Well, I went and did it. I’ve violated some sacred, though unknown Facebook law and have now had my Friends’ privileges suspended. I’ve spent a lifetime living within the law until the Social Networking Police caught me sending Friends Requests to people I don’t know. The shame of it all. I don’t know how I’m expected to attend the family reunion this year or hold my head up out in public.
Facebook devotes a good deal of their real estate encouraging me to send Friends’ Requests to people I don’t know. Friends encourage me to send Friends’ Requests to their friends who I don’t know. I kind of thought that was the whole idea behind Social Networking – to meet people, expand your horizons, share ideas and self-promote. Boy, was I wrong.
It would seem that if you send a Friends’ Request to someone who then declines the request and then tells Mark Zuckerberg they don’t know you at all, you get a warning, a 7-day suspension, a 14-day suspension or the threat of having your entire account revoked. How do they decide what punishment you receive? Well, that information is a little more difficult to parse, but suffice it to say, it all seems more than a little arbitrary and the Facebook community is pretty upset about it.
Look, Markie-Mark, I’m not trying to harass people, I’m just trying to expand my circle of friends. I’ve met some pretty amazing people on your little rat maze of a social experiment. Some of them I’ve even met in person and I’m sure these folks will be lifelong friends. What you’ve created here isn’t such a bad thing. How you choose to police it is getting more than a little annoying. I understand that if you go to Facebook mobile, you can simply friend people via your cell phone on the same account, so what are you really accomplishing here?
When I was a kid, my mother would punish me by taking my books away (brilliant, eh? Telling a kid they can’t read…) but she failed to see the book I smuggled out of the house down the back of my pants as she sent me out in the neighborhood to “play with the other kids to try to be normal”. Mother, now that you’re suffering from Alzheimer’s, I can finally confess to you that I merely moved the location of my favorite activity and didn’t stop doing what you felt wasn’t ‘normal’. I never did become normal – and it turns out, I got to choose your nursing home, so you should probably have been nicer to me. My point, oh Facebook Nazi of the ether, is your errant children are telling you to go suck it.
I’ve heard of court officials being suspended from their jobs for sending Friend’s Requests to jurors, people being fired from their jobs for posting complaints about their employers and kids being suspended from school or threatened for posting personal opinions, but merely sending a Friends’ Request seems like a bit of an innocuous offense for having your account restricted or suspended. For all of you Facebookers out there, if you get a Friends’ Request from someone you don’t know, be kind and merely decline the request if you so choose. Kindly refrain from reporting the requester to the Facebook Nazi. He’s a little drunk with power at the moment and the result of your report has more far-reaching consequences for some folks. I get that this is a free service and all, but this practice has gotten out of hand. If Facebook continues to suspend account privileges, expect to see grown-ups sneaking out of the house with their cell phones or mobile devices concealed down the back of their pants. Haven’t we all gotten a little too old for this shit?
Carol Baker is a political writer, satirist, and co-host with Vicki Childs of our Here Women Talk weekly internet talk radio show called BROADSIDED. You can hear their show every Thursday at 11 am Eastern/10 Central/8 Pacific.