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What the hell Facebook?
August 12, 2008 12:56 PM   Subscribe

How do my wife and I prove that we were not using fake names on Facebook, after Facebook claimed our names were fake and kicked us off?

Back story is here in this anon Askme.

Long story short, my wife and I had Facebook accounts and were linked on the site as being married, yet outta the blue Facebook kicked us off and when asked for an explanation claimed we were both using fake names, despite the fact that we weren't.

No, we did not use nicknames, initials or change our name.

Here's the final repy we both got from Facebook when we separtedly asked why our accounts had been disabled:

Hi,

Fake accounts are a violation of our Terms of Use. Facebook requires users to provide their real first and last names. Impersonating anyone or anything is prohibited. Unfortunately, we will not be able to reactivate this account for any reason. This decision is final.

Thanks for your understanding,

Jackson
User Operations
Facebook


We used our real names, we both had business contacts on there, old classmates and family members found me via my damn name, what the hell would cause Facebook to decide we weren't? How do we go about getting Facebook to reverse this decision? How do we prove we're not Cylons?

Does anyone know of a particular number to call? I'm not above raising a bit of hell about this.
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Computers & Internet (55 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
How do we go about getting Facebook to reverse this decision?

You don't. "We will not be able to reactivate this account for any reason. This decision is final." That's corporatese for "Whether we're wrong or not is irrelevant and we're not investing any further resources on the issue; it is OK for our CS people to hang up on you."

Create a new account.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 1:04 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


You could send a registered letter to the address allllll the way at the bottom of their privacy policy.
posted by bcwinters at 1:08 PM on August 12, 2008


They can make their own rules. If you actually can get back on with a new account make sure you use different IP's when either of you log in separately.
posted by JJ86 at 1:10 PM on August 12, 2008


I agree with TPoI that you're probably screwed in getting the account reactivated.

I do wonder, though, why Facebook doesn't offer any way to provide proof when it comes to these things. Why not let people send in copies of their driver's license or somesuch? Geez.
posted by elfgirl at 1:12 PM on August 12, 2008


If you Google that address you'll can get to this page. There are two phone numbers at the bottom that might help.
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:13 PM on August 12, 2008


Sorry, the second is a fax number.
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:17 PM on August 12, 2008


I don't know anything about Facebook (I mean, I know what it is, I've just never used it), but it strikes me that something like this could be caused by an identity theft issue - could someone have gotten access to your account and have been doing things in your name?

As far as what to do, the suggestions to simply get new accounts seem the most practical. Online companies, especially ones that offer free services, generally do not extensively fund customer service departments.
posted by XMLicious at 1:30 PM on August 12, 2008


Here is a story about someone who had his account reactivated after being in your situation. He had a lot of help.
posted by inconsequentialist at 1:36 PM on August 12, 2008


Sometimes GetSatisfaction is decent for things like this.
posted by jessamyn at 1:44 PM on August 12, 2008


According to a thread on GetSatisfaction about Facebook, you can e-mail the following addresses if your account is disabled:

- disabled@facebook.com
- appeals@facebook.com
- info@facebook.com
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:48 PM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Do you have a scanner? Do you care if Facebook sees your photo id?

Scan your driver's licensee and attach it to an email explaining the problem.

Alternatively, just don't use Facebook. It's not a very valuable service to begin with...
posted by wfrgms at 1:54 PM on August 12, 2008


Oh, also in your correspondence, make sure you mention that you've been discussing the problem here.

Corporations freak out when they discover people freely airing their gripes about them on the internet...
posted by wfrgms at 1:55 PM on August 12, 2008


If you're being straight with us (and I don't have any reason to think you're not) and there's really no reason for what happened; I say send a certified/registered Priority Mail letter with return receipt (or better yet - FedEx overnight), addressed to Customer Relations, with proof of your identity (with DL# marked out) to the corporate office in Palo Alto. I would be very nice and explain there must just be some misunderstanding and you hope this can resolve the issue. Be sure to provide as many means to contact you as possible. If you hear nothing back - escalate the contact. Send the same thing again - except send it to the attention of Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO. Enclose your first attempt at contact by mail, emails shared and again explain there's been a big mistake and you want to be a part of the Facebook community, but have fallen victim to some bureaucracy and felt only he could help.

