Exiled and looking for friends

Facebook can be seen as the third biggest nation on earth. With 7.5% of the earth’s population as active users comes bigger responsibilities.

Most nations have mechanisms for handling justice and injustice. A nation is expected to treat its citizens according to well established traditions and agreed upon laws. A company like Facebook does not have by far the same requirements. But when a company builds a virtual nation like Facebook, should there not be requirements beyond the usual mom and pop shop?

Facebook is building not just a virtual nation. It is well on its way in establishing a communication monopoly. As a user you have extremely limited power. Not even powers to appeal an arbitrary decision seem to be granted to some struck by injustice. It lends credence to Wild West forums such like WhyWeProtest.org where lightning may strike from above but not from a blue sky.

Here’s my time line:

A month ago I sent friends requests to some old acquaintances still in the Church of Scientology. Apparently among them were people who felt offended by a renegade like me trying to hook up on Facebook. I received a complaint from the Facebook administration. Lesson learned: Do not communicate to anyone hitting the Kool Aid. I stopped sending out friends requests altogether. I still received a good deal of friends requests and proposals from my friends that I accepted.

A few days ago one of my FB acquaintances (let’s call him Jack) sent out a message to some 20 people complaining about a person (we’ll use the name Paul) allegedly impersonating him on Facebook. I was on the list of people he sent this complaining to. He kept on ranting about how bad this other person was until one of the 20 recipients (let’s call him Rusty) dared to query him about the incident. Jack all of a sudden jumped on Rusty and claimed he was ganging up with Paul in attacking him. In between calling Rusty a liar, a unionist, an idiot etc, he threatened legal actions. Jack went completely ape shit. I asked them to take this off the list and handle this only between the two of them. Jack was offended by this. Others on the list asked the same as this was spamming their message area. Jack started generalizing his attack and ended up sending complaints on perhaps everyone on the list to the Facebook administration. One innocent bystander asked Jack to stop it as she had received a Facebook warning.

The next day my own account was disabled. Apparently Jack managed to also hit me with an FB warning and it seems one is exiled after a second warning. I asked why my account was disabled. Here’s the answer I got from Facebook support:

Your account was disabled because it was in violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Nudity, sexually explicit, and other graphic content is not permitted on Facebook, nor is any content that contains self harm, depicts violence, or attacks an individual or group. In addition, harassing others through unsolicited friend requests or messages is prohibited.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to reactivate your account or respond to your email directly. This decision is final and cannot be appealed.

It cannot be appealed. Wow. No explanation. No appeal. No recourse for the injustice. Now there’s a recipe for debarring someone you don’t like on Facebook. Cook up some reason for complaint and they’ll get hit by lightning from a blue sky. Amazing.

If you wonder if the crazy story about Flippin’ Jack is also Scientology related… yes indeed it is. Around the Church of Scientology is a mine field.

This little story exemplifies why a serious debate is needed about the responsibilities of social networks. For me it’s certainly not the end of the world. I got onto FB less than a year ago and had only some 1200 friends. But for those who have invested much more time and effort into this social network such arbitrary injustice may inflict real damage. A debate on consumer’s rights, freedom of speech, recourse for injustice and democratizing social network seems timely.

Maybe it’s time for a democratic, Open Source, SETI-at-Home type of Facebook alternative?

Now I may well be barred again for trying to bounce back, but such arbitrary injustice without possibilities for appeal should not stand unopposed.

So I have created a new Facebook account. I refuse to be shut up. I love to have many friends. I cherish the many different viewpoints. I am enriched by people having very different views than myself. Communication is dear to me. And so I will accept anyone asking to be my friend on Facebook or elsewhere.

