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.

Open Compute Mechanical System Design

Last week Facebook announced the Open Compute Project (Perspectives, Facebook). I linked to the detailed specs in my general notes on Perspectives and said I would follow up with more detail on key components and design decisions I thought were particularly noteworthy. In this post we’ll go through the mechanical design in detail.

via Perspectives – Open Compute Mechanical System Design.

Downloading your Facebook data

I didn’t know this before: Facebook allows you to download all the data you’ve posted to it, including photos, messages etc.

This tool lets you download a copy of your information, including your photos and videos, posts on your wall, all of your messages, your friend list and other content you have shared on your profile. Within this zip file you will have access to your data in a simple, browseable manner. Learn More about downloading a copy of your information.

You can find this export tool via

Account > Settings

Download Your Information

HipHop: PHP to C++ transformer

Nice compiler Facebook developed and use for optimizing their web application.

HipHop for PHP transforms PHP source code into highly optimized C++. It was developed by Facebook and was released as open source in early 2010.

HipHop transforms your PHP source code into highly optimized C++ and then compiles it with g++ to build binary files. You keep coding in simpler PHP, then HipHop executes your source code in a semantically equivalent manner and sacrifices some rarely used features – such as eval() – in exchange for improved performance.

Facebook sees about a 50% reduction in CPU usage when serving equal amounts of Web traffic when compared to Apache and PHP. Facebook’s API tier can serve twice the traffic using 30% less CPU.

via Home – hiphop-php – GitHub.

Facebook SDK for Android

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

The Facebook SDK for Android broadens our support for mobile platforms, which also includes iPhone apps and mobile websites.
You can begin integrating the following Facebook Platform features into your Android applications today:

  • Strong authentication using OAuth 2.0
  • Making requests to the new Graph API
  • Publishing stories back to Facebook via Feed forms

(via: Facebook Developer Blog)

Facebook Chat now supports Jabber/XMPP

As a developer, you can support Facebook Chat using the same underlying technology as other Jabber-based networks. You can integrate Facebook Chat into your own standalone chat client like Adium, iChat, or Pidgin. And with Facebook Connect, your users can easily authenticate with your chat client, like Meebo. AOL also announced support for Facebook Chat within the latest version of AIM.
(via Facebook)