Thrice in recent months, I’ve lost my Facebook page.
Once was over a slightly naughty image of a bloke laying on the beach, nude, with a sunburnt scrotum. The photo was quite far away, and who knows if it was real or not, probably not real, and most people would have laughed.
Except this person, who flagged my page and had me suspended.
A few weeks went past, and one morning I woke to find a friend had left messages on Twitter to ask what I had done with my page, as it had vanished.
As it turned out, Facebook had suspended me due to it’s real names policy, I had been on Facebook for over five years, surely they’d know by now if I was a good “netizen” or just a creep with a fake name?
Facebook wanted me to change my name or offer proof of legitimacy, I went with the latter option and it wasn’t long before my page was re-opened and all was well with things.
Then about two weeks later it happened again, and was resolved a few days later (my fault it took so long).
As it turns out, if a person doesn’t like you for whatever reason, they can flag your page and it is then suspended pending review.
And that’s what was happening, I simply had a person whose hobby it was to try and wipe me from Facebook.
The Fake Names policy is a contentious issue, with one side claiming everyone with a “fake name” is a troll, stalker, possible rapist… while the other understands that plenty of performers use stage names like Boy George, Marilyn, Elton John, David Bowie… and there are various people who wish to get their thoughts out to the public, while maintaining some secrecy for their own safety, such as political activists.
Drag Queens, Furries, LBGT People, Pagans and others who were not causing any trouble for others, and who were good “customers” at Facebook, have simply been evicted by club bouncers, a simply pointless attack.
This same issue was a huge stumbling block for Google+ too, who in the early days decided this was a great policy, but found that it was much like shooting yourself in the foot, as many enthusiastic people who joined Google+ simply lost their account and although Google+ no longer adheres to the rule, many were offended and didn’t return.
And yes, I have to remember that I was a mod once too, and sometimes I took rules too seriously and acted too strongly, it’s fine to intervene when someone is clearly doing something wrong, but often, just talking about the issue can resolve things really well too.