Status Update

6 05 2009

I got this email today, and to my surprise, they have decided to forgive me for not breaking any rules. They have reinstated my account, but with an ever present threat of future disciplinary action. What a crock!  The message is as follows:



Facebook has limits in place to prevent behavior that other users may find annoying or abusive. These limits restrict the rate at which you can use certain features on the site. Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with the specific rates that have been deemed abusive.

Your account was disabled because you exceeded Facebook’s limits on multiple occasions when writing on Walls, despite having been warned to slow down.

However, after reviewing your situation, we have reactivated your account, and you should now be able to log in. Please be aware that if your account is disabled again, we will not be able to reactivate it. Once logged in, please slow down the rate at which you write on Walls. We appreciate your cooperation going forward.

Thanks for your understanding,

User Operations


While I’m happy about having my account back, I’m still angry about the way they are continuing to treat their users. They are obviously not going to change their behavior until we, as users, demand better treatment. If they can’t treat us any better, than we should not be driving business to their site. Twitter, Linkdin, Myspace and many others are waiting for the opportunity to treat us in a manner that is not only far superior to that of Facebook, but not disrespectful or insulting. The address that finally responded was:

If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask. I’m more than happy to help.


Freedom Under Fire

23 04 2009

Today I awoke to a relatively normal day. After the normal morning routine, I sat down at my keyboard to check on some friends, and touch bases with some colleagues. Imagine my surprise when I tried to access Facebook only to find out that my account has been disabled. What’s going on, surely this must be some kind of glitch or server outage being that that is pretty common on the site. No, it was no glitch.

> Hi,
> We have noticed that you recently received a warning from our system. You received this warning because Facebook determined that you were going too fast when writing on Walls. Facebook has limits in place to prevent behavior that others may find annoying or abusive. These limits restrict the rate at which you can use certain features on the site.
> If you have also been blocked from writing on Walls, please note that these blocks can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Unfortunately, we cannot lift the block for you. When you are allowed to resume using this feature, please proceed with caution to avoid reaching the limit again. Please be aware that the threshold at which you are warned is not a specific number, but rather determined by different factors (such as speed, time, and quantity). For security reasons, we are unable to provide additional information about this system. We apologize for any inconvenience.
> If your inquiry was not related to the warning you received, simply reply to this email and we will assist you further.
> Thanks,
> The Facebook Team

It was hardly a warning, my account was already disabled when I read this email. If it was sent before action was taken, it couldn’t have been by more than 15 minutes or so. My initial response was anger, but then I thought that maybe somebody else has had the same experience. I started searching only to find that not only had somebody experienced it, but it was pretty common. Not only was it common for users to be denied access, but the lack of explanation or clearly defined policies and rules regarding the behavior that constitutes misuse, was also common. I was pointed to this site:

Not only was I not alone, but the site chronicled the experiences of countless users denied access for no apparent reason. I started reading. While a few users had complaints that really could have been avoided by the application of common sense. The great majority were users who’s accounts were disabled as a result of using the features that are constantly being encouraged by the site itself. Picture if you will, getting pulled over by police. Upon appearing at your window and looking at your ID, the policeman says, “I’m going to let you off with a warning, but don’t let me catch you doing it again, or you’re going to jail.” Doing what again, you might answer. The policeman looks sternly at you and bellows “I can’t tell you that, but you better not do it again.” Silly I know, but that’s basically what Facebook is doing to thousands of users. Being denied access to Facebook isn’t really that big of a deal, but when they encourage you to upload your life to it, only to pull out the rug later, something is seriously screwy.  The reason given to me after the fact was, “You post too fast.” What is that supposed to mean, and how exactly is that a breach of their terms of service? The reality is, it isn’t, at least not the terms they are willing to share with the users.

What it ultimately boils down to is that if you break their invisible, unspoken secret policy, you will be punished. They aren’t going to tell you what that policy is though, so happy guessing. This kind of behavior is not only unethical, but it is completely un-American. So starts my effort to get my account re-instated, not to go back to using the site mind you, that ship has sailed, but to get my personal data that is now being held hostage by the fascists over at Facebook.

It is to that end that I have started this forum to discuss these issues and to help anyone experiencing this same kind of mistreatment at the hands of a site that is only made possible because of our usage of it. I intend on contacting as many of their advertisers as possible and letting them know that I will not patronize them as long as they advertise on Facebook. This treatment will not continue if we as users stand together and demand better treatment. Whether this better treatment comes by their hand, or by the site that replaces them after their business model is no longer viable due to their alienation of their users.

The best course of action as I see it, is to send them an email requesting reinstatement. Just make sure you fight any and all temptation to scream, threaten, cuss or be confrontational whatsoever. In fact be apologetic. Once you regain access, back up your contact data, and you’re ready to get back to business as usual. They are not going to re-instate you if they think you are going to cause problems.  If you are still angry and feel mistreated, then work to punish them for their treatment of loyal users, users that make their very existence possible. You can do just that by contacting and boycotting their advertisers. Below I have listed all the contact information I have found as of yet. I will update as more contact data is brought to my attention. Good luck, and I hope you are successful. Don’t hesitate to post any questions you may have, I’m more than happy to help if I can.


Facebook, 156 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301

Phone: 650-543-4800, Fax: 650-543-4801

Benjamin Ling – GM / Product Management Director

Mark Zuckerberg – Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Jonathan Heiliger – Vice President of Technical Operations

Elliot Schrage – VP of Communications and Public Policy

Josh Elman

There might also be some applicable information privacy laws in your area, don’t be afraid to do some research, it might just pay off.