Monthly Archives: June 2010

Should Facebook be allowed to play God?

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:

That time I got banned from facebook

 

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:

Facebook Principles
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.

I own Facebook

 

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.

Thanks!

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?

I Quit Facebook

Well, actually Facebook quit me. I tried to login today and found myself staring at this screen…

facebookdisabledaccount1

Uhhhh, what? I didn’t receive the memo to let me know that the last 4 years of my facebook life have been eradicated by one of the facebook support drones.

Suddenly for the online world I have ceased to exist. My wife is no longer married to me according to her profile. All my Facebook friends think I deleted them from my friends list. My 110,000 members fanpage has been deleted. My family and friends who literally live on the other side of the world have no way to get in touch with me anymore.

Guess they’ll all have to miss out on the baby photos I was going to post in a few days, when my firstborn is scheduled to login to the world.

It’s kinda scary how dependent people become on 3rd party services. Facebook has quietly taken mass control of a whole lot of people’s online identities. And they can do with it as they please. Why do we call it a “social network” if they can so easily put someone in social isolation? I have no idea what most of my friends are up to now.

Like this morning, I got an update from a family member, who needed some emotional support. As soon as I found out about her situation, I gave her a call. She felt a lot better afterwards. Well tough titties for anyone else from now on. If you’re having a cry on Facebook, don’t expect me to know about it. I’m not allowed to play with the other kids anymore.

We really should take a step back and make sure we see the big picture – don’t take ANYTHING online for granted. What’s here today might easily be gone tomorrow. And it doesn’t take a hurricane or a war to blast you back into the middle-ages. All it takes is the click of a mouse, or the touch of a button of one of Mark Zuckerberg’s minions.

The bright side of a situation like this, is that I did some research and found a lot of troublesome information regarding Facebook. We’ve all heard about the privacy issues with Facebook, but did you know for example, that Mark Zuckerberg stumbled upon the creation of facebook, because he was trying to create a site where he could judge and compare people, based on the way they looked?

I’m a little intoxicated, not gonna lie. So what if it’s not even 10 p.m. and it’s a Tuesday night? What? The Kirkland [dorm] facebook is open on my desktop and some of these people have pretty horrendous facebook pics. I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive.
—9:48 pm
Yea, it’s on. I’m not exactly sure how the farm animals are going to fit into this whole thing (you can’t really ever be sure with farm animals…), but I like the idea of comparing two people together.
—11:09 pm
Let the hacking begin.
—12:58 am

He managed to get some sort of system going, by hacking into the Harvard University Network, and copying PRIVATE dormitory ID images. (identity theft anyone?) Soon after that, he and three other students started working on a site called HarvardConnection.com, but just a week into the project, Zuckerberg’s intentions turned out to be the opposite of a cooperation – He used their ideas to build a competing product; Facebook.

Zuckerberg then abused his website, by going through the logs, retrieving users passwords, and accessing their private emails. What a great guy eh?

There’s a big ‘ol list of questions and doubts regarding Facebook as a company. But, what can we do? Facebook is MASSIVE. There’s no stopping it. Zuckerberg will own the world one day, and there is nobody that can stop him.

(PS I do have a slight suspicion as to why my Facebook account was disabled – I added some advertising on my 110K+ fanpage two days ago. Perhaps they didn’t like that).