Disabling accounts on Facebook has sparked outrage.
As if Facebook didn’t have enough on its plate already, it now appears to be dealing with a major customer service issue. Members of Facebook whose accounts have been disabled—some for good reason, some not—are becoming increasingly angry with the company’s lack of transparency when it comes to figuring out what went wrong. They discover that their accounts have been disabled and that access to the site as well as all of their data has been blocked, often without warning. Facebook’s customer care representatives, who can only be reached by e-mail and are overworked, appear to be slow to respond.
Because Facebook isn’t doing a good job of communicating with its users, they’re increasingly chatting to each other. Disgruntled (former) clients are congregating elsewhere on the Internet to vent their frustrations. Satisfaction, a site for consumers to lament, has recently seen a lot of talk over Facebook’s account-disabling practices. In an e-mail, Thor Muller, CEO of Satisfaction (you gotta love that title), says:
A constant and considerable stream of people has had their accounts disabled without warning or explanation, according to Satisfaction. Some of them may be deserving of it due to some form of mischief. Many more appear to be unwitting victims of Facebook’s unaccountable and uncontrollable flagging mechanisms. In all situations, Facebook maintains a presumption of guilt and provides users with few options for appealing or learning more about the alleged crime. The mistrust sparked by Beacon is echoed in this policy, which shows Facebook’s callous contempt for its users.
When algorithmically labeled users try to receive even basic information about their position, they are given the runaround. After a disturbing and uncertain period, the lucky ones get their accounts back–but many never do. Given that Facebook encourages users to center their life on their accounts (it’s an email substitute! the only social graph you’ll ever need! ), For every one of these people, this is a devastating experience. People are panicking because they can’t even log in to download, never alone erase, the years’ worth of data they’ve amassed.
I visited with Facebook officials many weeks ago to discuss the situation, and they told me that their systems were being strained by the increased load and that they were making modifications. But, if anything, the problem has gotten worse since then.
Not using your real name, uploading objectionable stuff, scraping the site, joining too many groups, sending too many messages, “poking” too many people, or sending the same message too many times are all reasons why Facebook may cancel your account. Many of these regulations target spammers. Facebook must keep social spam under control, or else it risks alienating users. However, it appears that Facebook is erring on the aggressive side when it comes to implementing its regulations. Guy Kawasaki’s account was reportedly temporarily suspended for being overly zealous in his proselytizing. (Some people are powerless to stop themselves.)
Following the break, you’ll find quotes from disabled Facebook users who believe they’ve been falsely accused, including a Ph.D. student, an Australian middle-aged man, and an overly chatty woman. They all, in my opinion, need to be removed from Facebook. However, it is never a good thing when irate consumers start venting their frustrations in public.
The isolated graduate student studying in Korea:
I was permanently banned from the site yesterday for adding friends in the Seoul, South Korea area where I had recently relocated. I am a graduate student at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and I work as a business consultant for major Korean companies. I am also an advocate for Facebook, but I have been treated unfairly by them. It’s mind-boggling that after bringing hundreds of people to Facebook, I was blocked. I am not pestering or soliciting anyone. However, I was barred from adding friends to my profile.
The Spam-Fighting Housewife Who Employed Opponents’ Strategies:
Last night, I became incapacitated (Friday). I emailed firstname.lastname@example.org three times and email@example.com once. My profile has vanished. I went to my husband’s page to see whether I was still there, but I wasn’t. Is this to say that my account has been deleted? I wasn’t even given a heads-up.
I’m quite aware of the actions that resulted in my disability…
I’m quite active on the wall of my network…which is regularly infiltrated by spammers…
As a result, we decided to take action and send the spammers the Terms of Service through email. I’m very sure the spammers reported us for spamming (when I say “we,” I’m referring to a friend of mine and myself who emailed the spammers, and his profile has since been removed). I have information on my profile that I will never be able to retrieve. I was dumb enough not to back up pictures and videos of my kids. I’m in such a bad mood right now…I was a bit addicted to Facebook.
I’m still waiting to hear back:
At the very least, you’re getting a reaction. I’ve been waiting for some form of reaction or action since Tuesday. Facebook hasn’t responded at all. Each of those addresses has received an email from me. I haven’t even gotten an automated message, let alone anything else. I haven’t even received a warning or anything from Facebook. I was disabled at random. All of this has disappointed me greatly; this is far from professional. At the very least, let me know you’ve received my emails.
The Australian Dad Who Doesn’t Know What He’s Doing:
Over the weekend, I had the same thing. I had never been warned about anything on Facebook, rarely posted messages, was only a member of one group, used my full real name, email, and birthdate in my profile had a photo of myself with my son in my profile and had never offended anyone on Facebook in any way, shape, or form to my knowledge. When I try to log in on Sunday morning (Australian time), I get the notification that I’ve been “disabled by an administrator.” I feel as if I’ve been found guilty without even knowing what the charge is. I’m not sure what you’re talking about.
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The agitated chatterbox (don’t poke me!):
Hello everyone, my Facebook account was deactivated on Saturday, and I received warnings to slow down with my messages, but I WASN’T SPAMMING, I WAS JUST REPLYING TO MY FRIENDS, and it was never THE SAME MESSAGE!
Then, without notice, I was unable to log in, and a buddy sent me a text message asking, “What happened to your Facebook account, did you delete it?” I was becoming a little worried because I was away from home and used Facebook to remain in touch with my friends back home 🙁 They have no idea what happened to me; did I delete them, simply vanish, or???
Anyway, I submitted an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I received the following response this morning: “Hi Margherita,
Your account has been suspended due to inappropriate use of the site. Harassment of Facebook users, whether through unsolicited messages, friend requests, pokes, or other features, is a violation of the site’s Terms of Service. For whatever reason, we will not be able to revive your account. This is a definitive decision.
Thank you for your patience.
Bella Customer Support Representative Facebook” so I emailed them again, explaining everything, requesting my account back, and vowing to slow down and send fewer messages, and what happened??? I receive the same response as if the email was just created, and as if no one read what I had to say!!!!
Now I’ve sent emails to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org…
What other options do I have? Is it true that I did something so horrible that I’m now disabled?
The Angry Nudist’s Guitar-Playing Companion:
Ok. I’m officially MAD on Facebook now.
Recommended: Facebook Help Center
They responded to the email@example.com email with the following:
Thank you for your patience.
Representative of Customer Service
“Thank you for your patience.” DO YOU USE DRUGS? WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY GRAPHIC CONTENT? I HADN’T EVEN USED MY FACEBOOK IN YEARS! I VERY RARELY MESSAGE PEOPLE!
I’m sad and perplexed.
I received the same e-mail as Paymon. I honestly don’t know what to do as a working musician who utilizes Facebook to network. I was in the process of booking a January gig when I realized I was completely screwed. It would be one thing if I were a high school student with a Myspace page, but this is interfering with my ability to earn a living. I am dissatisfied.
Finally, there’s this unfortunate college student whose social life has been destroyed. A team needs your help: