Audio: Another story of someone kicked off Facebook

OK, I keep getting calls from people who get kicked off of Facebook for stuff that they think is normal usage of Facebook. Last week I asked Mark Zuckerberg about it, and he said they only kicked off people who were spamming.

So, today, when Nathan Stebeski called me I asked him “mind if I record you?” I used my iPhone to call BlogTalk Radio and record the call. I was on the freeway and BlogTalk’s new “Cinch” service really rocks for doing stuff like this.

Here’s the result. It’s a 10 minute audio conversation (MP3 file) where we talk about what happened to him and how he got kicked off. Sorry that the audio ends abruptly, but you get the idea by then what’s going on.

Facebook: this is totally nuts. You’re destroying your “utility” because people can’t build businesses on something like this where you live in fear that you might just get kicked off for seemingly minor reasons. With no, or little warning. With no recourse.

I found Nathan to be very believable. How about you? He had a great idea: that Facebook should have a “penalty box” where your account is locked down for a couple of days.

What did he do wrong? He had too many inbound friend requests, he says. How did he get so many? He has a Fashion site and had three Facebook groups that were getting popular. Facebook kicked him off and closed down the groups.

I’m going to ask Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s PR for a response to Nathan’s claims. More on this soon.

Comments

  1. The exact thing happened to me. Fashion.

    I had some of the biggest fashion groups in Canada, NYC and London. FB declared war.

    I *NEVER* spammed once. And all my work was community focused. All for the independent fashion scene.

    My attempts to contact them (very professionally) went ignored.

    I’ve lobbied against them ever since. Particularly having scrutinizes their privacy policies.

    Every time someone logs off of FB an angel gets their wings. I’m tellin’ you.

    — Blas

  2. The exact thing happened to me. Fashion.

    I had some of the biggest fashion groups in Canada, NYC and London. FB declared war.

    I *NEVER* spammed once. And all my work was community focused. All for the independent fashion scene.

    My attempts to contact them (very professionally) went ignored.

    I’ve lobbied against them ever since. Particularly having scrutinizes their privacy policies.

    Every time someone logs off of FB an angel gets their wings. I’m tellin’ you.

    — Blas

  3. Remember, folks, there’s that whole Internet thing out there.

    Why people fight over stuff like this when your energy could be put to better use leveraging another social network astounds me.

    FB is no Google, why do we expect them to be so open?

  4. Remember, folks, there’s that whole Internet thing out there.

    Why people fight over stuff like this when your energy could be put to better use leveraging another social network astounds me.

    FB is no Google, why do we expect them to be so open?

  5. This is unbelievable. Facebook can’t afford bad publicity like this, especially after they kicked you. After listening to this, it seems to be like Nathan wasn’t treated like a customer, he was treated like a commodity. In this day and age where a team of college kids could write a competing site in a short period of time, they can’t do this to people.

  6. This is unbelievable. Facebook can’t afford bad publicity like this, especially after they kicked you. After listening to this, it seems to be like Nathan wasn’t treated like a customer, he was treated like a commodity. In this day and age where a team of college kids could write a competing site in a short period of time, they can’t do this to people.

  7. The end result is – if they don’t get it together, they will alienate innocent, valuable members.

    Statistically, the percentage of false positives may be low – but if it happens to a high profile member or someone with media connections, the bad PR is incalculable.

  8. The end result is – if they don’t get it together, they will alienate innocent, valuable members.

    Statistically, the percentage of false positives may be low – but if it happens to a high profile member or someone with media connections, the bad PR is incalculable.

  9. It happened to me at least 6 months ago….

    My bigest problem, is they said I was baned for violating the TOS, however nobody could tell me *what portion* of the TOS I had violated.

    I think I may have gone “poke crazy” one day. Either that or a signature on wall posts, however I don’t post to walls that much.

    Sent one email, then got a wishy washy answer, Then I pushed harder 3 weeks later.

    There was a “final answer” of sorry, can let you back on. But I resent a few more times and got a differant case #, as well as had some friends make a little noise.

    They let me back on, but I don’t know what I even did wrong. My “network” was more important than “having an account”. (note to self… put wife / friend as an admin on my “service page”

    Adam Nollmeyer
    Phoenix AZ Photographer

  10. It happened to me at least 6 months ago….

    My bigest problem, is they said I was baned for violating the TOS, however nobody could tell me *what portion* of the TOS I had violated.

    I think I may have gone “poke crazy” one day. Either that or a signature on wall posts, however I don’t post to walls that much.

