FB Shoots Itself

Monday, July 18th 2011. | Internet News

The blogosphere is currently heating up with comments of how Facebook banned the Google+ ad of Michael Lee Johnson, a developer, who has a number of Facebook ad campaigns on the social network. The ad advertised the fact that Michael Lee is now also on Google+ and invited those who have a Google+ profile to add him there.

A couple of important points to note here. First at no point in the ad’s wording is Michael Lee exhorting anyone to leave Facebook and join Google+, though seeing how the former handled this, it may now not be a bad idea. Second, if we accept that clause 6a in Facebook’s Advertising Guidelines which states that “We may refuse ads at any time for any reason, including our determination that they promote competing products or services or negatively affect our business or relationship with our users.”, applies here surely the right thing to do is to simply ban this ad.

In a petty show of abuse of power and childish spite Facebook not only banned the ad but also banned all of the other email campaigns ran by Michael Lee which, up to that point in time, had been approved and had been running for some time and were, presumably, in keeping with Facebook’s Advertising Guidelines.

Adding insult to injury Michael Lee received, as a result, the by now standard, faceless, unaccountable and irrevocable message written in Facebookese which stated that: “Your account has been disabled. All of your adverts have been stopped and should not be run again on the site under any circumstances. Generally, we disable an account if too many of its adverts violate our Terms of Use or Advertising guidelines. Unfortunately we cannot provide you with the specific violations that have been deemed abusive. Please review our Terms of Use and Advertising guidelines if you have any further questions.”

When I wrote the article on Facebook back in April I received a tonne of emails from chagrined Facebook users who had been at the rough end of Facebook justice and had had their accounts closed without warning. I warned, at the time, that Facebook had to shape up lest an alternative comes along and start shaking the status quo.

That alternative is now here with Google+ and Facebook seems to not have learnt any lessons in which case Michael Lee Johnson’s parting words as he headed for Google+ were: “LOL… Facebook – You suck.”

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