I was not one of the original members of Facebook back in 2004. I'm too old and I went to Lehigh, not to Harvard.
However, I have been a member--an extremely active member--since January of 2008.
That was just 15 months after membership was broadened beyond Harvard to allow anyone who is at least 13 years old to join the group. Back then I was one of fewer than 100 million members.
Now I share the huge social network with about 1.5 billion others--more than the population of China! (Facebook is theoretically blocked in China, but seems to have about 100 million members there.)
- I use Facebook for both personal and business reasons. I have a personal page, a page for my dog, and multiple business pages for publishing and telecommunications.
- I use Facebook to share news, fun, opinions and information with 520 "friends" and 99 "followers" (and maybe millions of others). I've known some of these people since 1949 in the 'real world.' Some are much-more-recent online acquaintances.
- I use Facebook to drive "traffic" to my blogs, including this one.
- I have started and am the administrator for more than a dozen Facebook groups dealing with a wide range of subjects. Membership in my groups ranges from under a dozen to more than 600. Some of the groups are very serious, some are just for fun, and some are for community service.
- I follow many people, groups and companies on Facebook, and comment a lot because I have many interests. I am either a member of or a fan of at least 100 groups and pages.
- I am a media addict. I am typically online each day at about 3:30 a.m. and share what I read off Facebook, on Facebook. People miss me if I'm absent (more about that below). One friend said, "I won't have anything to read in my newsfeed for 3 mornings!"
- People who knew me more than a half-century ago have used Facebook to find me, and I've used Facebook to find others. I expect people to be on Facebook and am disappointed when they are not there.
- I use Facebook to "check out" restaurants and other businesses.
- I spend three or more hours on Facebook each day.
- Although I don't pay a membership fee to Facebook, I have spent money putting ads on Facebook and I respond to ads from others; and my clicks generate revenue. It's likely that people who read what I post provide revenue for Facebook when they are exposed to and respond to ads near my words.
Many complaints to Facebook are dealt with by robots, and a robot is often an unresponsive judge, jury and executioner. Serious problems are allowed to fester and hurt victims for a month or more, yet people who cause no real harm are punished immediately and severely, with no opportunity to appeal.
Back in 2010 Facebook published libelous and threatening posts about me.
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There was a phony and dangerous petition aimed at having me put on the Connecticut registry of sex offenders. The petition was signed by a non-existent Mike Josephs and signed by seven non-existent supporters, and two real human beings who were scammed into supporting the cause.
'People' signing the petition called for my caging, castration and killing; and my Facebook friends were notified of the petition.
I complained to Facebook immediately--and frequently--pointing out that false identities were used in violation of Facebook policy, as well as copyright violation, libel, lies and calls for violence.
In 2010 Facebook took more than a month to remove the false statements about me--but Facebook's reaction last August for words I did not write was instantaneous.
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Most members of my groups are very well-behaved, but sometimes there are trouble-making trolls who must be ejected.
I did exactly that on August 13th. Group members supported my decision and the troll soon disappeared- not just from my group, but from all of Facebook. I thought that was the end of it, but no.
On August 15th I was unable to use Facebook and I got a series of useless and infuriating messages. The posting quoted below was NOT posted by me. It is NOT written in my writing style. It was apparently written in response to my post about ejecting a troll from the group.
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Apparently, somewhere in Facebook, Thomas Moore said "fuck you" to me. I responded with an appropriate (but mild) "fuck you, too."
The 'f-bomb" is common in nearly every 21st-century medium, except maybe in the newsletters of religious institutions.
I did not commit libel. I did not threaten anyone. I did not show nude pictures or pictures of violence. I did not offer to sell drugs, brag about a bank robbery or advocate the violent overthrow of anything.
I questioned my punishment and got a meaningless robotic reply:
Facebook disapproves of the word "fuck"--but doesn't give a fuck.
It used to be hard to speak to a human being at Amazon.com when there was a problem with an order, a book review, anything. The company still does not put its customer service phone number in bold type at the top of each page, but the number (1.866.216.1071) can be found and there's a link to request a quick call-back.
Facebook should do the same, or more.
F-bomb cartoon from http://www.turfshowtimes.com.
Map of China from the CIA
Terminator image from FanPop.com
Thanks to all.
The story of my Facebook attack is in this book: