Facebook disables Everyone

I had recently learned that facebook has been disabling accounts on a wide basis in these past months. This appears to be the case when they discreetly added rate limits to their platform in their recent update package. Some users were disabled simply for sending out too many facebook messages, wall posts or discussion posts at any time, which is automatically considered spam. A few others were simply disabled for attempting to change their account names.

So far this mass shutdown has affected the “heavy users” or those who frequently post on group discussions. In large groups with heavy activity a user can produce about 10-50 posts in less than an hour, which is flagged as abuse or spam in the facebook automated bots. It really seems odd that facebook would impose post limits when the ability to socialise in a wide setting seems to be the SNS’s ultimate goal.

Plus, this heavy activity allows Facebook to acquire loads of data that can be used to mine for information that could be applied to marketing agencies, ongoing platform development, and even sent to the CIA (Facebook’s original backers). It seems odd they would just penalise a wide array of users just for helping them generate information and users through their actions.

After doing a blog search on google with the keywords “facebook disabled account”, I found several posts just from the month of August discussing the disabled accounts. Many of these accounts were largely due to facebook being unable to handle too many messages, too many wall posts, or discussion posts. A few of these disabled accounts involve developers creating applications that were just sucking up capacity in the facebook platform. So after hours if not months of work creating a killer facebook application, a developer suddenly learns his account is deactivated because his facebook app was so well-received.

Note: There is no customer service telephone number for this organisation, and my calls and subsequent messages to their Palo Alto headquarters went unreturned. We are imprisoned by the current facebook monopoly. All of the contact information that we ever need is on this site and so much more information too.

Here is how one blogger summed up the problem:

Oh well. I doubt anyone will get to read or see this because my blog won’t be fed into my mini-feed… because I don’t even have an account let alone a mini-feed right now! Come to think of it – that’s one other lesson to learn from this…. how many email addresses of your friends that you have found on facebook do you have backed up? Im guessing it’s a similar percentage to me… Maybe if you read this, you should also take out of it that your next ‘note’ posted on facebook, is to ask them to all send you their proper emails to have as a back-up outside of the Facebook wall.

It’s a problem when users are suddenly disabled without real warning. Sometimes random messages will flash saying you are abusing or spamming the group boards, yet all members are responding within seconds in an active thread. How can this be spamming, when a topic is generating such enthusiasm, adding to the discussion, and populated by nearly a quarter million users? The worst part about facebook’s arbitrary and uncoordinated disabling of accounts is that none of these users are even aware there are limits on using facebook, especially when it was constantly marketed as a social network that encourages activity..

Here is something another blogger said about all of this:

Dear Bloggers, and the Facebook Staff

I am somwhat tired of this charade.

So, this is a message to Facebook and the Facebook staff, start to consider that perhaps you are destroying countless hours of work, and are now starting to agitate a large number of powerful users.

You have limited time to re-active those accounts that you have mindlessly disabled before you will encounter a rather ferocios shit-storm like you have never encountered before. Trust me, we all just want to be happy, but your mechanistic failure to adapt will leave you with a gaping hole.

Never underestimate the power of large groups of angry people

Here are some other blogs that go futher on the problem

http://nthambazale.blogspot.com/2007/08/my-facebook-account-is-back.html – A university professor details the problems he had when he was trying to find information on facebook

http://chrisbrinkworth.com/digital/media/?p=17 – A Digital Media marketer is abruptly disabled after sending out group messages to members.

http://www.sidneymorsels.com/2007/08/people-vs-facebook-final-showdown.html – A writer details his problems dealing with Facebook Customer Support and for being disabled just for reverting to his real name

http://prez.wordpress.com/2006/10/16/facebook-has-a-post-limit/ – A blogger’s genuine shock on learning posting limits actually exist on facebook

http://thatkathryngirl.typepad.com/that_kathryn_girl/2007/08/why-is-facebook.html – A professionals shock over network limits and learning his colleagues dealings in disabled accounts

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ann-handley/too-popular-for-facebook_b_59105.html – A Huffington post exploring how a facebook user was unjustly banned just for inviting his contacts to join facebook


11 thoughts on “Facebook disables Everyone

  1. Lu Xun – this was a great post. Thanks for the quote. There is nothing like a frantic search online for information about your acount being disabled when it happens!