Want a new friend? Use this link to hook up on Facebook:

Geir Isene (if that link doesn’t work, try this link)

53 thoughts on “Exiled and looking for friends

  1. Call me a grumpy ol’ man but I’ve never much seen the point of “facebook friends” to begin with. Mostly to me it seems to be a ready outlet for exactly the sort of policy idiocy which you have reported, but then I’m not exactly “mister congeniality” myself. 😉

    Nonetheless, you still have lots of friends and I don’t mean on facebook. 🙂

    1. Hey ISENIMATOR !

      How about founding a virtual party:
      ” Liberal Democratic World Citizen Party” that would have as a subfunction kind of a Facebook, but which would be more customer friendly with the philosophical idea of opensource behind it !
      They don’t know who you are !
      The Link “Geir Isene defects” on scientology-cult.com is dead.

      LO

      1. 🙂

        I will report the dead link. Nice if more people can report such dead links as that way it may get faster attention.

      2. His link on the “Moving Up a Littler Higher” site is dead also.

        (chirp … chirp … chirp …)

    2. Geir I think you learned the wrong lesson. You just gave info that scientology bulling works because even you say the lessen learned – dont try contact with the coolaide drinkers( cult members). Ask yourself who does that lesson benefit? Scientology! The coolaide drinkers are the ones that need communication from you most of all! Because scientology is called a religion they win and you just helped them by giving out the truth and discouraging others to communicate so scientology is all win on this one. What about bad PR you say? Ha it dont matter now with gen public but the people still in will see that they loose going up against the church and certainly a high member which you were just reapeat the company line —take it from me Geir dont contact these coolaiders–exactly what scientology wants you to say! Scientology should send you a check for spreading their message!

      1. I am not advocating not to contact scientologists on the inside. I am saying that sending friends requests to them on Facebook will likely get your account disabled as they then can complain to FB who in turn will issue a warning to you. Second warning means automatic disabling of your account. And then you are cut off from more than talking to kool-aid drinkers on Facebook.

        There are other ways of reaching them.

      2. I HATE when “SCIENTOLOGY is..”.is used as reference to Incorrect, psychopathic or ‘whatever’ scientology leaders or other insane people in the organization …
        Scientology is ONE thing – some self-declared SCIENTOLOGISTS has, obviously, NOTHING to do with Scientology at all, but are the wrong people with an awesome knowledge and techniques in their hands… Sadly!
        Scientology IS great – what crazy people does in its name and with it IS the problem – NOT scientology! BrainStreamMedia does OBVIOUSLY NOT separate those 2 things, and I believe them to be more than glad to mix that up…. BAD journalistic by the way….

  2. “we won’t be able to reactivate your account or respond to your email directly”
    They could do so, but they won’t because they won’t take responsibility for their actions and spend money on hiring staff and installing procedures to deal with complaints.

    Other Internet companies have tried this on, Google and YouTube for example. They have reversed course and put the CoS on their list of cheats when the Internet made a fuss. But, you have to know the right places to make that fuss. All these companies are totally dependent on public goodwill, lose it and they die.

  3. FB is a private company and not an institution although appears fast becoming one.
    Hence the directors can do what they like. It is likely that, in view of the size and complexity of FB now, not to mention the profits that willbe made, there is a policy not to get involved in disputes on a blanket basis and there is a complain process in place. Reach an ‘x’ number of complaints and the ‘offender’ is taken off line. but no record of the IP or tracking is kept so the one removed has to simply log on with a new ID.

    The larger the company the more difficult this is in terms of justice. A small company woudl have more time to ensure justice is served rather than abused through time expediency and not wanting to expend funds holding court.

    This is where the CofS has found a weakness to exploit.

    Some alternatives are:

    Strike back at the CofS FBs with the same ploy using other FB users. This tends to break out into open warfare however and not really recommended.

    Open many FB accounts and link them to each other so if one is closed there are still many others one can use.

    Get on the Board of FB so oen can have some input into the procedures and processes Fb uses.

    Open ones own FB style social group. By far the most expensive option of course but it could be done. Then one is in control of the entire organisation.

    There coudl be other ‘solutions’ , but above and beyond all, the first premise is to continue to communicate regardless. This alone, can drive those intending to shut one down into apathy!

