It was the best of times, period. August 12, 2008 4:57 PM   Subscribe

Big huge, ginormous thanks and hugs to Metafilter in general and Konolia in particular.

About a month ago, my wife and I were suddenly kicked off Facebook, so I posted to AskMefi for how fix the situation. Multiple suggestions, a private message or two, one rapidly grown Facebook group and a few hours later, our accounts are restored!

While it was a relatively minor issue, we're touched by the outpouring of help and the willingness to speak up on our behalf. Metafilter the community can have it's ups and downs and sometimes it makes ya want to shake the monitor in frustration.

Other times, it reminds you of just how good and awesome people can be, both as individuals and as a community. Thank you, very much. You've made a cynic smile with joy.

Big hugs to Konolia and her creation of a group on Facebook to help us out. Come on down to Savanah and I'll buy ya something deep fried.
posted by Brandon Blatcher to MetaFilter-Related at 4:57 PM (52 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I like Facebook because I can look at pictures of... you.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:59 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Did you ever figure out just what it was that did the trick? Did they email you or anything?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:59 PM on August 12, 2008


Yay! And I was all ready to join the Facebook group, too. Slow on the draw.
posted by Liosliath at 5:02 PM on August 12, 2008


Aw shucks, *blushes*...any of us would have done the same, I just beat them to it.

Do let us know if Facebook gives you an explanation. It still freaks me out this could have happened to you folks.
posted by konolia at 5:10 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ships passing in the night. I'm glad it got resolved; definitely dish if they tell you anything. (My money is on them not telling you anything.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 5:11 PM on August 12, 2008


So cool.
posted by rtha at 5:15 PM on August 12, 2008


Did you ever figure out just what it was that did the trick? Did they email you or anything?


Oh duh, yeah. I've been running around writing thank-yous, forget to follow up with details. I did get this email after someone privately said they'd do something behind the scenes:
Hi Brandon,

We have investigated the matter more thoroughly and have reinstated your accounts. I sincerely apologize for our error and the inconvenience you and your wife have gone through. I hope this will not deter you from fully enjoying the site in the future, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you experience any further problems.

Thank you,
(name snipped)
User Operations
Facebook
Here's a copy of the email I sent them a little earlier:
Hello again,

I'm sorry, but I feel I must press this matter, as I believe Facebook has erred in the belief that I was using a fake account. My account used my real name, with my real picture, where friends and business associates have confirmed me as a friend.

It should also be noted that you've made the same mistake with my wife, Lisa Blatcher, despite the fact that we were were listed as married to each other on Facebook and confirmed as such by the separate accounts.

I've written a blog entry about this on my webpage
(http://brandonblatcher.com/index.php/weblog/dear-facebook-it-really-is-me/),
which you'll note is a domain that uses my real name and the entry contains the uncropped version of my Facebook profile picture. I am also currently seeking advice from other internet users who know me (http://ask.metafilter.com/99021/What-the-hell-Facebook) on how to deal
with this matter.

Also note that I have called Facebook headquarters (650-543-4800) and left a message at approximately 5pm EST on August 12th, 2008, detailing the situation and asking for a call back, so I can fully explain the situation.

Finally, attached you'll find a scan of my license.

In closing, thank you for your time and understanding. However a mistake has been made and we need your help in correcting it. We look forward to working with you on this matter and should you require our assistance, please don't hesistate to call me at (number snipped).

Thanks again for your time.
I suspect that since the wife and I playing the game Mob Wars together on Facebook, and to put it frankly, kicking ass, someone who's ass we kicked either made up something or the fact me and her were clearly working together from the same IP address at almost the same times set off some automatic flag, which no one bothered to verify or check, which is quite eye opening and mind-boggling.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:20 PM on August 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


And that is why I love this place.

