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Facebook gently reminds its users that they are not Facebook's customers


It's yet another example of how a benign and popular app created by a third-party developer can be removed without recourse from the emerging walled-garden computing spaces we're allowing ourselves to be led into.

Why did Facebook remove the app? Mostly because it could. Possibly for the unforgivable crime of allowing a Facebook member to somewhat customize how Facebook displays on their own computer.

This from the FOSSforce website:

Facebook Permanately Deletes Social Fixer’s Page
Christine Hall

More bad news for Matt Kruse, the developer of the popular Social Fixer plugin that gives users some control on how their Facebook displays on their computer, as well as giving them some special features.

I told you on September 3rd that the plugin’s Facebook page had been removed without warning. At that time, Mr. Kruse was in the process of “appealing” Facebook’s decision–if that’s the proper word. While the social site did offer-up a button to click to request that Facebook reconsider their opinion, that was it. No text box to plead one’s case was offered.

As of yesterday, the page has been completely removed for violating “community standards.”

The Social Fixer destination on Facebook was quite popular. According to Mr. Kruse, the page had over 338,000 “likes.” In addition, Social Fixer has a Facebook Support Group with over 13,000 members, where users can get help with technical issues. A Social Fixer Facebook news page has 1.47 million followers.

In early September when the page was first removed, supposedly for “spamming,” Mr Kruse seemed confident the issue would be resolved and the page would eventually again be operational. As of yesterday, however, the page has completely disappeared. Visitors who attempt to visit the site are greeted with the notice: “Sorry, this page isn’t available. The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.”

On the Social Fixer website, Mr. Kruse writes that he doesn’t know why Facebook removed his page. He’s certain of one thing, however, it’s not because he’s a spammer...

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What makes the story even more interesting is that not only was the Social Fixer app (along with its webpage) removed, but the app creator's login (along with his wife's!) was also blocked.

That wasn’t the only action taken by Facebook when they permanently removed the page yesterday:

    “Not only did they remove the page, but they also blocked my personal account from posting anything for 12 hours (I can’t even Like anything). They also did the same for anyone who was an Administrator or Moderator of the Page – including my wife’s personal account! Members of the support team, who generously volunteer their time to help users, have been shut out as well. They did one big sweep, I guess.”
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Shutdown, removed from a catalog with no explanation or opportunity for any real appeal process, blocked from replying or even communicating - such is the brave new world of online services - and the environment in which the service users and software developers are finding themselves increasingly in.

It's been said many  times before, but it's still worth repeating: If you're not the company's customer - you're the company's product.

Well, it's a great sound bite, but that phrase bothers me. I think it's even more dangerous because it is more complicated than that!

With a wink at the pun, people "Like" Facebook. I think because they are tapping a dangerous deep flaw in our brain wiring about fame but without the fortune.

This generation of social media is locked in. In their devastating marketing, they have convinced the rank and file that they can't live without it. I heard fourth hand an old childhood acquaintance wanted me to get a Facebook acct so she could "keep in touch". (?!) She clearly didn't want to do the hard work of sending me an ... email!

So once we go to these walled gardens, then "communities" have to watch they don't step on toes.

The people are customers... just non-cash ones! So with that new term, we have interlocking customer transactions with a Man In The Middle Broker.

^I think the phrase was meant more in the way Stallman pointed out that The Facebook users were primarily a source to mine for data to sell to others plus an audience to put advertising in front of.  In no way were they to Facebook what is traditionally thought of as "a customer."

The issues involved here cannot be reasonably discussed in the Living Room. They belong in the Basement. The surface issues can be discussed here. The deeper problems can't.

We're talking about free speech here. (At the core.)

Can a company regulate free speech? Is a company human? Does a company have human rights? Now we're into a basement discussion.

@40hz - You should join the basement banter. We have some fun there. ;)

@ Ren - Nah.

I generally try to keep my words soft, sweet and wholesome.

Because there's always a chance I'll end up having to eat them some day.

It happens.  ;) 8)


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