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Declaring war on facebook

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Declaring war on facebook

Postby dolphinius_rex on Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:49 pm

As those of you who follow my twitter already know, I have declared war on Facebook.

This is not a petty DDoS sort of war, or a name calling war, or anything so jeuvenile. It is simply a means to an end.

About a week ago Facebook deleted my account without warning. on the grounds that they believe the name 'Digital Dolphin' to be fake. When I confronted them about my account deletion, they described their username requirements in limited detail, but enough that I was able to tell that not only will I never agree to their reported terms of use, but that most people I know on Facebook have violated them also.

For your viewing pleasure, I now bring you the un-edited content (minus my e-mail address) of my discussion with Facebook thus far:

From: Digital Dolphin (digitaldolphin@*****.com)
To: disabled@facebook.com (disabled@facebook.com)
Subject: disabled account

Hi There,

I am writing because my account on Facebook has been listed as Disabled. I do not understand why this would happen, as I have never had a single
warning or complaint brought to my attention, nor have I done anything that I feel would justify an immediate removal without warning (in fact, I'm not aware of any action I could have taken that would even justify a warning).

My account is the one attached to this e-mail address.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration on this issue.

-Digital Dolphin


Their response:

Hi,

Fake names are a violation of our Terms of Use. Facebook requires users to provide their full first and last names (I.e. no initials). Nicknames can be used in the form of FirstName 'NickName' LastName, but only if they are a variation on your real first or last name, such as 'Bob' instead of 'Robert'. Additionally, please note that impersonating anyone or anything is prohibited.

If you would like to use this profile again, just get back to us with your real name, and we will reactivate the account for you.

Thanks for your understanding,

Tatsuya
User Operations
Facebook


For your reference, I invite you to the read the Facebook Terms of Use:
http://www.facebook.com/terms.php?ref=pf

You will find nothing in there regarding profile names, with the exception of this portion:
Registration Data; Account Security
In consideration of your use of the Site, you agree to (a) provide accurate, current and complete information about you as may be prompted by any registration forms on the Site ("Registration Data"); (b) maintain the security of your password and identification; (c) maintain and promptly update the Registration Data, and any other information you provide to Company, to keep it accurate, current and complete; and (d) be fully responsible for all use of your account and for any actions that take place using your account.


So to clarify, if you go by what Tatsuya claims, using Bob instead of Robert, or Matt instead of Matthew, or Mike instead of Michael, will be a violation of their terms (Matthew Smith = ok, Matthew Matt Smith = ok, Matt Smith = not ok). However, that does not seem to be an actual part in their official listed terms of use. Furthermore, they do not properly define what a "real" name is. Is it the name that you go by in real life? Is it your birth name? Your legal name? Would Marilyn Manson or Jamie Foxx have their accounts deleted? (both not "real" names). Would Moon Unit Zappa get in trouble because it's a weird name (although it was given at birth)?

So to make a long story short... if you're looking for me on Facebook and want to know why I'm not there anymore... it's because a name that I have used for about 9 years (more than 1/3rd of my life) is not "real" enough for Facebook.

This is how I responded to Facebook's previous e-mail:

Hi Tatsuya,

I thank you for your response, however I am still very confused about the issue here. First of all, I do not see the definition for "real name" anywhere in your terms of service. Could you please clarify? Some people define real names strictly as those written on legal documents, a "legal name" if you will, such as Moon Unit Zappa. Other's would argue that the name you are known by on a day to day basis by friends, co-workers and family, that you receive mail under, and operate with, is your real name... such as Jamie Foxx or Marilyn Manson (both of which are not real "legal names").

Secondly, I will admit that I was not born with the name Digital Dolphin, however it has been my name for over 9 years now. I have written professional reviews on computer hardware under it, I have used it for all other forms of social networking, from personal sites, to twitter and youtube, and even receive mail under the name. More people know me as Dolphin than by any other name I've ever been called. So again I would like to ask you to please define your meaning of the word "real", so that I can best detail how Digital Dolphin is more my real name than any other alternative.

Furthermore, I am afraid I have to challenge your claim that I am in violation of the Terms of Use for Facebook. I have read over your Terms of Use, as listed here:
http://www.facebook.com/terms.php

The closest to the mentioning of a name requirement that is listed there is the following excerpt:

Registration Data; Account Security
In consideration of your use of the Site, you agree to (a) provide accurate, current and complete information about you as may be prompted by any registration forms on the Site ("Registration Data"); (b) maintain the security of your password and identification; (c) maintain and promptly update the Registration Data, and any other information you provide to Company, to keep it accurate, current and complete; and (d) be fully responsible for all use of your account and for any actions that take place using your account.

