The perils of trying to use Facebook for political activism

For all those people I've been in communication with on Facebook about copyright revision, they may notice something interesting: my Facebook account has been disabled. Where all the postings I have made, and likely the private messages as well, is a message such as "Post deleted 4 hours ago."

It seems that I write too much on Facebook, and its automated system decided I was a spammer. While I have seen other people posting more often, I suspect the problem has been the fact that I often try to provide references -- often to this site -- to the things I am writing. That and rather than posting in public, I have preferred to send private messages to people to engage in conversations.

I've sent a message to Facebook asking that my account be re-enabled. It will be interesting to find out if that means all the messages and other content I have generated in the past is lost, or whether I will be able to continue where I left off.

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I was wondering why you seemingly disappeared.

Fear not--I've had other friends have their accounts disabled, and most of the activity is still there. At least the private messages. I'm not sure what their policy is for comments and discussion responses.

You should be up and running in a day or so.

Saw your congrats

The note that you had posted to my wall was the first thing I saw.

Messages were returned, but their email 'explaining' what happened told me nothing. Supposedly I was posting the same thing to a board or email -- but I wasn't.

Maybe Copyright is considered such an oddball topic that someone couldn't possibly write a number of different private messages to different people on that same topic :-)

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.

No better this morning.

This morning I received a notice that someone had replied to one of my messages on the "Fair Copyright for Canada" forum. I replied, and immediately got another warning (on my screen and in email) claiming that I was abusing the system and risking my account being disabled (again).

I guess the idea is that I'm not supposed to contribute anything (wall postings, private messages, forum messages) on Facebook. Who knows for how long -- Facebook documents absolutely nothing about this.

Guess I should consider Facebook as read-only and post my thoughts from reading to this BLOG.

I wonder how many new people Geist's group added to Facebook -- and how many people like me have been pushed away.

After a single posting this morning I got the following:


Our systems indicate that you've been misusing certain features on the site. This email serves as a warning. Misuse of Facebook's features or violating Facebook's terms of use may result in your account being disabled . Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

If you have any questions, please contact from your login email address.

The Facebook Team

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.

No useful answer from Facebook as to what I did.

If you try to read their FAQ, it only says

What are the limits?
Unfortunately, Facebook cannot provide any specifics on the rate limits that we enforce. Please know, however, that the speed at which you are acting and the sheer number of actions you have made are both taken into account.

When I tried to ask what I did that caused the deactivation, the best response I got was:

Hi Russell,

Please note since you have previously been disabled, it is much easier for you to be warned for over-use of the site. Dramatically slow down when using the various features on the site to ensure your account does not become disabled. Unfortunately, failure to abide by the limits Facebook has set forth may result in the permanent loss of your account. We appreciate your cooperation going forward. I apologize for any confusion.


User Operations

Dramatically slow down? Are they suggesting that the fact that I can type fast is the problem? Maybe that I used oddball terms like "Copyright" or "WIPO" in private message?

I guess I will never know. I won't be surprised to have my account (and all the submissions I have made in conversations) simply disappear randomly in the future.

Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS) consultant.

Smells like ISP rate limits

Where they won't tell you what the bandwidth limits are, but will cut you off if you exceed them.

Perhaps you should be flattered that they think you're as efficient as spamming software at sending out messages :-)