Facebook: The Anti-Social Social Network

November 14, 2008 at 4:32 pm 12 comments

You know that expression “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”? Well, how about “Hell hath no fury like a social networker scorned”?

A couple of weeks ago I had my Facebook account disabled with no warning or explanation. I’d been online in the evening and had left the page open while I took an overseas call. When I returned to the computer – BANG!! No more Facebook. Needless to say, I was not amused. I figured it was yet another of their multitudinous technological glitches – the very same glitches that have prevented me from accessing many of the applications I have loaded. I mean, I can receive Poke Pros, but I can’t seem to send them back out. What’s the world coming to? I figured this time something truly major had malfunctioned. However, when my bear was able to get into his Facebook account, I realised that things were definitely not kosher.

For several days running, I sent copious emails to copious Facebook email addresses, as did many of my Facebook friends, who wished to lodge their protests over my apparent and tragic assassination. I hadn’t done anything I could think of to bring the wrath of the Silicon Valley gods down upon me. My only consolation that it had all been some dreadful mistake was down to the fact that on the very same night my account went missing, so too did my mother’s. Now this was truly bizarre, especially since she uses it nowhere near to the slavish and fanatical extent in which I do. I smelled conspiracy. And I was out for blood. There was more at stake here than simple social networking. I had things on my Facebook of great sentimental value to me – and perhaps this was what hurt the most: losing them forever.

To say that I was ready to recruit any surviving members of the Weathermen (or those not still in prison) to come with me to Palo Alto and do some major sorting out would not have been an understatement. (I should add that I’ve been told I look pretty hot in khaki too.) Had I actually boarded that flight to Northern California, well… let’s just say that Mark Zuckerberg (can we think of anything that rhymes with “Zuckerberg”?) would have been wise to pack up his cojones and head for the Mexican border. This was NOT how The Queen of Facebook should be treated!

When I received an email containing a Washington Post link from a friend about what can only be described as an indiscriminate cull by Facebook against its users, I really freaked out. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but there definitely appears to be a discriminatory policy in operation here. My bear has been the victim of it; so too have a number of his mates who, like him, don’t qualify as sharing the same species as you and I do. Having said that, I know plenty of homo sapiens who have likewise been treated unfairly, having their accounts randomly and bizarrely disabled for reasons known only to some anonymous entities hiding behind a computer screen whose sole source of social interaction is derived courtesy of their own hand. Bad enough to get scolded for adding too many friends or joining too many groups, but where will it end? Delete accounts of people who have a big schnoz? (Guess Babs Streisand will be shit out of luck on this one!)

To make the situation even more bizarre, only a few weeks before my enforced disappearance from my favourite social networking site I received an ominous message from the Facebook gods that a photo I’d uploaded had been removed due to a “violation of terms of use”. Now that puzzled me. What could I possibly have posted that could even remotely have violated anything? A photo of me at a book launch? A photo of me at my mother’s house? A photo of me with my bear? WHAT? Hell, I’ve seen stuff on Facebook that’s downright pornographic, to say nothing of the kind of groups they allow to proliferate – groups which should only be allowed on a subscription porn site, not on a mainstream social networking site. Hell, I’ve seen profile photos of women who look as if they’re plying their dodgy wares on a street corner. But who gets a threatening message about violating terms of use? Me! So I combed through my various photos, trying to figure out which one had been excised out of existence. And guess what? It was the book jacket for my anthology Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers (Amazon US/UK/Ca). I nearly fell off my chair. Okay, it’s got nudity, but it’s artful and subtle nudity, not pornographic nudity. You see raunchier stuff on a postcard from Miami Beach. I couldn’t help wondering who in my circle of 4,000 plus Facebook friends would have complained about the cover of a book I’d done, especially if they were interested in having me as a friend in the first place! Ironically, Wicked has been and still is being sold by major booksellers – and placed out on the front tables, not relinquished to some unreachable top shelf in the rear of the store next to the toilets. Clearly, Borders and Waterstones have no objection to the book jacket. Go figure.

Anyway, my story has a happy ending… at least for now. I’m back online at Facebook and, I am pleased to say, was apparently sorely missed. In fact, I received a number of messages and wall posts from people I’d never even spoken to before, welcoming me back and saying that it had been really boring without me. Gosh. Perhaps there is something to this social networking gig after all. I mean, a little bit of mass adoration can go a long way.

And who knows? That random poke you receive might develop into the love of your life! (If it doesn’t lead you into the arms of a serial killer first.)

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Three Essex Boys and a Loft Wrecked on the Isle of Wight (Minus a Ship)

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Evelyn  |  November 14, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    i had a facebook closed down because i used a nondeplum ? it was to comply with family court order that when contacting my children the page have no pics addresses or personal info so after 14 years of fighting for contact i get it i set up the facebook my kids send letters and when i go to retrieve them the site is closed letters lost. and the family court sees it as my fault and contact is removed thanks face book. do they not know how many thousand facebook pages ahve fake names?

