So Facebook disabled my account a few days ago for no apparent reason, and without warning or explanation. Obviously I emailed them to see what was up, and a ‘Marissa” from Facebook ‘User Operations’ replied with a short standard copy/paste template email:
Guilty until proven innocent? Is Facebook’s HQ based in North Korea somewhere? Does Mark Zuckerberg run a holiday camp in Guantanamo Bay? Strike one, you’re out?
Facebook has become an important communication tool for over 450 million people worldwide. Pushing it’s Open Graph, Facebook connect, around the web. Within several years Facebook will probably have a say in 75% of all websites, applications, tools and online communities.
So what happens to all of those people that got banned by Facebook? What are the social consequences for people that are not allowed to be part of the Open Graph anymore? Will they become irrelevant to the rest of the world?
With a user-base larger than the entire population of the United States, should Facebook be allowed to dictate their ‘laws’ and play God online? I think not. Facebook is owned by the users. Without users, there is no Facebook.
I’m all for rules and regulations to keep Facebook an open place for everyone. Privacy and safety are obviously big things. But surely there are other ways than to completely wipeout a persons online existence?
One simple solution would be to have some sort of system in place – Limit a users account if you think they are breaking Facebook Terms and responsibilities. Sandbox a persons profile. Take away those abilities that make breaking the rules possible. But you do need to keep people in the loop, one way or the other. That is the responsibility Facebook needs to take on, if they make public statements like these:
We are building Facebook to make the world more open and transparent , which we believe will create greater understanding and connection. Facebook promotes openness and transparency by giving individuals greater power to share and connect, and certain principles guide Facebook in pursuing these goals. Achieving these principles should be constrained only by limitations of law, technology, and evolving social norms. We therefore establish these Principles as the foundation of the rights and responsibilities of those within the Facebook Service.
Anyway, I was wondering who I need to contact within Facebook to get my stuff back (which is impossible since there are no contact details for Facebook anywhere). I went over the Terms and Responsibilities again, and according to those, you still have my stuff Mark.
Should you decide to keep me cut-off from all my Facebook friends and family, effectively making me a social outcast, I would like my photos, messages and pokes back please.
Funny Fact: Mark Zuckerberg was born in the same year as the title of George Orwell’s “1984” book.
Anyway, what do you guys think? How big of an impact will Facebook and it’s Open Graph have on people’s online identities in the (near) future?