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Facebook threaten me – for using my account?

By November 26, 2007No Comments

I’ve not really got into the whole social web thing. When I first looked at myspace it seemed ugly, boring and spammy. I quite like Jaiku, but I can’t be bothered to twitter. As part of updating this blog to be a bit more web 2.0 – getting my wordpress install talking to Jaiku, for example, I joined Facebook. I’ve looked at it before, not been thrilled and so not done anything with it, but last week I contacted an old work colleague who had sent me a friend request, and then let facebook trawl my gmail account for contacts, and found an old mate was on facebook so I emailed them. Then I installed the blogfriends app, and quit.

A couple of days later, I get an email from facebook, and when I login, there’s little threatening warning bubbles all over my homepage.

Here’s the email


Our systems indicate that you’ve been misusing certain features on the site.  This email serves as a warning.  Misuse of Facebook’s features or violating Facebook’s terms of use may result in your account being disabled .  

Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation.

If you have any questions, please contact from your login email address.

The Facebook Team

So I email them:
OK, so what exactly am I supposed to have done wrong?
Emma Kane

Hi Emma,

Facebook has limits in place to prevent behavior that others may find annoying or abusive.  These limits restrict the rate at which you can use certain features on the site, including sending friend requests, pokes and messages and using our Search feature.  If you have received a warning or been blocked from using one of these features, Facebook has determined that you were going too fast.

These blocks can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.  Unfortunately, we cannot lift the block for you.   When you are allowed to resume using this feature, please proceed with caution to avoid reaching the limit again.  Please be aware that the threshold at which you are warned is not a specific number, but rather determined by different factors (such as speed, time, and quantity).  For security reasons, we are unable to provide additional information about this system.  We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thanks for your understanding,

anonymous facebook person
User Operations Analyst

My bemused reply:

But I haven’t done anything yet. I’ve only just got an account. This is a terrible user experience, especially as you can’t even tell me what I’m supposed to have done.

Hi Emma,

Sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused you.  You have received a warning for collecting data from the website.  Please explain your recent activity on the site and we can look into the problem further.  Please note that it is a violation of our Terms of Use to collect data on the site and if you continue doing this, Facebook can take legal action.  If you would like to continue using the site, please stop collecting information from the site.


anonymous facebook person
User Operations Analyst

Hi anonymous facebook person,

I haven’t, to my knowledge, been collecting data from the site. I installed the blogfriends app, then uninstalled it and emailed a couple of people. Thats it. 

I’m really, really confused as to what you think I have been doing, or what I have been doing wrong. I’m a new user and am just amazed, basically, by the warnings and now a threat of legal action.

Can you please look into this further.

Whoa. I seriously have not done anything. My history shows about 10 facebook pageviews since I signed up.
Now they are threatening me with legal action, and can’t tell me exactly what I’ve done?? Insane.
I am SO unimpressed. And, basically amazed – way to grow market share…

UPDATE 27th November
I just got this email..

Hi Emma,

After looking into the issue, we have determined that you received this warning by mistake. Sorry for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused you. Please let me know if you have any further questions and enjoy the site!
anonymous facebook person

That’s all right then. I trust facebook how much now? And yes, please, have my data – I don’t think….
OK , so there was a glitch in the system. But it took me five emails to find out what was going on, and clear my profile page of spurious accusations. And the assumption was that I was doing something bad, and threats of legal action were used even before they had fully investigated what was going on. A very, very bad user experience, I think you’ll agree.

Because I’m cross, here’s a video about facebook that you may well have already seen…if not, maybe you should watch.

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