    Reply
  • 2. mitziszereto  |  November 14, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    they are playing with people’s lives. i had things on there of great sentimental value to me, and the thought of them being lost forever tore my heart out. it isn’t about just having a laugh or networking. there is a lot more at risk when you get your account disabled. i’m sorry about what happened to you. all i can suggest is to try to email them and explain (disabled@facebook.com and appeals@facebook.com). good luck.

    Reply
  • 3. Cathy Buburuz  |  November 14, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    I really enjoyed this little opinion piece, but all that stuff about your book cover being removed from the site made me angry. Who appointed facebook as the internet police and the censorship board? Why are some people’s accounts being shut down for no apparent reason? You’d think some sort of discussion would go on prior to facebook taking action against someone. For example, anyone can file a false claim against someone, so why wouldn’t the people at facebook send you an email explaining why they wanted to close your account, before actually closing it? And maybe give you a chance to explain your side of the story. These are things we need to know. No one wants their @$$ kicked off here without an explanation, because that’s not really fair, is it?
    I love facebook but, damn, I hope they never pull a stunt like that on me.

    Reply
  • 4. Chris Bourton  |  November 15, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    I’m interested to know what this picture was so bad to be banned by Facebook, but as you said was perfectly accepted by some reputatable shops like WaterStones.

    They are getting rather strict on their rules, and it just gets worse for App developers, for as you can imagine for big Apps we get 100′s of messages a day if not more, if we were to respond to them all, we’d be banned, if we don’t we get complaints we aren’t responding.

    There is no winning…

    Reply
  • 5. mitziszereto  |  November 15, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    Chris, it’s on my “Books in Print” page. You will see – it looks a bit like a vintage 1920s saucy postcard. Hardly anything to send anyone running for the hills… or their Bible. :-/

    Reply
  • 6. Rachel  |  November 15, 2008 at 3:58 pm

    I think the social networks haven’t caught up with how people use them. LinkedIn is kind of static, but could be perfect for business use and contacts – much more appropriate than Facebook for example — if they set it up with a more fluid networking system. Facebook would be perfect for setting up reunions and events, announcing book signings, etc, but they’ve got to recognize that that means a lot of communication to a lot of people. MySpace is more about “ME” than social networking. And Tribe is still barely hanging on, though it’s perfect for group interaction. TPTB have not caught up with the rest of us. I’m wondering if I should follow the rest of the world to Twitter.

    Reply
  • 7. Kim Richards  |  November 15, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    That’s just crazy. The interesting thing about censorship like that is when people find out about the cover being deleted, guess what? They’re going to want to see it. I’d use this to help promote the book as much as possible. “Hey, here’s the book too hot for facebook…”

    Reply
  • 8. Ceri Shaw  |  November 15, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Hear! Hear! My account was recently disabled for “excessive use of a feature” It would appear that the only safe thing to do with a Facebook account is not to use it. The Facebook admins are an arrogant and contemptible bunch of would be Nazi Gauleiters who will hopefully fade away once people realise that there are far better social networking alternatives out there. Might I suggest Ning?

    Reply
  • 9. Antler  |  November 26, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    As Red Ted’s mum……I sympathise! He has been eaten by the face-beasts.
    x

    Reply
  • 10. Mike from London  |  December 10, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Seriously, get over yourself. It’s just facebook.
    Just create another account.
    FFS, people these days!!!!

    Reply
    • 11. mitziszereto  |  December 10, 2008 at 4:38 pm

      have you actually SEEN my account? tell me how i can duplicate it and reconnect with all the contacts on there!

      Reply
  • 12. Alex  |  December 24, 2008 at 2:31 am

    Something similar happened to me! They are a bunch of fanatics let me tell ya… eventually facebook will be found out. I am very curious to know what’s going on behind the scenes.

    Reply

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What I Get Up To

I write, I blog, I Mitzi TV, I network, I breathe, I get my name in the press... I'm a true Renaissance lass! My books include IN SLEEPING BEAUTY'S BED: EROTIC FAIRY TALES; GETTING EVEN: REVENGE STORIES (crime); THE NEW BLACK LACE BOOK OF WOMEN'S SEXUAL FANTASIES (non-fiction/survey); DYING FOR IT: TALES OF SEX AND DEATH (multi-genre); THE WORLD’S BEST SEX WRITING 2005 (non-fiction/criticism); WICKED: SEXY TALES OF LEGENDARY LOVERS; the EROTIC TRAVEL TALES anthology series; the M. S. Valentine erotic novels; and a slew of titles available on Amazon Kindle. Find me on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Tumblr, Plurk, Social Median, and wherever else I might decide to turn up!

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