    Sent one email, then got a wishy washy answer, Then I pushed harder 3 weeks later.

    There was a “final answer” of sorry, can let you back on. But I resent a few more times and got a differant case #, as well as had some friends make a little noise.

    They let me back on, but I don’t know what I even did wrong. My “network” was more important than “having an account”. (note to self… put wife / friend as an admin on my “service page”

    Adam Nollmeyer
    Phoenix AZ Photographer

  11. We need an open-source, distributed, & resilient social network that is NOT controlled by any one entity.

    Why aren’t they getting more space?

  12. We need an open-source, distributed, & resilient social network that is NOT controlled by any one entity.

    Why aren’t they getting more space?

  13. Robert, can put a link towards the interview and possible the mp3 file itself on our blog as this is important thing for us and we were mentioning similar scenarios to our customers for some time now.

    No need to tell you that your blog, name and proper linking will be in place clearly showing who the author of this interview and this news is…

    Thanks in advance

  14. Robert, can put a link towards the interview and possible the mp3 file itself on our blog as this is important thing for us and we were mentioning similar scenarios to our customers for some time now.

    No need to tell you that your blog, name and proper linking will be in place clearly showing who the author of this interview and this news is…

    Thanks in advance

  15. Banning people from services has gone completely out of control. Yes, they are private entities and they can do what they want but after being banned by one of the largest commercial players in the online space, where I made 90% of my income and invested years of effort into building that business I wasn’t laughing.

    Long story short: after spending months trying to convince them I really didn’t know how I broke their TOS, and them refusing to tell me how I broke their TOS and simply telling me I’m banned for life I gave up. I opened a new account under an assumed name and carried on my business ever since, in ever present fear of being discovered. It’s been over a year and I’ve made that company over a million dollars, still under an assumed name. They love my new account.

  16. Banning people from services has gone completely out of control. Yes, they are private entities and they can do what they want but after being banned by one of the largest commercial players in the online space, where I made 90% of my income and invested years of effort into building that business I wasn’t laughing.

    Long story short: after spending months trying to convince them I really didn’t know how I broke their TOS, and them refusing to tell me how I broke their TOS and simply telling me I’m banned for life I gave up. I opened a new account under an assumed name and carried on my business ever since, in ever present fear of being discovered. It’s been over a year and I’ve made that company over a million dollars, still under an assumed name. They love my new account.

  17. Should I tell the story on how they took my camera at their party because I was taking too many photographs after they paid the Eye-Fi guys to come in and snap photos of the VIPs?

  18. Should I tell the story on how they took my camera at their party because I was taking too many photographs after they paid the Eye-Fi guys to come in and snap photos of the VIPs?

  19. Interesting, very.

    Now I’m not blaming him but “always be closing” springs to mind listening to Nathan on that interview, he’s very keen on fronting his site and maybe that’s what triggered the facebook lock out. In the way he spoke he has a definite pitch that he sticks to so it’s quite likely that his communications to group members and his message and friend request replies could well have contained the same pitch boiler plate style… Bleep bleep bleep Spam alarm at Facebook HQ, bye bye Nathan?

    Claiming to have no time to orchestrate a spam offensive isn’t the best of defences though, Nathan may want to rethink that line. By his own earlier admission he has time to “run this fantastic fashion site, myownrunway.com which is fantastic and about fashion at myownrunway.com” and enough time to run several groups messaging everyone that joins by the sound of it and replying to 40+ friend requests daily.

    I think facebook needs a sin-bin for sure, suspend access for a few days and take the chill out time to contact recipients of the supposed spam and ask them to rate it for spaminess, let the community, those supposedly affected have their say?

  20. Interesting, very.

    Now I’m not blaming him but “always be closing” springs to mind listening to Nathan on that interview, he’s very keen on fronting his site and maybe that’s what triggered the facebook lock out. In the way he spoke he has a definite pitch that he sticks to so it’s quite likely that his communications to group members and his message and friend request replies could well have contained the same pitch boiler plate style… Bleep bleep bleep Spam alarm at Facebook HQ, bye bye Nathan?

    Claiming to have no time to orchestrate a spam offensive isn’t the best of defences though, Nathan may want to rethink that line. By his own earlier admission he has time to “run this fantastic fashion site, myownrunway.com which is fantastic and about fashion at myownrunway.com” and enough time to run several groups messaging everyone that joins by the sound of it and replying to 40+ friend requests daily.