There is ALWAYS someone here who can go behind the scenes and do things.
posted by konolia at 5:23 PM on August 12, 2008


Oh, and this episode is NOT complete until Cortex writes a song about it.
posted by konolia at 5:26 PM on August 12, 2008


I dunno which is stupider, that they flagged your name as phony, while I'm operating as Clarity Darling on facebook, ffs (because I didn't want to even GO there, but you know, scrabulous), or how bloody serious and official the site is. As if it's the end-all, be-all social networking site. I wonder how long that will be the case.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:27 PM on August 12, 2008


And that is why the only thing I ever used Facebook for was to play the late, lamented Scrabulous. I've heard that it's harder to close an 'account' there than it was to cancel AOL Dial-Up Service ten years ago. If Brandon and Lisa can get more information, I'd love to use it to make myself disappear there.
posted by wendell at 5:31 PM on August 12, 2008


That was a really nice and effective letter Brandon, nice going.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:34 PM on August 12, 2008


For about a year I was "Darth [firstname]" on FB, since I didn't want to be found by real life acquaintances, but then when I decided that I wanted my real Firstname Lastname on there, it took about 4 months and numerous name change requests to actually change my name to the real one. OH THE IRONY.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 5:42 PM on August 12, 2008


I was absolutely astonished by this AskMe question because about six months ago, I created a facebook account for my dog. And the user picture was a picture of him. And he's a dog. And under occupation I wrote "I'm a dog." And no one ever said anything.

Real live people using real names with scores of business acquaintances, though, THAT'S suspect. So glad this was resolved for you, Brandon.
posted by kate blank at 5:44 PM on August 12, 2008 [4 favorites]


This is the second instance I've heard of Facebook sending a message that included "This decision is final" and then later reversing their decision. It's basically a lie.
posted by grouse at 5:44 PM on August 12, 2008


There is an interesting comparison between Facebook and Metafilter though. This would have never have happened here, while Facebook's sheer size means it's practically guaranteed this all sorts of messed up situations will regularly occur and that there's not much reason for FB to care, because there's so many people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:02 PM on August 12, 2008


I'm really glad you and your wife got your accounts back.

I found a story, one I mentioned in the AskMe thread, about another user whose account was disabled for the same reason but managed to reverse the decision. She only had her account reinstated after a group was started on her behalf, making a YouTube video, and knowing someone who had some influence.
posted by inconsequentialist at 6:16 PM on August 12, 2008


I just joined Facebook. And like Linked-in I don't even know why. Somebody invited me. So I did.

Then I let the person who invited me and my wife set up my profile and everything. Now all of a sudden I got all these "friends" and groups and shit. And not clue what the hell it's all for. Other than to remind me of somebodies birthday. Which makes me look all considerate a sensitive.

Every two minutes somebody I know in real life pings me though FaceBook when I could email them anyway. Or I may even be seeing them in person that week. It's like:
"Hi. I just saw your thing on Facebook four minutes ago. So. Um. Your playing scrabble and taking pictures of your cat or something?"

Then there is this awkward silence like it's Fight Club— you don't talk about FaceBook in real life. So it's not an ice-breaker for real contact? Weirder all these people, specifically recently divorced women, I haven't seen in years crawl out of the woodwork to be my "friend", which I suppose is nice. But it's weird.

It's all over my head. I guess what I'm trying to say is—since I'm married and don't need to leverage this to get laid—how do I make money off this thing or get it to buy me drinks or mow my lawn. Because frankly I see no other purpose.
posted by tkchrist at 6:39 PM on August 12, 2008 [12 favorites]


A popular jape among my friends was to change someone's name if they'd left themselves logged on. Whilst this is actually a rather painless and swift procedure, it turns out that you can only do it so many times in a short span before they block it. Hence a friend of mine being left with a joke name for about 12 weeks.
posted by djgh at 6:52 PM on August 12, 2008


I see that you've stumbled across the little-known fact that both Facebook and Metafilter are controlled by the same cabal group of people.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:11 PM on August 12, 2008


Wow. I'm totally late to the game! I'm glad you and the missus are reinstated, Brandon. Sorry to hear about the complicated ordeal.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 7:35 PM on August 12, 2008


tkchrist - I don't get it either. I think you need to be under the age of 25. I used to work on a college campus a few years ago, and they would spend multiple hours every day on Facebook. I have no idea how anybody could spend that much time on some dumb web site... oh wait
posted by jpdoane at 7:36 PM on August 12, 2008


Hurray for Brandon & Lisa and Way to Go, konolia!

and this is like the 157th clue from the universe this week to sign up, so I did.
posted by pointystick at 7:40 PM on August 12, 2008


I'm 42 and I'm really digging Facebook. I didn't at first. Or rather, I enjoyed playing around with it for a couple of days, then I got bored with it, then I got irritated by it. It drove me crazy how people constantly bugged me with dump movie quizes and games.

