Thursday, April 28, 2011

Facebook shoots first, ignores questions later

Facebook shoots first, ignores questions later, article.
Got enemies on Facebook? Facebook is so eager to protect copyright that the mere accusation of copyright infringement is enough to get an account locked. Ars found this out the hard way Thursday morning when our own Facebook page became inaccessible, with no warning, no explanation, and no clear appeal process.

This reminds me of my first US web host (called Tabnet, soon bought up by somebody else), back in the nineties. I checked with the salespeople if the content was OK, and they said it was. Then a couple of days later, the site disappeared. Typically, it just had to happen at the beginning of a three-day weekend (4th of July), and amazingly even though this was supposed to be a big outfit, I couldn't get hold of anybody with authority. So I worked fast to set up temporary hosting with a friend (though he was a bit stunned by the traffic. High traffic was the reason I'd been forced to find hosting in the US rather than Scandinavia where I lived).
So when I finally got them on the horn, they said that despite what I had been promised, I was not allowed to have nudes on the site, and there was nothing that could be done about it.
The worst part, to my mind, was that it was done without discussion and without warning. Like something would explode unless they got this site off their network now. I would have minded much less if I'd just been given a week's notice, and they'd been polite and apologetic about it.

By the way, I had a similar thing happen a couple of years later: I was using Yahoo groups (because typically the excellent small company I'd been using (and paying) to run my newsletter had been bought up by them) to host my newsletter. There was of course no "service" really, but I was happy because I'd collected almost ten thousand readers, gold for a business. But suddenly the group was gone, and there was nothing which could be done about it. All those contacts, just lost. I found a helpful supporter just too late, he told me that if I'd known of the procedure to do it, I could have downloaded the reader list for backup on my own machine...

Maybe the problem is that big companies begin to think they are invulnerable. Like Apple these days, when they have a big PR stink (like the current iPhone thing), they just clam up, instead of stepping out quick and explain their side of the case.


JL Galache said...

Similar stories are those told by people who've had their Flickr accounts closed without notice. In some cases, wrongfully so, but Flickr claims to not back up deleted accounts so people have lost, literally, thousands of photos uploaded over many years.

Google Ads do something similar (it happened to me) whereby they warn you that there is irregular activity in your account and they will close it if it doesn't stop (as if one can do something about that) and then less than 24 hours later they close it and you're fucked. There's an appeals process, but it's a joke, and one never finds out what the "irregular" activity was. My ads made $15 in 6 weeks; how is that "irregular"? Nobody would explain.

Draconian Measures is the name of their game, Eo. You're right, they get big and think they can do whatever they want.

Philocalist said...

Ironically enough, the front page headline on one of the local newspapers is a story about how a local girl has had her Facebook account frozen and withdrawn.

It would seem that she has the same name as a certain young lady married earlier today here in the UK (she also co-incidentally announced her own engagement the day before they did!) ... and although the account has been active for more than a couple of years, Facebook have now taken the decision to close her down with immediate effect, for using an 'inappropriate or false' name!

Neither 'Kate' nor 'Middleton' are exactly unusual here in the UK ........

TC [Girl] said...

This is certainly a surprising/shocking headline! Wonder if it was another "secret" illness of a uber-successful Techy! :-/