  4. I am glad to have you back as a friend, and I believe we were all shocked that such a thing could be done. I have alerted about 135 friends on my list about the sit, and have noticed that your friends are rolling back in.

  5. Since when is being a Unionist considered a pejorative term? Its because unions aren’t strong enough that corporates can trample over people’s human rights like this.

  6. JEEZUS CHRIST!! Talk about an arbitrary exercise in power without even attempting to ascertain the nature of the situation. I know of grassroots projects to create alternate networks to FB tyranny. I hope some enterprising programmer makes FB the new Myspace (still around, but seen as largely obsolete).

  7. I guess that means I have a whole bunch of suggestions to do. I will post this to my FZ friends and VP friends and you are not the first one.

    Others came back like you did.

    Barb

  8. Hey Geir,

    Added you back on. Understand the back story.
    Let’s say that this guy is, hypothetically, a nut who has been bothering many others on the net for quite a while, someone who believes that oh say, Paul, is really the long dead Bell Labs dude who helped invent the transistor with the help of alien technology.
    This might all be a little crazy. Thank god this is a hypothetical story!
    Welcome back my friend.
    Katie

  9. I’d like to be your friend Geir 🙂

    Speaking as a friend…you wouldn’t, per chance, have a 1200×800 copy of your beautiful ‘before vampires frolic’ artwork I could use for my desktop wallpaper?
    (I’m a cheeky friend) 🙂

  10. I do not understand something here. How can anyone have a “solicited” friend request? In order to have a person have a “solicited friend request”, you have to offer them an “unsolicited” friend request to have them respond with a friend request. What am I missing?

    1. “Solicited” friends requests happen off the Internet. Your friend or acquaintance tells you on the phone or by email or in person to send a friend request. When you do, that’s a “solicited” friends request. The idea is not really to make new friends on Facebook, it is to use the Facebook network to communicate to people that are already your friends.

      In reality, the spammers, scammers and crackers have been hard at work on FB doing their usual jam up everything with their automated scripts and efforts to promote whatever it is they are selling or setting up security overrides by building FB accounts. This is the bane of the Internet and pretty much has been since day 1. Hell, I still get up to 100 spam emails a day and I have NEVER released my private/personal email address into the wild. Some enterprising cracker ran a program to test a googleplex of email address combinations and test them to see if they are active email accounts, then sold the valid email addresses to bulk emailers.

      IMO FB should never have allowed commercial enterprises to be on FB at all but hey, everyone wants to be friends with Walmart, right? http://www.facebook.com/walmart

      Go figure.

      And BTW, as we speak, I guarantee that the next contender for FB’s position of “power” is already in the wings getting ready to release and take “supremacy” on the Internet.

  11. I just read the data on Diaspora. Looks like I spoke too late. The contender has already been released!

    It seems to actually address these complaints:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/196273/facebook_and_privacy_what_a_mess.html?tk=rel_news

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/203761/facebook_places_the_catandmouse_game_continues.html?tk=rel_news

    I personally never liked FB as it is an open doorway to scamming and spamming and privacy intrustions on a vast, vast scale. And weirdly, it parallels what has happened with the disconnection policies of the C of S — people are anxious to get on FB and stay on FB because they don’t want to find themselves being maligned or misrepresented by “friends” who are not really friends. So everyone gets stuck in in the central hub out of sheer desperation. That’s fine if you want to do that, but Geir, you have just experienced the result of a central hub managing communications. To my mind this is the same problem as the the C of S.

    But it is much, much worse because the C of S forgets and you can give the C of S some money and make amends and what do you know all is forgiven. Not so on FB. The privacy intrusions, false info, etc. stay on the Internet with its elephantine memory, and guess what? All your prospective employers, would-be scammers, potential clients, new acquaintances can have a heydey reading up on you from sources who may or may not be entirely accurate in their renderings and may actually be completely false identities spewing completely false information.

