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.


Twitter IDs approaching 64 bit

Oho, Twitters internal IDs are moving towards 64-bit integers. So remember to update your e.g. MySQL integer columns to BIGINT.


This means that if you currently use signed 32-bit integers to track user IDs in your system, you should update your code to use 64-bit integers as soon as you can. To be safe, and to provide a date to aim for, we recommend making this change by July 1, 2013.

The Twitter Theater

A really nice posting from regarding the upcoming (?) acquisition of TweetDeck for $50.000.000:

There has been recent friction between Twitter and UberMedia. In February, Twitter banned UberSocial and Twidroyd for API violations. This was just weeks after the rumors about the TweetDeck acquisition first hit the wires.


That brings us to today’s rumors about Twitter’s interest in TweetDeck. Recently, Twitter’s Ryan Sarver advised developers not to create Twitter clients that reproduce “the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience,” so it’s natural to think that Twitter is simply trying to consolidate its fragmented ecosystem by acquiring TweetDeck.

via Why Twitter Wants to Acquire TweetDeck.

5 Steps of Twitter success

The Five Steps of Twitter Success: Follow, Reply, Retweet, Share, Repeat

I want to break these down and go into some detail, because a lot of businesses may feel they are doing this already, and don’t understand why it’s not working.

Follow LOTS of people with varying interests… not just the folks that you think will buy what you’re selling.

Reply to anything you see that you have an answer in your head for (within reason.) People LOVE to be acknowledged, and sometimes we put something out we think is funny or interesting or needed and it just falls flat. Reply to people often – it is the only way to truly get to know them and become friends.

Retweet things that both apply and don’t apply to you and your mission. If it seems beneficial to many folks, or it gave you a hearty laugh, those tweets are great candidates for retweets and have nothing to do with your business (but it promotes lots of goodwill!)

Share all kinds of information. If you pick up some things at lunch at the mall because there is an incredible sale, share that – let people know because it might help them too. I often share job information because I have a client in the industry, but mainly because thousands of people are desperate for jobs! I don’t retweet every single thing I see, or share it, but if there is a hot-button issue like that you can share about that helps others, don’t hesitate because it doesn’t seem “on-topic” for your purpose.

Repeat daily and be consistent. Don’t just login to Twitter to promote something and go away. Find the time to work it into your daily routine if you want to use Twitter as a self-promotional tool. How else do you expect people to find you? Twitter by far sends more people to my sites, blogs and information than any search engine or advertising ever has. That is probably because I talk a lot!


Twitter: Using file based message queue instead of SQL database

Just found this in a pretty old article about Twitter and it’s architecture.

Now, a more sane way to do this (if I may be so bold) is to keep a message queue for every member, and whenever someone posts a new message, copy a pointer to that message into the queue of every member who’s subscribed. Then when someone polls, you just have to get the messages out of their queue and send them along. If that sounds kind of familiar, it’s because that’s exactly how email works — the Twitter posting interface is like a listserv, and the polling interface is like a POP server.

The cool thing is that you don’t even need a database to do this. You can store all of this stuff using very simple file formats, with one file per message queue. Since this is so much simpler than triple-decker SQL joins, one server can handle more requests; and if that’s too much, you can use a networked filesystem (or even a SAN) to distribute it across servers.

via Twitter, Rails, Hammers, and 11,000 Nails per Second | Thought Palace.