Then I found a dear, dear high school friend there, someone I'd lost track of for twenty years. He and I started chatting on Facebook, and together we discovered that a bunch of other old friends were on that site. We formed a group, invited them, and it currently has sixteen active members. We're at that age when we're a bit nostalgic and are really enjoying reconnecting with each other.

We're also posting a lot of photos and links to each others sites and blogs. It's great to have one place where all we can do all that stuff.

It could easily have been some other site (though not the garish myspace) . It just so happened that a bunch of us were on Facebook. The moral for me was that Facebook is a tool. It's not just useful because it's there. It's useful if you happen to need a meeting place. Meeting places are useful. Facebook is one of many.
posted by grumblebee at 8:00 PM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Then there is this awkward silence like it's Fight Club— you don't talk about FaceBook in real life.

You missed out on FB during your college days.

You could always tell it was finals week by the direct correlation of friends' activity. After parties or pretty much anything, the rage was/is to post all your pics- the more embarrassing the better, future prospects be damned! At the HS I work at, FB comes up on a daily basis among the kids, and sometimes among us old folk, though usually not for good reasons in that case.

Also, you're not in a real relationship until it's defined on FB. Shallow, but it's just the way it is.
posted by jmd82 at 8:23 PM on August 12, 2008


grumblebee, there's a way of blocking all of those app invites. I can't remember precisely how to do it (and I don't think it's in Account, Privacy or Applications as I just looked), but I suspect that next time you get one, you can tell Facebook to ignore all application invites by going into all requests and selecting a small Ignore or Block link. It's not very obvious. I did, and my life has been much better for it.

Also, if you're super paranoid about personal info being let loose, as long as you're not using any applications, go into Privacy -> Applications, and then select the checkbox that doesn't allow any app to access your private info. Apparently there was a security exploit a while back that certain apps could get all of a persons friends' info via that loophole. Of course, you can't use Scrabulous or Prolific or anything if you do.
posted by djgh at 8:41 PM on August 12, 2008


tkchrist - I once drunkenly accosted a friend of a friend, who I'd seen on Facebook. I believe my opening gambit was "I saw you in Facebook. I remember because you've got a funny name".

Incredibly, we're actually friends now.

These comments aren't reflecting well on me at all, are they?
posted by djgh at 8:44 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, and this episode is NOT complete until Cortex writes a song about it.

Here goes. Some of the phrasing's a bit off, but it's a start:

They tried to kick me off o’ facebook but I said 'no, no, no'
Yes I kicked ass with wife on Mob Wars, you know know know
I ain't got the time and if mathowie thinks I'm fine
They tried to kick me off o’ facebook but I won't go go go

I'd rather be there than the grey
(ain't gotta wait seven days)
Though there's nothing
There's nothing you can teach me
That I can't learn from Mr Matt Haughey

I didn't break their terms of use
And I know I won’t put up with abuse

They tried to kick me off o’ facebook but I said 'no, no, no'
Yes I kicked ass with wife on Mob Wars, you know know know
I ain't got the time and if mathowie thinks I'm fine
They tried to kick me off o’ facebook but I won't go go go

The man said 'why do you fake names here?'
I said 'I got no idea
I'm gonna, I'm gonna lose my profile
so I always keep konolia near'
He said 'I just think you're a pest’
This me, ‘Right baby, face the rest'

They tried to kick me off o’ facebook but I said 'no, no, no'
Yes I kicked ass with wife on Mob Wars, you know know know

I don't wanna start afresh again
I just ooh I just need my friends
I'm not gonna spend ten weeks
Have everyone add me once again

