so significant that being exiled from it is sort of like when Romeo was banished to Mantua. Users who have been banned have to endure being isolated from significant events in the lives of their loved ones. They miss out on baby photos. They miss out on being invited to birthdays, christenings and bar mitzvah’s. They don’t get invited to parties, and they miss out on watching their nieces and nephews growing up.

Quite frequently, banned Facebook users don’t realize why they’ve had their accounts deactivated. Facebook is particularly infamous for not being forthright with the reasoning behind why they deactivate accounts besides vague statements about policies and terms being breached.

When researching this story, I spoke to people who had the sheer misfortune to find themselves on the wrong side of Facebook. They told me of the feelings of isolation they felt when they found their accounts deactivated. They told me of what it felt like to suddenly become undesirable in the eyes of this social networking behemoth, and find themselves losing old friends. They told me what it’s like to be helpless, and to not be able to rectify their situation.

“After the dust settled, I realised that I wasn’t comfortable with using a service where this could happen”

Dan is an Oxonian in an ‘open, V-shaped, non-monogamous relationship’, who enjoys playing board games and lives in a house called Isis (but he calls it Earth) which has its own web page.

For his day job, he writes code that manages the administration of charities and maintains the websites of the Bodlean Library at Oxford University. He is a trustee of an LGBT helpline charity, where he is also a listener.

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He also has a rather unusual last name. So unusual, that only two people in the world share it; Himself and his ex-partner (although, by his own admission she is considering changing it by deed poll to “Quantum”).

That last name is a single letter. Q.

“We’d talked about changing our name for years without coming up with a name for ‘us’, because we were both quite indecisive. Eventually, I suggested that we consider a single letter surname, because that cuts down the choices to just 26. Then we went through the alphabet and did it”.

Facebook Didn’t Like My Surname

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Dan sent us the image above in a smaller size, having posted it on his website claiming this is what he saw on Facebook when he was banned. The visible BR tags make the image seem less than authentic, but this is what Dan says he saw.

Around November 2011, four years after changing his surname by deed poll, he found that his Facebook account had been disabled.

“I’d never had any trouble with my unusual name on Facebook. My ex- and I both updated our Facebook profiles on the day that we wrote out our deeds poll. Hers went through faster, and I wrote an email to Facebook to ask them to hurry up and process it faster.

Then, four and a half years later, I found that I couldn’t log in any more. A check from a friend’s account showed that I was still visible as “active” on Facebook, but messages sent to me disappeared into a black hole (the sender was led to believe that I was still “there”).

The worst bit for me was that Facebook were now, without warning, “pretending” to be me. “

A Slow And Painful Process

Facebook are not particularly renowned for their transparency when it comes to enforcing perceived infractions of their terms of service. People who find themselves on the wrong side of the administrators often find themselves wondering why they’re unable to connect with their friends and family.

This is something which Dan learned of first hand.

“Facebook’s process was opaque and confusing, and it seemed as if their own staff didn’t know what their policies were or how to enforce them. And man, were they SLOW! If you’re gonna go around banning accounts, don’t do it at a faster rate than you can reactivate them if it turns out that you made a mistake!

It took several weeks to regain access to my account, navigating the maze of (different each time I tried to log in, it seems) forms. I uploaded a scan of my driving license, and then later my passport, and each time I received a useless email back from Facebook staff. Eventually, after much harassment, they re-enabled my account. I got a half-hearted apology, but I’d rather they’d have just, you know, contacted me to ask me to prove my identity FIRST, with a deadline before they deactivated my account, rather than the other way around!”

A Social Black Hole

Dan’s forced exile from Facebook caused significant personal hardship, and resulted in him being excluded from social activities and from the significant events in his friends’ life.

“To have a profile on there that I can’t USE was worse than having no profile at all! Because people assumed that I was there. I remember that – after it was all over – I discovered that I’d missed an invitation to a party because a friend had sent me a Facebook Event invitation… which I’d never received. If Facebook had simply told my friend that I wouldn’t get the message, that would have done, but their “black hole” was in full effect. It was frustrating and alarming to feel that one company on the other side of the world had such power over my social life.”

I asked Dan if his being banned on Facebook had any implications for his professional life.

“As a software developer, I’ve often needed to have a Facebook account in order to test integration features on websites I’ve made… I just made a Facebook account with no friends and not under my real name.”

Facebook Is A Walled Garden

I asked Dan if he thinks people are too dependent on Facebook.

“Some people, certainly, seem a little dependent on Facebook to socialise, but I think I’m pretty lucky in that my friends aren’t too bad for it. When I closed my account for good, I had just 103 “friends”, which I gather is quite a small number. I sometimes hear people at work wittering on about Facebook, but based on the conversations, I’m pretty sure I’m not missing anything (and they all take care to show me pictures of all of their cats doing cute things regardless).”

When speaking to Dan, you can gather that he’s lost a lot of the affection he at one point held for Facebook.

“I’ve never really liked walled-garden social media: it goes against the spirit of the web. I still miss the convenience of being able to pounce people on Facebook Chat during the workday. I’m still on virtually all of the other IM networks most of the damn time, but some folks only do IM via Facebook Chat”.