It makes me think of the This American Life episode called, "Ties That Bind" where a lady had huge problems, that lasted for months, to get a fair shake dealing with MCI. The answer lies in persistence.

Good luck!
posted by Gerard Sorme at 1:58 PM on August 12, 2008


This reminds me of Dr. and Mrs. Lipshitz who were denied an email account by Verizon because they name contained S H I T. As far as your problem goes you could shame them into doing the right thing which IIRC is what the Lipshitzs did. It involved calling the media. Of course Lipshitz is a really funny name, so YMMV.
posted by Gungho at 1:58 PM on August 12, 2008


The idea of getting someone you know on Facebook to make a group consisting of people that know you and can vouch for you might not be the dumbest idea (especially if they can sound like a suitably indignant rabble) in combination with trying to re-reach Facebook, perhaps with some scanned ID or something. I'm not sure I'd read too much into "this decision is final" if that was their initial reply, that's probably to fend off lengthy explanations of why being fake-Steve-Jobs is really actually funny and shouldn't count.
posted by so_necessary at 1:59 PM on August 12, 2008


You might also try Consumerist.
posted by feckless at 2:03 PM on August 12, 2008


Create a new account.

Can't, I get this error: "Sorry, you are ineligible to sign up for Facebook."

you can e-mail the following addresses if your account is disabled:

Thanks, but had already found those and tried them and simply got the notice mentioned in the post.

There are two phone numbers at the bottom that might help.

Tried that and got a message that they don't do telephone support. I did leave a polite message though, explaining the situation and leaving my name and telephone number.
Anyone have suggestions for how to blindly contact people in these situations and get them to help you? Once I've calmed down a bit more, I'll attempt to do that.

Sometimes GetSatisfaction is decent for things like this.
Thanks, I'll sign up for that, though looking at the Facebook section, it doesn't seem positive.

The certified email and scanned license seem like a good idea also.

If you're being straight with us
If they had kicked me off for playing Scablous or something silly like that I wouldn't care. But I'm using a fake name? Seriously?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:07 PM on August 12, 2008


Just wondering-did you have actual pics of yourself on or did you use a pic of something else (I know, people do it all the time) but I am grasping at straws trying to figure out what is going on.

Meanwhile I would be happy to post as my "update" that I want to know why my friend Brandon Blatcher can't sign up for facebook...pm me your real name (or your wife's) and I will happily do that.
posted by konolia at 2:11 PM on August 12, 2008


Create a new account.

Can't, I get this error: "Sorry, you are ineligible to sign up for Facebook."


Go to an Internet cafe and sign up using a different e-mail address, such that the account creation is not tied to your current IP address or e-mail.
posted by ten pounds of inedita at 2:13 PM on August 12, 2008


One other suggestion-do you have a local tv station that does consumer "troubleshooter" reports? Call them and see if this is a sexy enough problem for them to put on the air for you.
posted by konolia at 2:14 PM on August 12, 2008


If someone creates a Facebook group for Brandon I'll be happy to join it (can't do it myself right now, I'm at work). I'd post it over at Metachat too - probably be plenty of people happy to help.
posted by desjardins at 2:20 PM on August 12, 2008


The Consumerist can be useful for problems like these. They post a variety of consumer-wronged-by-company stories, which often results in publicly shaming said companies into doing the right thing. No guarantee they'll pick up your cause, but it's worth a shot.
posted by lovermont at 2:24 PM on August 12, 2008


Go to an Internet cafe and sign up using a different e-mail address, such that the account creation is not tied to your current IP address or e-mail.

That could work, but want the profile and network that I had built put back.

Just wondering-did you have actual pics of yourself on (Facebook)


Yeah, I had the 1 pic that I just uploaded to my Metafilter profile


Meanwhile I would be happy to post as my "update" that I want to know why my friend Brandon Blatcher can't sign up for facebook...pm me your real name (or your wife's) and I will happily do that.

Um, heh. Brandon Blatcher is my real name.

