I’m getting quite used to the hypocrisy behind the likes of Google and Facebook. Remember last year, when Facebook received criticism for freezing accounts because users did not use their real names? It’s not dissimilar to the furore that came up when Google brought in the same policy a few years ago, affecting the people you might expect: people who were hiding from abusive ex-partners, for instance, and those in the drag community.
Facebook eventually apologized, with Chris Cox offering a heartfelt statement on behalf of the firm here.
But, in usual fashion, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing at Facebook.
Even though I believe Mr Cox’s apology to be sincere, Facebook’s systems are still whack. Remember, this is a website that continues to freeze parts of its site on the 1st of each month because it’s not the 1st in California—probably because its boffins don’t know there are time zones that tick over to the new month before US Pacific time.
One drag queen friend waited till January before her account was reinstated and, today, LaQuisha St Redfern lost hers, and Facebook did not offer her the opportunity to appeal. Her name has been banned.
I know that’s two people caught up in the strange policies of Facebook, but after getting this bad rap in October, what’s with not even giving someone the opportunity to appeal this decision? Did Facebook even learn from it?
This is a company that permits spammers to go on there en masse, and prevents you from reporting any more than 50 before banning reports from you for a day. Considering I’ve run into 277 a day, an upper limit of 50 is madness.
This is a company that says it’s against click-farms, yet has been proven to use them. I’ve been reporting them, too, and according to Facebook’s own support pages, the company allows them to stay.
In other words, Facebook puts spammers ahead of drag queens.
I’ve written to Mr Cox, very politely, and thanks to Magenta Gutenberg on Twitter, I’ve found this Change.org petition to allow performers to use their stage names on Facebook. At Google, we got lucky because we found someone who cared about his company’s reputation when my friend Vincent lost his blog. Will we be as fortunate at Facebook?
PS.: To answer my last question, the answer is yes, though one wonders whether we would have been as successful without pressure from different parties. LaQuisha’s account was restored just after 6 a.m. GMT on Easter Day.—JY
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