As you can see, the terms state that the information must be accurate. I believe that the information I provided was correct and accurate when I wrote it, and it continues to be accurate to this day. Were I to go through the process of changing my name, I would be happy to update the information on my account with the corrections.

Thirdly although not anywhere listed in the terms of use, if your description of the naming requirements for accounts on Facebook were to become official, nearly every account that I am aware of would be considered in violation. People named William listed as Bill, people named Matthew listed as Matt, people named Robert listed as Robbie, Bobby or Bob... you get the idea.

And finally, you offered that if I would provide my real name, you would reactivate my account for me. Again, I argue that Digital Dolphin is my real name, and I would like to see what proof you have to the contrary.

Your Sincerely,
Digital Dolphin


For the record, I am not expecting my fight with Facebook to result in the re-enabling of my account. I *AM* however hoping to force their hand to properly clarify their terms of use, and hopefully to ease up on some of their nickname ass-hattery. I realize that this message was a bit prone to TL:DR (too long: didn't read), but if you take some time to read it through (or even just this bit at the end maybe), you'll see that I'm trying to get them to clarify their Terms of Use.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but the point is that they throw the word "real" around a lot, but it's a fairly subject term in this case. We're not talking about counterfeit nike shoes, or non-counterfeit nike shoes here. So what is a real name to them? Is it what's printed on your birth certificate? Is it the name you use and are known by day in and day out. What if you have a Chinese name and an English name?

Also, my name could legally be Digital Dolphin. Maybe it is already They never stopped to ask me, or gave me a warning or anything. Plenty of people have weird names (as mentioned previously, Moon Unit Zappa). Plenty of people have names that seem normal, but violate their terms of use (Bob Smith... his full name is Robert Smith, and nicknames cannot replace first names according to the e-mail I received).

This is a LOT bigger than just me. That's my point here.
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Re: Declaring war on facebook

Postby Ian on Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:03 pm

You'd think that after 9 years, they'd give you a break.. especially when your account is being actively used. That's a good point about actors and musicians using their stage names. How do they know that Digital Dolphin isn't yours? For the record, I don't go by my real name on Facebook either. And no, I'm not Optimus Prime. ;)
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Re: Declaring war on facebook

Postby dolphinius_rex on Thu Apr 16, 2009 7:45 pm

I really don't know a lot of peope who use proper names according to that e-mail I was sent. I think they're kinda crazy for being such assholes on the matter.
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Re: Declaring war on facebook

Postby Ian on Thu Apr 16, 2009 8:55 pm

You gotta wonder if someone sent them an email, specifically pointing you out.
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Re: Declaring war on facebook

Postby Dartman on Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:35 pm

There are very few places I use y real name online, why should I with all the crap that can happen. I use Dartman because thats what I used to drive until about 2 years ago, and it's what I use on most of my hangouts. Once it's online it's kinda forever.
I don't think Neonman would have the same ring to it anyways... :-s
I hope you do force the to at least clarify their policy and hopefully reinstate your account.
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Re: Declaring war on facebook

Postby dolphinius_rex on Fri Apr 17, 2009 12:35 pm

Right now I'm just hoping to raise awareness. I'm a little surprised that a major social networking site has no place for online names, or nicknames. It seems pretty silly to me.... like, have they ever been on a forum before?
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Re: Declaring war on facebook

Postby Ian on Wed May 20, 2009 2:46 pm

It looks like Dolph isn't the only one getting locked out.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/chr ... 30277.html

Alicia Istanbul woke up one recent Wednesday to find herself locked out of the Facebook account she opened in 2007, one Facebook suddenly deemed fake.

The stay-at-home mom was cut off not only from her 330 friends, including many she had no other way of contacting, but also from the pages she had set up for the jewelry design business she runs from her Atlanta-area home.

Although Istanbul understands why Facebook insists on having real people behind real names for every account, she wonders why the online hangout didn’t simply ask before acting.

“They should at least give you a warning, or at least give you the benefit of the doubt,” she said. “I was on it all day. I had built my entire social network around it. That’s what Facebook wants you to do.”

Facebook’s effort to purge its site of fake accounts, in the process knocking out some real people with unusual names, marks yet another challenge for the 5-year-old social network.
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