    1. These are valid points. The counter-weight is of course the ability to reach the many.

      *Geir pulling out the scales and starts weighing*

  12. Your story is another bullet point on the list of reasons why I am never going to open up a Facebook account.

  13. I had no idea this was why your account was deleted. Believe it or not Im aware of this person due to his attack on me. He sent me an unsolicited friend request without even an introduction. I responded by stating that Im a human rights activist presently undertaking education of the public regarding $cientology’s abuses and if said content offended him perhaps he should not be on my page. A dozen long emails filled with vulgarity was his response. I merely blocked him after that

    Once again Im sorry this individual contacted you too.

  14. Hi Geir,
    that the links are not working on Marty’s and Scientology-cult’s sites might have an easy explanation. Remember that you changed your blog address? When I contacted you to verify the links for publishing your doubt formula we found out that some had changed. And that might be the reason that the above mentioned do not work anymore as they still link to your former address.
    Facebook – I already wonderer why you asked me to become your friend again. I am sorry for this mess and hope FB checks that they have to handle sits like the one you mentioned differently.
    Anyhow – welcome back to FB. 🙂
    Feli

  15. Facebook is not a social network. The network is the people and their relationships. Confuse Facebook with the network and you lose.

    Facebook’s be-do-have mission is to be a central comm relay terminal, to gather and process intelligence about you, for money. That’s fine, but they don’t deserve the power they eventually wield over comm lines.

    “Exiled” is apropos. There’s no way to export your address book (your friends’ contact info) in case you want to communicate without Facebook as a relay terminal. You leave Facebook, you leave your friends. Does that remind you of any organizations in particular?

    COSI is not scientology. Scientology is the tech and the people who use it. Confuse COSI with scientology and you lose.

    1. Face book is developed like that however I mainly use it to com with friends I have in real life or to make new friends 🙂
      ARC
      Becca
      aka The Artistic Pixie

  16. Hey Geir

    If you really want back on FB then make another account with another email.

    ARC

    Becca
    aka theartisticpixie

  17. Today is New Year’s Day 1/1/11 . My New Year Resolution is to kick David Miscavige out of office with the combined efforts of both Scientologists inside and outside the church. Replace him and his moles with decent Scientologists who would truly apply LRH tech. Tell everyone about the squirreled tech that they are currently paying for:
    http://www.friendsoflrh.org/COBvsLRH/
    and read this site:
    http://www.sc-i-r-s-ology.com/index.html

    Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeehooooooooooo
    Happy 2011 to everyone
    Careful Observer

  18. A quotation from your article, Geir: “It is well on its way in establishing a communication monopoly”.
    I agree with your article, but I have an observation: Facebook will monopolize the communication as long we allow this or…we feel that Facebook means communication itself.
    For instance, after just 3 weeks of activity, I’ve closed (or deactivate?) my Facebook account. Reasons? I was half-addicted (morbid curiosity to see other people’s private life) and also the feeling that I loose precious time of outdoor activities.
    I don’t regret Facebook, and most of all, I don’t feel…disconnected.
    Now I realize that it’s much more instructive and educative to spend one hour reading your blog articles than “sharing” virtual rubbish on FB.
    Strange, but I use Twitter. I simply consider it much, much more mature and intellectual.
    I cannot condemn people who use and love Facebook, but I strongly disagree, for instance, with Time Magazine when accorded Zuckerberg “Man of the Year” title.
    PS. And imagine my dissapointment, as a long time “Time” subscriber…

  19. Hmmm.. Geir…. Er allt en opplevelse i vårt sinn, eller har vi et selvgående “ongoing Game” – og dersom noe går mot “spillet”… så vil det reagere på det..?
    Kan det være “The Matrix” som skyver fra seg Scientology Geir..? – for det passer ikke i ‘spillets’ makt-struktur, flokk-mentalitets-struktur, blind-obidience-struktur og ellers “script’…?

    1. PS: Jeg mener… at nettopp derfor ‘former’ ledelsen seg og oppfattes som noe vi får avsky for…?

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