The arbitrariness of Facebook

Once upon a time there was a happy guy who lived for 5 years in a land called Facebook….


I could continue to write this post in a hip fairy-tale style, but unfortunately this is no fairy tale, there is no land called Facebook and there is no evil king called Mark The Great. There is just this company which arbitrariness just shocked me in these last days. But let me tell you the whole story:

Once I had a Facebook ‘life’, so let me visualise it

my little Facebook life
my little Facebook life

I didn’t have so many friends on this service and the last weeks I even deleted approx. 30 because I wanted to keep only the people I have talked to in real life for the last 1 year.
I managed lots of pages on Facebook including the official HAPPY CODING and Melt Mail fan page and couple of other pages with fans from 1 to 10.000. I paid approx. $150 in advertisement to Facebook during the last couple of month, which meant that they had a valid bank/PayPal account. I provided a valid e-mail and never used their service for sending e.g. SPAM.

Nevertheless they just disabled my account and deactivated all the connected pages, groups and applications.

message i get when trying to login
message i get when trying to login

Did they inform me before? No.

They provided a link to their FAQ which directs me to the reason “Bad Apps” where they say

Your account was disabled for violating Facebook’s Terms. Accounts that are used to create spam, collect inauthentic friendships or create malicious apps are not allowed on Facebook.

This is pretty weird, because I am not aware of creating a “malicious app”.

I send a request to reactivate my account and even sent a copy of my driving license as they require in this impertinent reactivating -process.

Did I get an answer? No. (….but im still waiting)

One of the most annoying things is that also 3rd-party web pages, which use their Facebook Connect authentication (like e.g. Spotify) won’t allow me to login again. And in the case of Spotify it’s not even possible to reset the password without a valid Facebook account.

After 10 emails with the Spotify support, the only solution they had was:

  1. they delete my old connected account
  2. they cancel the ‘ultimate subscription’ I had
  3. I create a new account
  4. I tell them if i want my playlists back and they will copy them from the old account

Step 4 is still in progress.

This whole farce shows again how arbitrarily Facebook or any other big service is. In the terms of service Facebook writes

If you violate the letter or spirit of this Statement, or otherwise create risk or possible legal exposure for us, we can stop providing all or part of Facebook to you. We will notify you by email or at the next time you attempt to access your account.

OK and they sticked to it. No mail for me, but a notification I get when I try to login. No warning before – regardless of dependencies to other services etc.

I don’t need Facebook to make a living, but imagine companies which business model is build on their service. Imagine some person who wrote an app and earns money with this app and is dependent on this money.

Facebook can lock you out and they don’t even care. They sit in their hip headquarters in California, petting their single speed bikes and pray to their leader.

I don’t know. On the one hand there are some advantages of this service like keeping in touch with old friends etc. On the other hand they treat you like a dataset and can activate and deactivate you whenever they want.

I will now give them some time to read the request. Maybe they already threw it in their virtual garbage, but maybe they care about their users and are only little bit slow.

In the end I have some quality time back.

Update July, 29th

Still no response from the kingdom.

Update September, 4th

OK, still no answer from their awesome support. :) So I can say: They don’t care about their users. But I don’t care anymore. So that is fine. And I have to say, that I save so much time for other things.