If someone creates a Facebook group for Brandon I'll be happy to join it

I'm supercool with idea and deeply appreciative of it. All I ask is that my wife be included in it also, even if she's metafilter shy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:33 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


what the hell is a "real" first or last name anyway? is it supposed to be whatever is on your birth certificate / drivers licence / social security card etc?

the thing is, plenty of people are commonly known by other names, eg people who don't like their official first names & use their middle names instead; people commonly known by a nickname, or those who use diminutives - for example, there's barely a catherine, catrina, catriona (etc) in existence who doesn't go the the name 'cat'.

if the point is for people to be recognisable & searchable by their friends & colleagues, it makes sense for their name to be the thing they're actually known by, not some redundant moniker from a piece of paper.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:51 PM on August 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Are you the very same Brandon Blatcher who is all over the web? - I got around 15,000 google hits.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:58 PM on August 12, 2008


Here you go-I made a group. It would be cool if you want to send me a pic of the two of you to put up, but that's up to you.


For those of you that join, you should be able to add pics, etc and all of you who want to be officers, just message me on Facebook.

I gotta go cook dinner now but the rest of you go ahead and have at it.
posted by konolia at 3:00 PM on August 12, 2008


(just asking, because if you are a graphic designer & writer based in savannah, georgia, then i'd guess it's rather clear that from a professional publicity point of view, there'd be no sense in you publicising yourself under a pseudonym that potential clients couldn't use to look you up & throw some work in your direction...)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:07 PM on August 12, 2008


(I sent you a mefimail)
posted by loulou718 at 3:09 PM on August 12, 2008


Facebook doesn't want you, and they don't care how much you want them, and their stance on that is final. Sorry, but that's exactly what the letter has told you. Why do you want to patronize a company that has solidly told you "go away"?

I'm just curious, because unless there was no other choice (and there *are* alternatives to Facebook) I'd never go near a company along with it's subsidiaries ever again that treated me like that. And that decision would be final. Unless they owed me money or service, I'd make a temporary exception for that.

Since you're owed neither, I'd suggest you follow what Facebook's Operations department wants you to do, and let your friends know why you won't be on Facebook. If they want you there, it's a problem they need to solve (Leaving User Operations a WTF notice), not you. If they don't, what's the point of Facebook, then?

I definitely wouldn't be using that company's service again until I were issued a formal apology and a offers a contact to appeal to should more "final decisions" be made in the future. It would need to be something the company internally decides to do due to influences outside me contacting them.

Now, if they were a monopoly, I'd be looking into state law in the matter, since most true monopolies are heavily regulated and can't truly make final decisions without government involvement, or at least following extremely complex regulations that would rarely provide an instance where they can unilaterally terminate service without providing an appeals process.

Just saying, as an outsider that doesn't use Facebook.
posted by shepd at 3:17 PM on August 12, 2008 [2 favorites]


Here you go-I made a group.

That link does not lead to anything for logged in Facebook users- please post the name of the group.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:19 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Search Brandon Blatcher
posted by narrativium at 3:23 PM on August 12, 2008


Wow, i've changed my name at least a dozen times on fb, including things like Fay Sbuck, or F.A.Cebook and my current name is actually a band name, and obviously so. They keep approving them and I've had a couple of warning shots but I'm still there.

So I'm basically saying, fake names, although mentioned in the T&C's as a no-no, are not getting me kicked off.

(I change it because I dont want to use my real name, I dont like the privacy issues with FB but unfortunately many of my friends now exclusively communicate via FB. I hate it, its so inefficient for messaging)
posted by daveyt at 3:25 PM on August 12, 2008


or, this
posted by narrativium at 3:25 PM on August 12, 2008


Brandon and Lisa Blatcher are real people and those are their real names!

That's the name of the group.
posted by konolia at 3:25 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Or use narrativium's link-it works for me, anyhow.
posted by konolia at 3:27 PM on August 12, 2008


I just posted this link to my facebook wall. I recommend everyone else out there with a facebook account does the same thing.

Also, the group can be accessed by clicking here.
posted by mynameismandab at 3:43 PM on August 12, 2008


I joined the group for ya...
posted by Jahaza at 3:50 PM on August 12, 2008


shepd , this is a big deal because first, if it can happen to Brandon and his wife, what is stopping this from happening to any of us? and second, I hate injustice, and this just ain't right.