“I don’t trust Facebook Anymore”

Amber (Not her real name) is a 30-something from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She has spent the past five years working in social media consultancy for large international organizations and agencies, helping clients create, manage and understand their social media presence.

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She is a self-professed geek, cat owner and roller derby obsessive and has spent the past 15 years or so curating friendships and relationships through the Internet. Many of these friendships are especially far-flung ones, with people living as far afield as North America, South-East Asia and Europe.

Amber joined Facebook in 2007 when the site was still very much in its infancy. Upon becoming a member, she found that it was a nice, centralized repository for all of her friendships where everyone was easily reachable.

She also spent a significant amount of time playing Facebook games where she accumulated points and high scores.

“As an early adopter not a lot of my friends were on Facebook to start with. It was really easy to connect with folks you didn’t know and meet you people. I developed a couple of really good friends out of that. I also used to play a lot of games, the dating sort of ones like ‘OWNED’ and also things like Fluff friends and a lot of things that came before the Farmville era. Some of these games I built up a 2 year history on – things like Owned I had millions of ‘dollars’ (not real money, virtual Owned currency). I’d had spent small amounts in credits on some other apps, nothing major, I wanted to support the app developers and also to have more fun. Over time I did add more RL (real life) friends and came to rely on it as a way to communicate with them.”

In late 2009, Amber tried to log on to her Facebook account. Upon doing so, she discovered that it had been suspended and she was unable to access her account. To this day, she still doesn’t know why.

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“Facebook weren’t forthcoming with that information – other than to feed me a stock answer about ‘gaming the system’ they would not enter into correspondence with me about this or provide a reason to my specific case and nor would they reinstate the account. I was locked out of the account with no prior warning or information to rectify the situation.”

With her account disabled and with no way of restoring it, she found herself disconnected from her friends and family.

Getting banned from facebook almost cost me my job

The decision to deactivate her Facebook account had serious implications for her professional life too. As someone who has built a career in social media, having her Facebook account arbitrarily and summarily deleted was nothing short of catastrophic. I asked Amber about the impact being banned from Facebook had on her professional career.

“It had a massive impact. I was contracting at the time with a massive global company who I had set up their first pilot page on Facebook. Nobody else could access that page. It had to be abandoned. That risked both my reputation and that of the organization. In addition to that I was admin of many other pages from my previous job (the business unfortunately closed down) – as most of those already had alternate admins and I was in the process of handing them over fully, they disappeared for a while but apparently Facebook had the good sense to reinstate them.”

I just created a new account.

When talking to Amber, you get a palpable understanding of the impact of being excluded from the world’s biggest social networking site.

The decision of Facebook to deactivate Amber’s account didn’t stop her from rejoining Facebook. Shortly after discovering that her account had been deactivated, she simply opened a new account. Trying to reason with Facebook’s staff was fruitless, and she had reached the end of her patience.

“I just created a new account. It’s fairly easy, really. Many people can have the same name and one person can use alternative IP addresses, so the only unique identifier that Facebook is able to use is your email address (and then, of course, your vanity URL/username). Email addresses aren’t hard to come by, so I used an alternative one for a new account.”

One thing that is immediately apparent when talking to her is the depth of her distrust for Facebook. Despite reactivating an account under a pseudonym, she no longer obsessively plays Facebook games like she used to and she no longer purchases virtual currency.

“Facebook lost its lustre at that point. The reason I’ve never played games again is because I’d built up so much virtual cache that I was totally disheartened… It wasn’t worth it. It just wasn’t worth it. I had in-game and real life friends so many levels beyond me that I’d never catch up and be able to play with them any more”.

“In total, I’ve been on Facebook about 5.5 years – about 3.5 in my current incarnation. So, this Timeline style they released last year isn’t a true reflection of my entire Facebook existence. I don’t add any milestones because I can’t be bothered if it can just be deleted on their whim. I don’t add anything that I might want to save for posterity unless it’s safely saved elsewhere.”

I asked Amber if she was ever able to access her original account. “I never did”, she said. I then asked her if she feels upset about what happened, and how she feels about Facebook in the years since, she had this to say.

“If you’re not paying for something, you are the product. You pay for your phone and the service, but you don’t pay for Facebook. I lost a lot of longtime old friends. There were some folks I had been in touch with online for ten years, but our old forums sort of died out with the advent of Facebook, so we migrated to being friends there. When I lost the old account, I lost friends. I wish I could find them again, but I’ve found that impossible with no other existing connection to them. I think of them often.”

An Error In The System

In some respects, you can understand why Facebook often makes such massive errors. It has a user base of over five hundred million and only five thousand employees. It’s the single largest social networking site in the world. Its biggest rival, Twitter, has only a quarter of a billion users.

As a result, you can almost understand why they make mistakes. It must be hard policing a community of half a billion. You can almost forgive their tendency to shoot first and ask questions later.

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With that said, though, there is some serious room for improvement when it comes to how Facebook handles suspected perceived breaches of their terms of service.

When speaking to Mark and Dan, I noticed that Facebook were prepared to suspend their account despite having personally spoken to representatives of Facebook and provided them with information pertaining to their true identity.

