The True Face of Facebook Democracy

Following the defeat of Ken Livingstone in the London Mayoral Elections in May 2008 I set up a Facebook page called ‘Boris Watch’. The idea of the page was to monitor the new Mayor Boris Johnson and it quickly gained over 3000 members.

The noticeboard was extremely busy, with members (and Boris supporters) debating issues – but it seems Facebook have decided that their pages are not to be used for this purpose.

Facebook Bans Boris Watch

The high handed nature of Facebook is clearly evidence that they are confident that their size means it does not matter if they make decisions like this, close down forums of discussion with no notice and then threaten users.

The magic of Web 2.0 is that both fans of the page and many of those of do not agree with the content will be outraged by their action, and as other social network sites build they could find that many find themselves building their on-line networks with sites that do not dictate in such a high handed way.

What is interesting is their own explanation says ‘Facebook Pages are special profiles used solely for commercial, political or charitable purposes’. So is holding the Mayor of London to account not political?

Here is the full message…

You created a Page that has violated our Terms of Use, and this Page has been removed. Facebook Pages are special profiles used solely for commercial, political, or charitable purposes. Among other things, Pages that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed. We also take down Pages that attack an individual or group, or that are set up by an unauthorized individual. Continued misuse of Facebook’s features could result in your account being disabled.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit the Terms applicable to Facebook Pages at http://www.facebook.com/terms_pages.php.

I acknowledge I have read this information.

So I now have to acknowledge but have no form of redress. I cannot appeal against the decision and face my account being closed if I make too much noise against Facebook. Is this the face of Facebook Democracy?
A group against Facebook’s action has now been set up – it will be interesting to see if this gets banned and with it my Facebook account. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=18723836564
Coverage of Facebook censorship of Boris Watch

Other related sites

Update
A new Boris Watch has been set up, we wait to see if Facebook continue their previous action and close it down as well.

Update

Boris Watch has moved to Hi5 the fastest growing social network which could soon be a real threat to Facebooks dominance. Maybe if Hi5 gets even bigger they may think moreĀ about how they treat their users.
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2 thoughts on “The True Face of Facebook Democracy

  1. Dreadful. The group wasn’t used to hate, threaten or be obscene. Facebook is increasingly letting itself down with overzealous behaviour like this, and no democratic means of addressing it, which is kind of getting important considering the size of its membership. I sadly haven’t seen a social networking site that doesn’t start behaving like this after reaching a certain size…

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