    I think facebook needs a sin-bin for sure, suspend access for a few days and take the chill out time to contact recipients of the supposed spam and ask them to rate it for spaminess, let the community, those supposedly affected have their say?

  21. Justin: and we need a way to look at deleted Facebook accounts to see what their big sin was. That’ll help all of us avoid getting erased.

    All this does, though, is keep me from taking Facebook seriously as a brand.

  22. Justin: and we need a way to look at deleted Facebook accounts to see what their big sin was. That’ll help all of us avoid getting erased.

    All this does, though, is keep me from taking Facebook seriously as a brand.

  23. Hey Robert,

    I remember and in fact still see that very problem on forums a boards when moderators erase posts and threads, it gives no one any boundaries. In real world communities we get great value from seeing the bounds of decency being enforced, it makes us feel more secure, secure in our own actions as much as anything so your so right with that last observation.

    Facebook need to be really smart with this stuff, it could really hurt them to be perceived as having a split personality. On one hand they openly encourage folks to build business’ in Facebook using the platform but, if someone ventures into slightly business like territory with their persona they get swatted.

  24. Hey Robert,

    I remember and in fact still see that very problem on forums a boards when moderators erase posts and threads, it gives no one any boundaries. In real world communities we get great value from seeing the bounds of decency being enforced, it makes us feel more secure, secure in our own actions as much as anything so your so right with that last observation.

    Facebook need to be really smart with this stuff, it could really hurt them to be perceived as having a split personality. On one hand they openly encourage folks to build business’ in Facebook using the platform but, if someone ventures into slightly business like territory with their persona they get swatted.

  25. Two things: Facebook will carry on, life as normal, this incident or even the traffic from this and linked posts will be read by exactly zero non-geeks who are signing up in droves. They could care less. We won’t see mainstream TV news on the subject (I agree that it’s wrong, and the triggers they use to “detect” “spam” are horrendously stupid).

    Secondly, what about the tons really spammy applications? I got a “You have received a new video from XYZ, click here to view” in my inbox the other day. Clicking the link opened a window where I was prompted to invite 13 of my friends to install the app -before- I could view the video I was sent. Of course, I guess there wasn’t even a video to start with, and had I “invited” the 13 friends, they would also have received a “you have a video from Mike, click here to view”. And this is happening daily, and I see these apps last for days or weeks without any action taken from Facebook. Ah, I get it – ads and pageviews…that’s the difference.

  26. Two things: Facebook will carry on, life as normal, this incident or even the traffic from this and linked posts will be read by exactly zero non-geeks who are signing up in droves. They could care less. We won’t see mainstream TV news on the subject (I agree that it’s wrong, and the triggers they use to “detect” “spam” are horrendously stupid).

    Secondly, what about the tons really spammy applications? I got a “You have received a new video from XYZ, click here to view” in my inbox the other day. Clicking the link opened a window where I was prompted to invite 13 of my friends to install the app -before- I could view the video I was sent. Of course, I guess there wasn’t even a video to start with, and had I “invited” the 13 friends, they would also have received a “you have a video from Mike, click here to view”. And this is happening daily, and I see these apps last for days or weeks without any action taken from Facebook. Ah, I get it – ads and pageviews…that’s the difference.

  27. Robert,

    FYI, I was thinking about your question from the Dev Garage last week. The feature you were looking for (export to Outlook) existed at one point. When I joined Facebook in late 2004, I exported my contacts to my Apple Address Book because Facebook let me put their data in a CSV file.

    The feature disappeared sometime in 2005. When I recently made an inquiry, they acted as if it had never existed.

    Odd.

  28. Robert,

    FYI, I was thinking about your question from the Dev Garage last week. The feature you were looking for (export to Outlook) existed at one point. When I joined Facebook in late 2004, I exported my contacts to my Apple Address Book because Facebook let me put their data in a CSV file.

    The feature disappeared sometime in 2005. When I recently made an inquiry, they acted as if it had never existed.

    Odd.

  29. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Some times these guys forget how they got so big in the first place. That’s why I just find new alternatives. Here’s a brand new one, DiscoverMeLive.com.

  30. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Some times these guys forget how they got so big in the first place. That’s why I just find new alternatives. Here’s a brand new one, DiscoverMeLive.com.