As a result of having gone to such efforts, they really should never have been in the position of having their Facebook account deleted.

It’s also completely unacceptable that Dan and Amber have yet to get their Facebook accounts reactivated, and Mark was only able to get his account reinstated after speaking to the media. Indeed, Mark was only able to speak to the media as a result of his story being particularly unusual on the basis of sharing his first and last names with one of the world’s youngest billionaires.

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One also questions the effectiveness of Facebook’s ability to block suspected fraudulent users. In spite of having their accounts deleted, both Dan and Amber were able to open new ones with minimal fuss.

Mark and Dan were told that their accounts were suspended for suspected false identities. In the case of Mark, it was as a result of sharing a name with the founder of Facebook, and in the case of Dan, his account was suspended on the basis of having a last name that is shared with only one other person.

However, Amber still has no idea why her account was removed. If Facebook is prepared to enforce its terms of service, it should be prepared to inform people with no ambiguity of their suspected offence.

Dire Consequences For An Administrative Error

The one thing that stuck out for me when speaking to Amber was how catastrophic being removed from Facebook could be.

Her suspension almost derailed a social media campaign for a large, multinational company. It resulted in her losing some of her oldest friends. It resulted in a loss of trust in an institution which almost all of us use to handle our social interactions.

If an administrative error on a website can result in someone losing old friends and potentially losing their professional reputation, we should be questioning the role that Facebook has in our lives, and if we’re too dependent on it.

We reached out to Facebook and asked them to comment on this story. When asked how they identify breaches of their terms of service, they said

“People report content or accounts to Facebook via the reporting links you can find on every page of Facebook. After you submit a report, Facebook will investigate the issue and determine whether or not the content should be removed based on Facebook’s policies”.

They also said that their policies for dealing with people who breach their TOS depend on the particular rule broken.

“If a content violates our policies then we will remove it. For example if a photo breaks our nudity guidelines we would remove it and let the person who posted it know. If someone is using Facebook under a false identity then we remove the profile.”

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62 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Matthew Hughes

I’m a writer, originally from Liverpool, with the same name as the author of this. If Mark Z (the bilionaire version), takes offence at what’s written here, am I liable to find that my admittedly minimal social media presence will suddenly go to zip?

munkyBeatz

Mark Z could care less about this ‘whistle-blower’ article than I can.

Johnathan Martin

Why Do i not believe that your name is the same as the author and you live in the same place but you are different people.

Reply

Reuben Walker

In regards to the screenshot with the tags, when I properly deleted my facebook account, Facebook sent me an email that was full of them.

GodSponge

Same here.

BobC

Au Contraire – do you believe Facebook really deleted your account? Deactivated, yes, but deleted it? No. I tried to get them to delete my account and they always tell me to “Deactivate it” and that will do the trick. Of course, you can reactivate it and , voila, it is “restored”! When I tried to get it totally deleted, nada!

BTW, I am glad this site does not require you to “log on” to your Facebook (or twitter, discus, ad nauseum) to send a reply.

null

Au Contraire yourself.

https://www.facebook.com/help/delete_account?rdrhc

I’ve used it twice. Someone who actually works at Facebook may be able to tell me if there actually is anything left, but using any and all legal means, there is no way of seeing any trace of either of my two previous facebook accounts.

The only thing left is the fact that I can’t get the custom urls back.

epiquestions

if you deactivate your account and not reactivate it in 14days it will forever be deleted

Johnathan Martin

I waited 2 years and my facebook account could be restored.

Muz RC

i think you just deactived it.. not delete, my delete facebook acc cannot access after i choose to delete it…

Reply

dragonmouth

Maybe what is needed is a massive, multimillion dollar lawsuit that will hit Facebook right between the eyes.

It seems to me that Facebook has become a cult and, like in a cult, as far as its members are concerned, the cult leadership can do no wrong. It also looks like Zuckerberg’s (billionaire) position has gone to his head, as in Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Elbee

Would love to see a “Waco” type response to this cult, wouldn’t you? Oh, well . . . never gonna happen. Unlike Koresh, Mr. Billionaire Z has money and connections.

soulburnz

Speaking of the CULT issue – It’s very interesting that a current show on regular network TV – “The Following” involves a cult on the show uses the internet and possibly a social network like FaceBook to communicate with it’s followers. He is also a maximum security prisoner at times. May be truer to “real life” than we are allowed to know !

Hisham Sliman

Reply

Bad Robot

Nice feature.

Reply

sachin goral

Didn’t knew many interesting facebook facts. Thanks for this roundup Matthew

Reply

Elbee

Remember the recent quip, “I have 500 FB “friends”. I had to call a cab to take me to the airport.” Some “friends”, huh? This article just kept hitting me between the eyes with that little joke.

Ya know, if it’s so darn important that your “friends” remember to invite you to parties and such — I mean, if they’re that close to you that they’re actually FTF friends who have a tendency to invite you to *physical* real-life functions — why don’t you just *use email*?!!! You DO have those folks email addresses, right?!