It's not just my pride
It's just 'til these tears have dried

They tried to kick me off o’ facebook but I said 'no, no, no'
Yes I kicked ass with wife on Mob Wars, you know know know
I ain't got the time and if mathowie thinks I'm fine
They tried to kick me off o’ facebook but I won't go go go

posted by UbuRoivas at 9:27 PM on August 12, 2008 [11 favorites]


As we say down at the conservatoire: CHOON!
posted by Jofus at 11:13 PM on August 12, 2008


*Has visions of Ubu with a beehive and Cleopatra eyeliner, wagging his finger in short shorts*

Nice work Brandon, Lisa and Konolia! Glad you were able to sort it out. What a ridiculous situation.
posted by goo at 2:42 AM on August 13, 2008


We are all pretty much aware that, between online spying and data mining+sales and astonishingly clumsy data exposure, anything we put online is public knowledge or will be soon. The inverse principle seems almost as important (especially at a time when so many are all gaga over online services and online apps): things you need and should have access to are likely to disappear. (warning, boingboing link)
posted by jfuller at 5:50 AM on August 13, 2008


You may have fooled Facebook, but you don't fool me, Blatcher. If that is your real name (which it isn't).
posted by electroboy at 6:49 AM on August 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


*Has visions of Ubu with a beehive and Cleopatra eyeliner, wagging his finger in short shorts*

have we met somewhere in real life?
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:53 AM on August 13, 2008


Damnit, I never got a chance to join the group. Can someone else please have some controversy so I can join their group?
posted by desjardins at 7:25 AM on August 13, 2008


Not to be morbid or ruin the party, but a friend of mine was killed in a car crash last week and I *wish* they would take down his Facebook page. I guess that just before he died, he must have sent out a bunch of friend invites to people who don't check the site much. Because every day, he's there in my news feed "Rich and so and so are now friends." His page lists "activity" every day. It's almost unbearable. Have they come up with protocols or etiquette to deal with death on Facebook?
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:42 AM on August 13, 2008


Death does not exist. That is final.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:20 AM on August 13, 2008


CunningLinguist, a lot of times the old pages turn into memorial sites, I think. I suppose it depends on what the family wants?
posted by konolia at 8:27 AM on August 13, 2008


My hamster has a facebook, but it's not really for him. It's for me to pretend I'm him and say nasty things about myself on my regular facebook wall because no one ever comments any more. It's completely ridiculous that no one has caught on that it's a fake account. I mean, hell, his profile picture is of him eating taco bell, AND HE NEVER EATS TACO BELL. HE LOVES WENDY'S! jesus, the "Facebook Team" has no idea what they're doing.
posted by shmegegge at 8:47 AM on August 13, 2008


CunningLinguist, that serves as a good reminder to put your passwords to social sites/email in a location where your friends/family can find them just in case.
posted by desjardins at 8:56 AM on August 13, 2008


Cunninglinguist - if memory serves, coldchef once made a fantastic post of protocols to follow in the event of someone's death (and in preparation of your own,) Maybe he/someone could find it for you. I can't, i'm on my mobile. (CHECK ME OUT!)
posted by Jofus at 9:57 AM on August 13, 2008


Oh, man, I was so afraid that I'd open this and see that you'd been born again in Christ or something, and were now witnessing to the MeFites.
posted by klangklangston at 10:27 AM on August 13, 2008


Heh, I joined the Facebook group after it was resolved. So glad it was, though.

And then I noticed that there's a "Metafilter" group, too. (I'm testing the 'new' Facebook and it seems to give me insane URLs, so I don't think I can link.) It's kind of awkward, though, since I have no clue who anyone is when they use their real names. ;)

@CL: my cousin passed away a couple years ago. I can see why you'd be creeped out by ongoing activity from the account, but I, for one, hope my cousin's page stays up indefinitely. As konolia says, it's basically a memorial now. Every now and then, when the mood strikes, I write on his wall telling him that I miss him.
posted by fogster at 10:32 AM on August 13, 2008


have we met somewhere in real life?

Worried about a stalker? Or exposure of your secret double life as an Amy Winehouse impersonator ;) ?

Nothing so exciting I'm afraid - I'm just a sucker for meetup photos.
posted by goo at 1:00 PM on August 13, 2008


A former student of mine (19 yrs old) was tragically killed on his brand new street bike on July 4th. Facebook is how I learned of his death, everybody was posting RIP messages in the newsfeed. I called another student and learned what had happened.