    In all fairness to Facebook, I just want to clarify one point that is out of context (my writing is eratic, so – my fault!) Where you mention how Facebook “Abruptly disabled my account after sending out group messages to members” – that is not the case. I was disabled, because I posted on too many walls and emailed too many strangers. I WAS spamming. The email that I quote from Facebook in my post; was in relation to a seperate ongoing issue. The issue concerns the ‘group email’ facility is currently broken and does not allow me to send group messages.

    To put some love back in the air, I’ve posted a thank you note to Facebook http://chrisbrinkworth.com/digital/media/?p=23

  2. Thanks for the clarification. In my case, I was disabled for posting heavily in an extremely lively discussion in a group populated by 250000 users.

    It’s possible that the rapid responses on the walls and boards were misinterpreted as abuse or SPAM. Each of my posts were original contributions that actually added to the discussions.

    It would be great if Facebook has QA these potential issues instead of simply disabling everyone’s account. It would also help to create a separate category for disabling to distinguish between the real abusers and those who made honest mistakes.

  3. I was actually disabled by Michael Leaf of the toronto , ontario canada network apparently i was rude to him at that point he threatened to have my account deleted about 10 mins later i got the same screen about my accoutn disabled because of Rate Limits. I CAN NOT beleive that this person has some power at facebook to delete my account because i told him to go find his own wireless card for the PDA i was looking to sell i was in no way spamming anywhere he just swore at me told me to fuck off and to shuve my PDA up my ass then this guy had my account diabled anyone know anything i can do about this because i cant beleive that this has happen i honestly will look at facebook differently and if this guy works for them then i will see them as very un professional and un organized .

  4. Facebook disable me because I wrote 10 messages for womens on dating application.
    The messages were almost the same, except the names of the womens.
    They disabled me yesterday, and I am still waiting.
    I think we need to put a link on google for compatitors of facebook under the name facebook, and click it.

  5. I say we crash their site. Do we have the strength and power to topple this fascist dictatorship? I propose an electronic Jihad. Please read my blog on the attached link to see my running trials and tribulations with this site. At this point, they up and cancelled me, with over 200 hours of work on my site, pages, events, profiles and advertisements. They are billing my card even though I no longer have an account. I called the Palo Alto offices at 650-543-4800 to dispute the bill (as it’s ads for a deleted site they’re billing me for) and had to call 3 times before a human picked up. I talked to a female Sam (supposedly the only Sam that works there, yeah right) and she said they do NOT offer voice billing support. i told her that by refusing to work with me, she is okaying my choice to dispute the charges with my credit card company. We’ll see. If you have ANY problems with the site or infrastructure, please call them, ask to talk to SAM, and tell them “DJ Boba Fett sent you.”

  6. As Lisa above has said, it seems that the lies of trolls are not only taken as gospel and lead therefore to the disabling of innocent users, they are also allowed to stay on the site themselves, despite constant haranguing of other users and numerous reports for their behaviour.

    I am disappointed to see the facebookdisable website is not still active,. and am considering setting one up msyself, as this has now happened to me twice, no warning or anything, and very slow response.

    Anyone having issues withFB disabling them for no reason, please feel free to contact me at: patsypaytsypatsy @ hotmail . com






  8. Mine was just disabled yesterday for no apparent reason. I’m not a heavy user – I have just over 100 friends on there and I don’t have massive amount of content. I’m only a member of a couple of relatively silly groups (I love pho fo sho etc..) I can’t think of any message that’s on there where it could have been misconstrued as spam.

    I use facebook to contact people I want to meet; or people who’s telephone numbers/email addresses I simply don’t have. I’ve emailed them using my login address (as requested) with no response… I fail to see how I’ve gone against ANY of their T&C’s.

    It’s irritating (their FAQ page is incredibly unhelpful). I have contacts saved on facebook which are close friends I haven’t seen for years – and intended to contact. Surely this is the point of a social network? I was never warned at any time.

    What makes this more disconcerting is the amount of feedback online, stating that users aren’t getting their accounts restored. All of this makes me question the way such an organisation is run, and whether I would really want them to have any of my information in the first place.


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