Here’s how, since people have seemingly forgotten:

“Oh, oh. FB has banned me. Let’s see, I have ___ # of REAL LIFE friends. They invite me to parties, christenings, bar mitzvahs and such. I sure don’t want to miss any of the fun! So, I’ll email those people and let them know I’ve been banned, FB is masquerading as me, and that their emails are actually going into a black hole rather than arriving at their destination (me).”

Problem solved.

Here’s another solution: don’t get hooked on FB in the first place. If you’ve got REAL friends (its assumed your family is real), maintain contact some other way. Use FB for those folks who wouldn’t take you to the airport on a bet. Though for the life of me, why you’d want to I just can’t understand.

But then, why would I and what do I know? I was born when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. Ah, I remember my first pet stegosaurus . . .

null

That’s what I thought as well, especially with the second person interviewed saying she lost friends. Like, why didn’t she just re-invite them after opening her second account?

Reply

Peter

I destroyed my Facebook account upward of 3 years ago, using the then unambiguous ‘nuke’ option, rather than Facebook’s more publicised one. I did it because of their half arsed security and because, effectively, the material that users put on their system is no longer theirs. My account was not registered in my name, because I have an obsessive follower; I used Facebook to track down friends and colleagues from the past.

As I didn’t become fully accustomed to the site I didn’t develop any dependency on them but, in addition to my above stated reasons, I’ve read with interest the tendency of both UK and US companies to insist on having the passwords to job applicants’ accounts (something that is changing with legal developments), the tendency of employers, snooping journalists, the politically correct, the police […] to include such sites in their searches on people, and it all adds up to one thing; do not put anything on these sites that you wish to remain private, because the only person who can control their privacy to any extent is the owner of information they want to keep private.

With the advent of Windows in particular, ‘sharing’ became a tendency that grew. MS assumed that everyone would want to share their files, and their OS was wide open. Earlier, and slowly, sharing had become wedded to the caring-sharing Californian style therapies and lifestyles perhaps best ridiculed by Douglas Adams in ‘The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, with robots instructing their victims to ‘share and enjoy’, thus neatly encapsulating all that is bad in restaurants, waiters, the therapies and a host of other silly things, predicated in modern political thought and contemporary views of how life ‘should’ be. Such was the contemporary culture of sharing into which modern computing was born, giving rise to a need for tuition in network bondage (of a non sexual kind). (Hmm, I think I might start using these lines on one of my websites!)

If I ever open a Facebook account again it will be under a nom de plume, it will be short lived, and it will merely be so that I can see how many people have caught up with the digital age, of which there are many, and how many of my friends from the past are employing the same philosophy as me.

Don’t ever rely on these things, protect your personal data.

John Doe

I have a 5 year old facebook account. I login about every 6+ months but I haven’t in the last year. I don’t remember the password. But I don’t care since nothing on it is “real” anyway. It was just an account to see what facebook is/was.

Reply

Mr. AntiSocial

Damn, After Reading this post, I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t even checked to see if my facebook account was deleted. Logged in and checked and it doesn’t go through! Thank GOD! I just hope it has been deleted and not deactivated! Well besides all the bickering, the people have to remember that they have to Read the Privacy Policy, etc. of any site these days BEFORE taking the plunge!

When a site says whatever data you post belongs to them, I defo think you ought to think twice! The whole Bait and Switch is a real 8!t(# !!! I mean I am sure many people on Fakebook will not know that all msgs, IMs and IP logs are kept with them. Along with a very shady Facial Recognition Data! I mean WTF, People are just openly giving their data to be used for a 100% sure future mishap!

All this Privacy Humping by the Biggies of the WWW and the Real World govs kinda seems like there’s some tinfoil hat level Conspiracy going on Right in Front of our eyes and we’re just giving in either being mind F%#$3* with social engineering or some other hidden tactics. Otherwise, I don’t understand HOW can so many people so openly give up what they probably should not!

It’s not like there weren’t other methods for communication or other sites like this. And Why None of this is Questioned and Goes on is quite a Mystery! Very Few Countries maybe one or two and a few Groups against these Giants fighting their evil ways! Seems like a very flea against Goliath kinda contest! Guess the fleas gotta start biting where it hurts! And well if the people don’t support they DESERVE their fate!

Another Point to note is how come Groups like A^o^ymous and other groups can be considered criminals even with good things done sometimes, but people who do the same stuff openly and much more worse, can earn billions by being called Innovators, etc all in the BS name of Marketing and Targetting ads! I don’t think browser tracking to the extent of overriding so called brower security settings to gain a person’s data is warranted by ANYONE! The sooner people realize this, hopefully the sooner things will change for the BETTER before it’s too late!

In fact, I ALREADY THINK IT’S TOO Freakin’ LATE!!! Herd mentality is a tough thing to beat especially given the wicked sheherds are using their flock as guinea pigs! Wake UP or Die with your eyes open! Yeah 1000 friends on FB & 0 friends in the Real World deserves Congrats and Applause! Here’s your cookie! Want Milk? Err. Go down to your store to get some! Peace Out!

Reply

Douglas Mutay

Very interesting. As for me I have decided to not let fb play a huge part of my social life. I have closed it for a few months and only opened it a few weeks ago. I am trying as much as possible not to let fb a mandatory line in my life!
Thanks for this great article!