  31. Im a student of various sciences and sometimes work with Aubrey de Grey’s organisations on longevity.
    Recently we all moved our efforts to networking with scientists around the world through Facebook.
    A colleague, the eminant scientist Dr Leonid Gavrilov started a group for we longevity science people, and it was a great success.
    Researchers from Germany, Croatia, and all over the globe exchanged notes on important medical developments.
    Great!
    Untill Leonid was kicked off without warning!
    With Leonid’s dissappearance, all the discussions and topics we had engaged in were gone too.
    The good doctor told me there was no warning he had outstripped any Facebook usage limitations, he was simply removed. The email he recieved stated he had been warned, and was pretty draconian in tone, to such an eminant and good hearted scientist.
    This promts me fire off articles in the press, righfully questioning the wisdom of now using Facebook.
    Ive written to them, telling them of my concerns about the destruction of information given in good faith to them, curtacy of their servers.
    If they wish to shoot themselves in the balls, then I am also more than happy to help them in that direction.
    I cant help but imagine the steriotype of spotty, mal-adjusted shit bags slouching in their office chairs, chewing on toxic pens and dounuts, playing doom and surfing porn in between randomly closing peoples accounts, and writing nasty letters to people -
    Or perhaps its run by monkeys on crack
    I am trying to get Facebook called to account for this type of behaviour.
    Anyone care to join in if I can find a complaints body who will take this on???
    Cheers all
    Soren

  32. Im a student of various sciences and sometimes work with Aubrey de Grey’s organisations on longevity.
    Recently we all moved our efforts to networking with scientists around the world through Facebook.
    A colleague, the eminant scientist Dr Leonid Gavrilov started a group for we longevity science people, and it was a great success.
    Researchers from Germany, Croatia, and all over the globe exchanged notes on important medical developments.
    Great!
    Untill Leonid was kicked off without warning!
    With Leonid’s dissappearance, all the discussions and topics we had engaged in were gone too.
    The good doctor told me there was no warning he had outstripped any Facebook usage limitations, he was simply removed. The email he recieved stated he had been warned, and was pretty draconian in tone, to such an eminant and good hearted scientist.
    This promts me fire off articles in the press, righfully questioning the wisdom of now using Facebook.
    Ive written to them, telling them of my concerns about the destruction of information given in good faith to them, curtacy of their servers.
    If they wish to shoot themselves in the balls, then I am also more than happy to help them in that direction.
    I cant help but imagine the steriotype of spotty, mal-adjusted shit bags slouching in their office chairs, chewing on toxic pens and dounuts, playing doom and surfing porn in between randomly closing peoples accounts, and writing nasty letters to people -
    Or perhaps its run by monkeys on crack
    I am trying to get Facebook called to account for this type of behaviour.
    Anyone care to join in if I can find a complaints body who will take this on???
    Cheers all
    Soren

  33. Hi I'm researching online because I was just kicked off of facebook this week and given really no reason. Unlike Nathan I am not running a business, but an an academic and a writer. I used my site to list readings, chat with friends, post music, the same as everyone else I thought. Suddenly last Saturday I was notified that my site was disabled. I have not been able to receive a reply from Facebook since then. I've lost photos friends sent me, poems people wrote and sent me, all kinds of personal info. Most importantly though the US literary scene has become quickly to rely on Facebook for contact info and for promoting readings. Now suddenly I am not able to participate in this and it has detrimental professional consequences. I have to reiterate, I was doing NOTHING to get kicked off and have real no understanding of why I was or what I am being accused of. I don't understand how this can be legal and was wondering if anyone knows what recourse I have?

  34. they keep threating me as well. people are telling them about my views. they also say i cant request friends…what the hell is the site for then..theyre real petty. i want to get an attorney. im an x-ball player and theyre doing me wrong with no proof .

  35. Ialso had my facebook closedfrom them ,,one day Iwas in a network and the next day Iwasnt ,,,so Iwrote to fb asking why ?? then when Iwent to log in I couldnt !!!!!!!!!! said they closed my account ,,, no reason on why !!!!!!!! so Iwrote back andnow Iam waiting again !!!!!!! I loved fb games and my friends on there,,, I would like my account to open again!!!!!!!!!!!! please help if you can ,,thanks for sharing ,,,Jane at elysees0404@verizon.net

  36. Ialso had my facebook closedfrom them ,,one day Iwas in a network and the next day Iwasnt ,,,so Iwrote to fb asking why ?? then when Iwent to log in I couldnt !!!!!!!!!! said they closed my account ,,, no reason on why !!!!!!!! so Iwrote back andnow Iam waiting again !!!!!!! I loved fb games and my friends on there,,, I would like my account to open again!!!!!!!!!!!! please help if you can ,,thanks for sharing ,,,Jane at elysees0404@verizon.net