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My Beef with Facebook

June 18, 2010
Jay


I recently created a page on Facebook about a hot button issue. I was angry and was looking for a way for myself and friends to be able to discuss the topic. The moment I made the page I felt better and knew this was going to be a great way for me to get out my frustrations.

Once the page was created, I sent out a message to all of my friends inviting them to join the group. My friends started joining and we all started posting articles and discussing the issue. Within about four hours the strangest thing started to happen. I was getting fans but I didn’t know who they were. I knew some of these fans were friends of friends but the majority of new people where not connected to any of my friends. The fans were coming from all over the world and like me they were very upset and wanted a way to communicate their frustrations.

I’m not trying to toot my own horn but the page was great. We were a community of friends who took the time to share stories and opinions about the issue that brought us together. This is, after all, one of the reasons that makes Facebook so great, a social networking site that gives people the ability to share and learn from one another.

I like to think of my little page as a snowball rolling down the side of the mountain. The page was growing quickly and we were at a thousand fans before I knew it. The little snowball I had created for myself and friends had turned into a full blown avalanche speeding down the side of a mountain in a matter of weeks. I was spending 2-3 hours a day on the page. With over 10,000 fans, I felt obligated to provide compelling articles for them to read and discuss. I also provided the latest photos and status updates having to do with the issue. I was breaking stories before big media did.

It was then around day 50 after the page had been created when I logged in to find the following message from Facebook: The message stated The Page has had its publishing rights blocked because it violates our Pages Terms of Use. Amongst other things, Facebook restricts the publishing rights of Pages that impersonate other entities, represent generic concepts, spam users, or otherwise violate our Terms of Use. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users. If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit the Terms applicable to Facebook Pages at http://www.facebook.com/terms_pages.php.

I tried to reach out to Facebook to get a better definition of what exactly I did wrong but never heard back. The page I created did not impersonate an entity, represent a generic concept, spam users, or violate any of their terms of use as far as I could tell. We did however have a difference of opinion about a particular corporation and how they were handling a current event.

The day before Facebook removed my rights to publish, the page gained almost 1,000 new fans in one day. Without an administrator the page no longer has the ability to reach all of the fans with the latest news. New fans are still trickling in but the page has lost its effectiveness as a social networking hub for the issue. In other words Facebook killed the page.

So here is my question for Facebook. You’re either a social networking site or not. You’ve created an incredible tool to bring people together to share, learn, organize, and grow from one another. When you take that right away you cease to be what you were originally created for. In the near future, I’m hoping you correct this lapse of judgment or I think your best days are in the past…