Reply

rshewmaker

It (the title) sounds dreamy. Where do I sign up? What’s that? Press this little blue ‘F’ icon with a strategically placed finger? Nooooo!

Reply

NoEqual

They don’t remove pass-off accounts.

I’ve had an irrelevant account create a page under my pseudonym and they still refuse to give a memorandum, or even a notice to those acting the infraction illegitimately.

It’s all about money for these people who fancy themselves a ‘lord chancellor’ of the internet.

Blatant disregard on part of the “Occupy” pages proclaiming they are the “official” page, which goes directly against their terms of services and agreement of use. Yeah, some people read them.

It seems to me that “Face Book” is a divided corporation, into secular markets, ” this market has X amount of control in Y ” .

Legally, the Temple Bar runs all corporations of America, considering America is just a British Plantation.

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Linda R

This certainly made me rethink the importance of social media in my own personal life. I have a large family with 6 children 17 grandchildren, aunts, uncles, father,sisters, brother etc. They are all on Facebook and my photo sharing is primarily done with my Facebook account. I am now trying to decide whether or not to resurrect my FB page I used as an advocate for people with Multiple Sclerosis. I took a break for a few months but I maybe I should leave it alone.

Elbee

Yeah . . . I’m your age. I don’t have ANY social network memberships. I use email, which is insecure enough, thank you very much. I suggest you use email, too and leave the g.d. FB alone.

Reply

Shmuel Mendelsohn

Facebook is a convenient way for me to keep up with my children, children-in-law and grandchildren, but I can do the same thing without it!. This article caused me to strongly consider cancelling my account. It also makes me feel sorry for all of those millions of people who have no lives and need to convince themselves that they are “social-butterflies” by having a trillion “friends” on FB.

Reply

munkyBeatz

Most useless article I’ve unfortunately read in a while. The author is greatly over exaggerating nonsense life the ten o’clock news to hook people into reading an extremely boring subject with boring content. Whole article should’ve been told in a paragraph, rather than a multi-page one.
They’ve taken one adult who didn’t post on Facebook at all, who was so distraught he couldn’t create a Facebook account using his real name he “almost” threatened legal action. Because dear lord, a free to use public website won’t let me create an account with my name!
Second person, oh my god, he was just distraught because his login was disabled but not his account and he missed the party of the year that was being thrown by his best friend and only talks to him via Facebook! I mean what kind of good friend would invite me to a party over an email or the phone? He was so shaken by this, that it admittedly didn’t effect him in any other aspect of life and he quit Facebook later with no consequences.
Finally, we have the most catastrophic story for last. The unfortunate virtual farm ville tycoon lost millions thanks to Facebook. She lost such old and dear friends, because she didn’t even know their names! Facebook erased her memory when they canceled her account. Oh and the most ghastly part of all, her entire reputation was centered around her fb profile and her professional life was ruined, because a resume and previous work experience just don’t cut it anymore.

Forgive all the sarcasm please, just irritated I actually read this article because make use of.com thought it important enough to ‘feature’.

Am I the only one that thought it odd that this lawyer, besides sharing the Zuckerberg name looks eerily like and older version of the young billionaire?

Teodoro V

Your response looks like about the way I would react on the featured article on first reading. But on second thought the article did have some underhanded way of fighting back if you find yourself in the shoes of the three people. Make other accounts on fb and on other social sites. Although building up connections would be a hassle, still it would be an advantage to have the accounts and not need them, rather than to need them and not have them.

Jake

If you work in social media, then yes, having your account deleted could put a serious hamper on your job performance, especially if its so difficult to get it back.
Also, if you’re running a service that is suppose to be accessible to everyone, you better have some sort of system that allows you to use the service if your name is similar to a celebrity or is an oddity. You shouldn’t have to submit loads of personal identification to get an account back when someone can just look at your account and obviously see you’re not the “real” Mark Zuckerberg before banning you.
There should be more substantial evidence needed before a service can just outright ban you. To think it wouldn’t effect anyone losing a substantial amount of relevant information (i.e. pictures, comments, personal messages, links, etc.) that would be on a Facebook account and is not easily backed up is very foolish.
I mean, one could make the same argument about Gmail. Gmail is free, do you think people shouldn’t complain about losing their account (and all the emails along with it) if they’re outright banned for no conceivable reason?

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Terry

Facebook cancelled my account I sent the response message, got a vague and meaningless reply, so I just decided that Facebook sucks and moved on. Wouldn’t use it now for anything. I am only bothered by the loss with family members that continue to use it nearly exclusively for communicating with friends and family, leaving me and others out. But those people have chosen to use a communication method that leaves some of us out so I guess we’re not that close anyhow.

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Eric Von Browwne

Five years after I deleted my genuine FB account I set up an alias email over the internet – it was literally an invented name with zero identification as to my actual self. I even had a new computer at that point, and I lived in a different town by then, so my IP address had changed. Yet lo and behold, several weeks later I received, through my new email alias address, an email from FB, asking if I knew the following persons. The scary thing about it was that I DID know those persons. Somehow FB still knew who I was, even after me moving locations and purchasing a new computer, both of which were innocent acts on my part, and even after me setting up an alias email address (which wasn’t innocent, as I did it on purpose). FB do scary things with their software, and they don’t declare these things to the public, they do them behind the scenes, in secret, for their own benefit. Lots of scary things.
A young nephew of mine, who five years ago was only 8 years old when I deleted my original FB account, and who then did not even know of FB, well he recently joined FB now being a teenager and what do you know, FB emailed me, again on my new email alias address, and asked if I knew this person as they thought I would do. There is no way that link, between the alias me and my nephew, could or should have been made, yet FB knew… FB do VERY scary stuff.

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Leon “Spark” Sparclem

I have a friend who has been summarily tossed off Facebook twice, not because he used bad language or because of nude pictures, no, it was because his popular page was admittedly a haven for discussion of freethinking concerns. Some militant religious viewers who happened upon the page would “flag” it. I guess they thought searchers should find their deity without any of that opposing opinion stuff. It always gives me a chuckle when I think of the minions stamping out all naysayers so their all powerful deity does not have hurt feelings.

From my experiences some moderators are tinpot dictators, incompetent bullies who make their caprices decisions depending on what their mood is that day, what they ate for lunch or how much it will impress their supervisor. I think Facebook management does little/late or nothing at all about bad decisions to shore up the moral of the moderators. There are millions of FB users and the wronged are few and haven’t made a big enough stink yet.

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Ms Hanson

This article demonstrates why I dumped my fb account. Intrusive, prone to unprincipled sanctions, shoot-first-and-question-later sanctions…fb joins the ranks of outrageous businesses I no longer patronize: Snears, Best Boy, Office Despot, all of which, coincidentally, seem to be lagging lately.
Try this: my birthdate is listed across the Interwebs as January 1, 1900. Google sends me a birthday wish each year. If you want to know who is accessing your info, this one works. (Also, it’s easy to remember. Your’e welcome) Why anyone would give up enough info to accomodate ID theft puzzles me.

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Bud

I’ve recently had many problems with FB and when I send a report as provided, I receive a generic email stating that my problem or question may not be answered as they can’t respond to all problems/questions.
I can’t access my friends pr their photos now. I use my email address to search for additional friends, only to receive a message reply that my email is either too spammy, or my password is incorrect, yet this is the very same email address shown AND password when I log into FB.
A very dysfunctional web site with a boatload of arrogance emanating from it !!!
Recent online news articles have stated that FB has been WARNED by the US Federal Communications Commission, aka F.C.C. for continual privacy issues with its subscribers.
Also, they allow too much porno photos posted on their site, especlally from countries such as Turkey, India and Pakistan !!!

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MisterEnglish

Perhaps 6 or 7 years ago, I joined FB at the request of our local City Councillor. I was not aware of the nature of FB at the time, but did so to allow her to contact me, as well as her other supporters.
I then got requests from people I didn’t know, didn’t want to know, and who were obviously just collecting ‘friends!’
Within weeks, I deleted most of the very little stuff I placed in my account, and because FB wouldn’t let me delete everything and close my account, I sought to use one of the programs people wrote to close FB accounts, but they were no longer legal.
I therefore decided to screw up the account so it would just be useless trash taking up their file space, and I used Google Translator to switch the little that was left into Chinese! After that, I occasionally got emails in Chinese, asking me to be a friend – well I used GT to see what they said ….. ;0).
When I learned about a year or so ago, that it was now possible to close my account, I did so, and waited the six weeks to check.
I couldn’t access it any more … Great!
Perhaps we should all now seek accounts using the name Mark Zuckerberg, and invite all of our friends to do so, and ask them to ask their friends to do the same?
Facebook sucks!

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null

Amber should have had a couple “extra” dummy accounts and added them as admins to whatever projects she was doing. So long as the information is relatively unremarkable, there’s no reason the drones at Assbook…um, I mean Facebook, would have any reason to flag the account. And if FB does do something facetious or irresponsible, at least she might have has some form of recourse.

The only reason FB exists is to make a few someones rich. If it were truly a “social” media effort, they would have adequate staff and resources to actually help their users have the best experience.

And just like any other resource where “cloud” computing is concerned, BACK UP YOUR DATA. That includes friends’ names and information, images, whatever. Don’t depend on an organization to whom you are a tiny little pimple – er – cog in it’s giant clockworks to ensure that your data is protected or private. Money comes first.

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Jonathan

at all, stop using facebook… facebook only hep you to wasting your potential time to do somthing else, they only create a lot of problem… and for mark, there is many people in the world who have same name as you… lot of people in the earth have identical name, so stop that kind of stuff…

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Mike Therrien

I suspect in the not to near future Facebook is going to shoot itself in the foot. The stance that it is free by virtue of USING people as a commodity while creatively resourceful it is alarming. Information being shifted and altered and shared between paying clients is staggering. the new collection system the Facebook system leaves it self open too is closely reaching a real a credible threat to the society as a whole. bugs, virus’s, Trojans and spyware being fed through face book could bring the whole empire down. Facebook is big enough that is can actually charge for the service if it actually provided protections against the very people who are paying Facebook right now.