His Facebook page has become a memorial and has lots of activity. I appreciate the need for his friends to express their sorrow with a medium that they so closely relate to but it is still very hard for me to see the activity come across feed. It is a constant reminder of his loss. Hopefully it will help keep another child safe.
posted by pearlybob at 1:12 PM on August 13, 2008


"There is an interesting comparison between Facebook and Metafilter though. This would have never have happened here"

Actually, when I came back to MeFi after a looooong absence (like, AskMe was invented in there someplace), and I no longer had the email address I signed up with, mathowie send me my password to my new email. (I'm assuming because it was pretty easy to figure out that I'm me online.)

I just did the facebook thing last week because it seems a shocking number of high school acquaintances can be found there. And what the hell -- it's not like I have plans to go to a reunion, so I may as well reconnect via the interwebs.
posted by epersonae at 2:22 PM on August 13, 2008


jfuller: "things you need and should have access to are likely to disappear."

Yes, they will. This happened me in 2002 when some arsehole decided to flag a ToS violation against my Yahoo account. Everything gone - contacts, email, notes, points, photos, mailing lists, websites. That really was "final". I eventually got someone in the executive team who investigated several years later and found no reason was actually recorded, and no investigation was performed. Someone just toggles a bit in the database and you're gone.

Surely the killer app for all these social sites is a central repository that can re-create a personal data cloud with a minimum of effort. Or there should be "social consumer regulation", giving protection to one's consumption of their services as surely as such protections exist for tangible goods and proferred services.
posted by meehawl at 10:41 PM on August 14, 2008


This might explain why these sites generally include fine print stating that anything you write or post or whatever becomes the intellectual property of the site. If they own it, they can do what they like with it. If you were to retain copyright, you might conceivably be able to bring an action against them to have the content returned to you.

It's suprising that they're apparently so trigger-happy with their deletions, though, when storage these days is about the cheapest component of IT, and halving in cost every year. The amount stored for each profile must also be quite small, and very carefully optimised.

I suppose that they're trying to protect against things like impersonators, sockpuppets, jokey profiles & the like, which would diminish the perceived utility of the site as a kind of online directory of actual flesh & blood people...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:23 PM on August 14, 2008


I suppose that they're trying to protect against things like impersonators, sockpuppets, jokey profiles & the like, which would diminish the perceived utility of the site as a kind of online directory of actual flesh & blood people...?

Yes, I think they saw how Friendster decayed into uselessness, in part because it was full of this sort of cruft.
posted by grouse at 11:30 PM on August 14, 2008


I forgot spammers.

I could easily imagine fake profiles of hot guys or girls befriending you only to eventually direct you to some spammy site or application.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:00 AM on August 15, 2008


grouse: "Friendster decayed into uselessness, in part because it was full of this sort of cruft."

Friendster lost popularity because:

A) The new, "professional" management decided to expend considerable resources to refocus it as a tiresomely conventional dating site just as the MySpace marketing team had decided to primarily target Friendster's audience for acquisition.

B) It was slow as hell for the longest time, leading to user frustration.

C) In tandem with the new "professional" focus, it's formerly rather fluid interface and identity options were constrained, to the extent that many of its then-current and potential users deserted it for the less restrictive social sites. When they weren't being actively targetted for deletion.
posted by meehawl at 9:10 AM on August 15, 2008


Have they come up with protocols or etiquette to deal with death on Facebook?

A friend of mine from Virginia Tech created this group, which is pretty big and seems to have been pretty effective in altering Facebook's policies on what to do when someone dies - his take on the issue is pretty much the opposite of yours, though.
posted by naoko at 7:11 AM on August 17, 2008


No, I get that the profiles become memorials and that's touching and so on. I was just talking about the inherant creepiness of the days right after the death, when residual "activity" makes it seem like the person is still alive and using the site. When I said I wished they would take down his profile, I didn't really mean they should take down all dead people's profiles, just that I personally found it eerie and sad.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:18 AM on August 17, 2008


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