Facebook pages locked out
Tech writer Ken Fisher at Ars Technica woke up recently and logged in to Facebook to find his business page locked with no warning. So did sex blogger Violet Blue. Dave Legg from Neowin, photographer Mark Weikert, and the iPod Touch Blog did as well. They claim there was no warning, no explanation and no recourse. Can you imagine sipping coffee on the patio first thing in the morning and watching the sunrise then opening your Facebook to see your page you’ve worked so hard on locked?
Ken Fisher reached out to Facebook who after a long period of their being “non responsive,” sent an email that led him to a generic link on their help page about copyright violations.
Judge, jury and executioner
Fisher said, “Prior to the account lockout, we had received no notices of infringement or warnings. Truly, we awoke to find that Facebook had summoned a judge, jury, and executioner and carried out its swift brand of McJustice all without bothering to let us know that there was even a problem.”
Neowin’s Facebook page was removed several time for alleged copyright infringement and noted the only recourse is for the person who complained to retract the claim for page restoration. Fisher notes that the system is flawed in that people can file fake claims with fake contact information and Facebook doesn’t investigate, rather freezes accounts.
Facebook assigning locked pages to other users!?!?
Some users have even contacted Facebook explaining their legitimate rights to the content (especially photographers) but Facebook favors the complainant. Photographer Mark Weikert claims he too had anonymous complainants and Facebook allegedly assigned a “fan” as the admin who proceeded to rename it and take over the page. He had to start over from scratch.
The Touch iPod Blog’s Facebook was in violation for posting content. From their blog. What? Facebook’s official response to the locked pages is PR spin about how important intellectual property laws are to them.
How Realtors are impacted
Thousands of Realtors now have Facebook pages for their business and use it essentially as a storefront to attract visitors and engage consumers on their preferred turf. This is fantastic, we’ve always recommended doing so.
But what if your most successful lead generator (if it is that for you) is taken away with no explanation and recourse? Isn’t Facebook in America where our culture is innocent until proven guilty? Facebook changes their policies and privacy setting so frequently, no one can be reasonably expected to keep up with that minutia.
On the other hand, we are very protective of intellectual property. AGBeat is copied, scraped, quoted, used and straight up stolen from with no attribution. Conference speakers use the site as research for their talking points, bloggers steal our research and quote our numbers as their own, our articles are reprinted without permission and the list goes on.
The current state is unacceptable, Facebook.
That said, Facebook should have a warning system or some sort of complaint process. The current state is ridiculously easy to abuse and thus it is happening in rising frequency. Real estate is an insanely petty industry with a small percentage of people that are willing to do anything to hurt a competitor from falsely reporting a Facebook page for copyright infringement to kicking down yard signs. We all know that guy (or gal).
We’re not saying Facebook needs to have a court room and a jury and fancy wigs, but some form of recourse other than giving your page away MUST be implemented.
Realtors, on your business page, don’t post to Facebook anything you didn’t create or write. Facebook, you cannot walk on water and you are not omnipresent, and your smug behavior is offensive to those of us who use your service, buy ads or click ads keeping you in your ivory tower.
Have you experienced a page lock out? Tell us about it in comments.
Ars Technica deserves gratitude for their persistence with Facebook in getting answers, albeit closure for the masses is not guaranteed.
It is alleged that in the UK, activist websites are being removed for “violation of terms” with no explanation. OpenDemocracy.net says they are in indirect contact with Facebook and have not ruled out a government connection yet and questions the timing as tensions rise in the nation.