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Andrew Baughman

Well, this will could change one’s view of fame.

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Ronald Smith

Words cannot express how much I hate Facebook and wish very ill things to happen to the people who own and operate it. I’ve had my account banned numerous times for the most ludicrously stupid reasons (like sharing content too much within a short time frame, for example), and yet I see porn pages galore that rarely, if ever, get even so much as a slap on the wrist. Are you kidding me?! That site is worse than MySpace, MyYearbook and all the others combined.

Screw you, Facebook, screw you hard and with many different sizes and shapes of razor-blade-covered objects.

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Richard Mahony

Rule #1: Keep your private and business life completely separate.

If you have a business, then create an online identity for that business: domain name; web site; twitter account; facebook account; eBay account (if relevant); etc.

If you are a natural person, rather than merely a legal person, which in most common law jurisdictions includes a corporation, then create an online identity for that person following the same approach as for your business.

Rule #2: If you have more than one business, create a separate profile for each business. See Rule #1.

Rule #3. Even if you do not run your own business, never forget Rule #1. Create a professional profile that is completely separate from your personal profile. Never use your professional profile for personal stuff and vice versa.

Rule #4. To protect your privacy, create a separate profile for each of your online presences for when you engage in public discourse on the Internet. Again, see Rule #1.

Rule #5. If you fail to follow Rules #1-4 at all times, then sooner or later you will be very sorry.

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null

I was gonna say something else, but then I thought better of it, I wouldn’t want FB to get weary and suspend my account…

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Groupiest

I enjoyed reading every bit of this article. The power of social media and the people behind it is so huge right now. I had my account deactivated once but it was restored citing that it was technical issue. But I guess I could live my life without it.

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Areeb

This article is epic.

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Jennifer

Having a really hard time getting that any of these people have suffered any real losses. The tragedy quotient just isn’t there, in spite of the author’s attempt to dramatize their circumstances…

Reality check – if you “lose friends” because you’re locked out of your FB account, you should probably question the value of the friendship.

If you miss an invitation to a party, how is that a tragedy?

If you’re a social media professional who sets up an entire media campaign under your personal FB account, you’re begging for disaster in more ways than we’ve got time to examine.

FB is just one of a world of ways to nurture relationships. When you can’t use FB you still have email, the phone, the regular mail, person-to-person, Skype, Twitter, and many other communication tools at your disposal. The loss of FB does NOT prevent you from watching your nieces and nephews grow up, for heaven’s sake!

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Stephanie Staker

Matthew, great article. I have to report a negative aspect to Facebook to your readers. There are a multitude of child porn sites on FB. How do I know? I have SEEN them! I contacted via the “reporting” system and the automated response I received was: “Thanks for your recent report of a potential violation on Facebook. After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.” This link http://links.causes.com/s/clJEiY?r=EJZw is just one of 5 that was found by the group Force Facebook to Block. Be prepared to be shocked as I was. Yet, a man who has a last name of “Q:” has his account deactivated? Something is seriously wrong at FB and I suspect the reason they refuse to deal with the child porn has to do with money. Ads, maybe? I don’t know but help these children and speak up for them! They can’t. Thanks for reading.

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hotdoge3

don’t go don’t Like not for me

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Faizan Ali

Facebook needs to look in to its policies… i am an internet marketer and my life professional life depends on facebook. If God forbid some day Facebook finds something not to their liking they will deactivate my account!. the thought of it scares me.. they should at least inform the user about what wrongs the user has been doing and then slip in a warning and if the user fails to comply Only then deactivate/delete their account rather than deleting/deactivating it without prior notice.

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Ice Cream Sundae

WOW! Facebook needs to improve their banning system. They should at least tell the people why their banned.

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Andrew Shadlek

i find it funny how there is a button to like the post on facebook when the entire post is about some of facebook’s more serious errors and their consequences.

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Ben

I use facebook to draw people (call it spamming) to the website for my small business. When an account is deactivated I simply open another one. My friends I keep in touch with through other means.

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Jake

Honestly, the whole argument that “people lose out on invitations, baby pictures, keeping track of loved ones, etc.” by not having a Facebook account is total BS. Don’t these people have phones? Haven’t these people ever heard of Skype or Google Hangout? Makes you wonder if these people even know anything exists other than Facebook. Last time I checked, I could send pictures, texts, phone calls, email invitations largely for the cost of a normal phone bill which most people probably pay for these days. The only thing I could reasonably understand having one is if your job is social media management.
All I can say is, I’ve done fine without a (to me) largely worthless Facebook account. To my knowledge, Facebook still doesn’t allow custom HTML backgrounds which MySpace did. Makes you wonder how MySpace ever went dead in the eyes of a largely second rate service.

Tina Sieber

Jake,

I believe you neglect that on Facebook you don’t send your invitations or pictures or updates to individuals. You post them to your community. And your community consists of everyone who wants to be part of it and you approve of – your Facebook friends.

I’m sure people using Facebook still connect using all the tools you have mentioned above. I do. I even meet my friends and family in real life!

However, unlike my capacity to make new friends and appreciate people, my time is limited. I cannot connect with everyone who is important in my life one-on-one all the time. But I also don’t want to let go of amazing people.