For many of us, Facebook has served a very useful purpose in staying in touch with our real life friends as well as our cyberfriends, and for someone to lose the option to use the site for no fault of their own just rubs me the wrong way.
posted by konolia at 4:01 PM on August 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Holy crap, the accounts are back! Yay Metafilter!

Details to follow...
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:08 PM on August 12, 2008 [11 favorites]


I joined the group. If I'm kicked off Facebook tomorrow I'll be looking for Brandon :)
posted by COD at 4:12 PM on August 12, 2008


I joined as well, will let you know if I'm persona non grata by tomorrow
posted by arcticseal at 4:21 PM on August 12, 2008


w00t w00t!
posted by konolia at 4:28 PM on August 12, 2008


This link = this thread.
posted by mynameismandab at 4:32 PM on August 12, 2008


We knew what you meant, mynameismandab....heh...
posted by konolia at 4:34 PM on August 12, 2008


Thanks so much for gettiing us back on Facebook. Brandon is correct in that I had business connections associated with my Facebook account, so it was a tad embarassing to suddenly be a persona non grata.

I quickly admit that I am a mere lurker in your midst, but I am aware through Brandon of what a great group you are. I appreciate that y'all vouched for us. Now I can go back to being a full fledged human again. Alas, I would never make as pretty a cylon as Grace Park anyway.
posted by lynnshaze at 4:49 PM on August 12, 2008 [6 favorites]


ooo! Well done!

I find that odd; I have friend with more fake-sounding names and they haven't been in trouble!
posted by divabat at 5:15 PM on August 12, 2008


Also joined.
posted by nickyskye at 5:37 PM on August 12, 2008


Why do you want to patronize a company that has solidly told you "go away"?

I don't, but Facebook is a huge deal, used by many people. They, or other network, can't be allowed to jest kick people out when their states reasons for doing so are patently false.

Had they kicked me off for other reason, I probably would not have cared. However, they accused me and my wife of lying, without providing any details or proof and did it why making us look bad under our real names. That's unacceptable.

Some would say that life is too short to be dealing with this. I say life is too long for a person not too. If a company wants to behave in this fashion, their feet should be held to the fire.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:43 PM on August 12, 2008 [1 favorite]


Joined. Awesome that you both got your accounts back.
posted by inconsequentialist at 5:57 PM on August 12, 2008


I missed all of the drama but I'm glad that your accounts got reinstated! Facebook seems to be in the habit of deleting accounts for strange reasons- a youthful-looking friend of mine had hers deleted when she was accused of being under 18 without being on a high school or college network, despite the fact that she was in her mid-twenties. A Facebook protest group got quick results for her too!
posted by Kirjava at 6:11 PM on August 12, 2008


I would have joined the facebook group in protest except I never made a facebook account and now it's too late; if I made a facebook account it would start with 0 friends and I'd look like a big loser. So now I can never have a facebook account!

sometimes I overthink things
posted by Justinian at 7:57 PM on August 12, 2008


Justinian, facebook accounts always start with 0 friends.

They never stay that way.
posted by konolia at 8:54 PM on August 12, 2008


As I tell all the librarians in the talks that I give "If you need someone to be your online friend, you can friend me" and I can safely say I have no librarian friends on facebook who (still) have only one friend. That said without Scrabulous I don't do much there anymore.
posted by jessamyn at 9:02 PM on August 12, 2008


ShepD: the alternatives to Facebook are only as useful to him as the amount of time he puts into them (time he already put into Facebook) and the number of people he knows on them (which might be none, since personally I know a lot of people ONLY on Facebook).
posted by apetpsychic at 10:19 PM on August 13, 2008


I had a similar thing happen with Amazon--a relative in my house didn't handle some sales very well so even though I'd had an account for some time, they suddenly closed it and will not allow me to appeal. I got one of those "We will not be able to reactivate this account for any reason. This decision is final" letters; called, wrote, used the appeals process and so on and it did absolutely no good whatsoever.
posted by etaoin at 11:54 AM on January 6, 2009


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