Popular technology site, Ars Technica, woke up one Thursday morning to find their Facebook account locked and the following notice from Zuckerberg Inc. in their inbox.
We have removed or disabled access to the following content that you have posted on Facebook because we received a notice from a third party that the content infringes or otherwise violates their rights:
Fbpage: Ars Technica
We strongly encourage you to review the content you have posted to Facebook to make sure that you have not posted any other infringing content, as it is our policy to terminate the accounts of repeat infringers when appropriate.
If you believe that we have made a mistake in removing this content, then please visit http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1108 for more information.
The supposedly helpful link proved to be no help at all since, as of noon the same day, the account remained locked and Ars Technica had no more answers than they’d woken up to. They were given no details from Facebook of the alleged infringement nor were they ever warned for any previous infraction (probably because there weren’t any).
“Truly, we awoke to find that Facebook had summoned a judge, jury, and executioner and carried out its swift brand of McJustice all without bothering to let us know that there was even a problem,” they added bitterly on the original article (found here).
Admittedly, copyright’s a big deal and the last thing a seemingly well-oiled machine like Facebook wants is to be the vehicle of its infringement. What’s curious, however, is that any third-party with an email address can report such a complaint.
Ars Technica wasn’t the first victim. On a 10:29 CDT update, they reported other casualties, including Neowin, Redmond Pie, and a Facebook user going by the name rumielf, whose theater group page was the target of unfounded copyright infringement violations. Perhaps most notable is the account lock of sex blogger and rights activist Violet Blue, whose women’s group was removed from Facebook after anti-porn crusaders filed a claim (and openly thanked Facebook for the removal afterward).
Keep Your Enemies Close?
If these claims are so easy to make—by anyone from a group with an opposing socio-political agenda to an individual who just wants to mess with another user’s head—why is Facebook still allowing it to happen (and why are they not apologizing)? The removal of a Facebook page is these days much more than an inconvenience; it can mean a loss of clients, publicity, data, and more. That Facebook has yet to do anything about this despite rising incidents over the last month leads one to believe it’s not the well-oiled machine its streamlined image intimates.
And what are we to do until they deign to answer the questions of us, the hoi polloi? You know what they say about friends and enemies.
Have you been suspended from Facebook or or has anyone you know been removed?
Guest Author Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and researcher for College Scholarships, where recently she’s been researching tuition scholarships as well as trade school loans. Whenever she gets some free time, she enjoys watching a funny movie or curling up with a good book.
Image by Andrew Feinberg