It gives me joy to read or see what is going on in their life. And I will reach out to them if they are having a tough time or celebrate their achievements with them. I think being able to connect with so many people is what makes the Internet amazing. And because many people feel like I do, it has simply become normal for people to use community tools like Facebook to share their news, rather than to tell everyone individually.

Yes, you can mass email or text, but sorry, that isn’t the same. It’s not really social.

Keep in mind that the world is changing. People move for jobs, they even move to foreign countries, and they end up having friends and family all over the world. In the past this meant heartache because ties to your friends and family were cut. Today, that heartache is softened by the ability to at least feel part of your community of family and friends, even if from far away. Services like Facebook have filled a gap that has been torn open by globalization.

Sure, you can still call people, send letters or individual emails with photos etc. and connect one-on-one, but it is hard and time consuming. In the end, not everyone will do it, not because they don’t like you, but because they have limited time. Facebook makes it easy to share and keep your community in the loop. Now if someone gets locked out of Facebook, they get locked out of that community.

I can see that this is not your world and apparently you cannot relate to how it is to live this way. But maybe you can at least acknowledge that the world is changing and that people are changing and that not everything is changing for the worse.

Jake

Last I checked, Facebook was just as time consuming to update (considering how much the average user spends time on it and the numerous stories of people wasting work time on it) and manage. And posting on the wall is the same as mass texting and mass emailing. Everyone who knows you that hasn’t disabled Facebook notifications will get an update on wall posts, including people you don’t really want seeing them by just browsing your Facebook page.

Not only that, in that entire response you neglected to mention the video chat services that I had mentioned. Google Hangout and Skype allow for multiple participants and are easily superior to what Facebook offers.

One can also simply group chat with friends. That technology has been around for ages and you don’t have to schedule anything, just talk to them when they’re online. Its a lot more personal and social communicating face to face than to wait several minutes between replies and wall barrages where things can easily get lost in translation.

And if you want an example of emailing, I tutored a kid in the UAE entirely through email and chat services. It was great and there was no difference to PMing each other on Facebook or other social service. I didn’t have to go to multiple sites either, I chatted and emailed all in the same client software.

One could make an argument that its easier to connect with other, mostly random people, on Facebook. However, out of those several hundred friends, how many do you really keep up with? How many do you actually know? How many of those peoples lives are even remotely relevant to you anymore? How much time would it take for you to check these peoples profiles that you don’t really stay in touch with anymore? People need to start distinguishing real relationships from Facebook ones.

The thing with using alternatives services is you have much more control over who receives the material and who doesn’t (yes, that all important privacy aspect). Not only that, you’re not banned for ridiculous things like having a celebrity name or an uncommon name with no real recourse other than starting over.

The necessity of Facebook as an argument is incredibly weak and is really no different other than the ease of connection which people abuse on a routine basis by simply randomly accepting invites from random people. The only other argument is work related PR. You would think in this more technologically integrated world, people would have their own websites using a website creation service which offers much more features (including custom layouts) than Facebook. I never got the point of conforming to everyone else, especially on such a subpar service. I guess I can just chalk that up to technological ignorance and laziness, which in some instances I’m guilty of.

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Akarsh Seggemu

thats a great stroy, people having same name identity crises

Piroska Racz

Facebook friends, Warning!

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richard ashby

while trying to log in from mobile phone they froze my account. not having access to a computer, i tried their ” customer service ” . after speaking to someone for several minutes, i was informed that there would be no problem restoring my access. For $50.00!!! they proceeded to explain that fb has no ” customer service ” , and that in fact they were an outside company retained to perform such services. i lost it and told the young lady, (in poor imitation of her sweet English accent), what to do with the fifty dollars. after several days, i was able to access a computer, days after my daughter’s birthday where i appeareed to be a cad of a father for apparently forgetting such a momentous an occasion!! THANKS FB!

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Claire Deery

It seems that whenever I try to log into facebook, it doesn’t allow me to log in even though I’ve got the correct email/password combo

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Linda

I’ve been banned from Facebook for 6months. I don’t know the reason. Can’t find out the reason. I’m just small town person, the only reason I am on Facebook is to socialize with family and friends far and near.

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Aaron

How funny!

And when you just try to read comments and all of the “parts” wich are beyond the walls of Facebook and find yourself that your IP has been banned from those well mean people from facebook?

The thing to think is how long are the arms of FB that they prevent you from anything that their extensions are allowed from FB itself. You don’t need a FB account to read commentaries in a page that uses that mode but you are prevented to see them if you are banned.

To let go an account (there is so much about it) you must break every rule to effectively be OUT of FB and the shorter one might take MONTHS as my own account (Posting nudes, harrassing, etc. just to make shure it was ERASED) because that asking politely just DON’T WORK.

Now it seems that they do as they please. That is the only company I know that can ban your IP and ¡that is called a model of bussiness!.

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Aaron

Oh yes. When I had an account from Facebook and I could not contact NOT even my family they would suggest me to add Mark Zuckenberg as a friend… How on earth would I know him being in México? But the shurely prevented to add some people that were some steps near… Nice business!

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