Tuesday, April 10, 2007

your account is disabled: what it's like to be booted from facebook

The day facebook tore down its ivy walls and let regular Universities join was a big deal for me. I have a few friends at those schools (entirely for networking purposes, of course) and had already heard about the thrill of a first poke. Nonetheless, it took a few "real life"™ friends to convince me of the site's merit once it came to UVA.

"I know we're already friends, but now we can be facebook friends!"

I was convinced. I needed an online repository for all my friends, real or otherwise.

Time passed and I became bored of my own identity (Alexis Ohanian). Plus, I'd also started reddit with Steve, so I thought our alien mascot (pictured above, only usually less angry) needed an account. I used my school email account and within minutes had put together a nifty little auto-biography that I felt was just narcissistic enough.

Over the last two years of reddit's life, our alien had become fairly popular. It received friend requests from a number of people, as well as other notable mascots -- like the Fog Creek Kiwi. Always cordial, the reddit mascot always accepted, even after the friend details revealed the debauchery of past nights:

"I hooked up with the reddit mascot in 2005 and it was out of this world"

"I travelled with the reddit mascot to the City of Love (not philly)"

Only a few weeks ago, I tried logging into our alien's account (we share everything). I was informed that the account had been disabled and to contact disabled@facebook.com to get it reactivated.

But why? What had our mascot done? Its only crime is adorability (and perhaps a bit of know-it-all-ness, but I think that comes with time-travelling).

It took a total of 15 emails with 3 different people to prove who I was and get an explanation (yes, and just like Mark promised at Startup School, the first one was responded to immediately -- by a robot).

Fake names are a violation of our Terms of Use. Facebook requires users to provide their full first name and at least one letter of their last name. Impersonating anyone or anything is prohibited. Nicknames are only permitted if they are a variation of your first or last name.

Is it because we've been so tight-lipped about the alien's real name? Or are they really trying to crack down on facebook accounts with "fake names"? Does this mean I'll lose my friendships with Kirk Hammett and Lars Ulrich? (Wright State and Texas A&M students, respectively) Is my status with all six of my Jessica Albas in jeopardy?

I'd rather not think about that right now. I should have just said "reddit" is a nickname for "Alexis" and "mascot" is the anglicized version of "Ohanian".

What's become of reddit mascot? It's been renamed to "Alexis Ohanian". That's right, I'm now married to myself. Sigh. I may be an only child, but this is a bit much.


Kevin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kevin said...

They don't seem to enforce rules about nicknames as long as you include you real name too.

I've been Kevin rupertmurdochsucks Fischer for a while now without a problem.

alexis [kn0thing] said...

Good to know, Kevin. Thanks. I'll see if I can appeal...

Michael said...

I had a fake account deleted as well - in the early days before groups, there were tons of fake profiles and friending someone was like proclaiming your group status.

Then groups came along, and a couple of months later, all the blatant fake accounts were gone, overnight. Poof.

To be honest, I think it's a good thing - it prevents it from becoming myspacy and makes it more difficult for spambots to get tons of personal info.

Bernard Park said...

Yeah that was pretty disappointing. You should just use your earth names and use your respective reddit aliens as the default pictures.

Seriously though. I'm still friends with
Eris Discordia, Vladimir Lenin and Gregory House. Why would they select Reddit Alien for deletion? Racists.

alexis [kn0thing] said...

You may have a point about the spambots, but what I'm really looking for is facebook to make an exception just for the reddit alien. To hell with all the other fake accounts ;-)

Vladimir Lenin, still? Crazy! He stopped returning my pokes about 3 months ago. There is clearly an anti-alien agenda within facebook...

DarkHorse1k969 said...

Do not tolerate a business treating you unfairly. Stand up and report them to the Better Business Bureau, if your issue cannot be resolved through other means.

Facebook is a member of the BBB. I am posting their info to remind people that this is not a "faceless" entity who can do whatever it wants without scrutiny.

Please repost this info, so others will know they are not powerless if they believe their rights are being infringed upon. Thanks.

BBB Reliability Report

BBB® Serving the Silicon Valley
700 Empey Way Suite 110
San Jose, CA 95128-4705
(408) 278-7400

156 University Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301-1631
Telephone: (650) 543-4800
Fax: (650) 543-4801

The BBB reports on members and non-members. If a company is a member of the BBB, it is stated in this report

BBB Definition:

report - A summary of activity reflected in a company's BBB file. Includes basic business background, BBB membership information, and BBB complaint activity over the previous three years. Also reports may include any known government actions, advertising issues or other information that results from activity conducted by the BBB.


Original Business Start Date: February 2004
Local Start Date: June 2004
Principal: Mark Zuckerberg, CEO
Customer Contact: Tom LeNoble, Customer Service - (650) 543-4800
Entity: Corporation
Incorporated: December 2014, DE
Employees: 100
TOB Classification: Internet Products & Services
BBB Membership: This company is a member.

ian said...

i`ve been disabled from face book and not sure why
few time i did ask why and nobody got back to me

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