The Not So Friendly Side of Facebook: What To Do If You've Been Banned from Facebook
It may come without warning. One day you're chatting with your friends on Facebook. The next day, you can't log in because you've been banned. How it happened may be a mystery to you, but apparently someone at Facebook thinks you did something wrong.
If you think Facebook is free-wheeling, open space where anything goes, it's time to think twice. It turns out that Facebook can and will ban users who engage in conduct that violates the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. According to the terms it has posted, Facebook may ban or block users who "violate the letter or the spirit of [the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities], or otherwise create risk or possible legal exposure for [Facebook.]" In short, Facebook can ban you for almost anything it deems unacceptable.
Most behaviors that result in a ban fall into three categories. Category one is engaging in fraud or deception. This includes setting up fake account, engaging in pyramid schemes or trying to steal information of other users. Category two involves using Facebook for pornographic or materials that are more appropriate for an adult bookstore. Category three consists of actions that appear spam-like and includes sending multiple commercial or promotional messages.
Users have reported Facebook bans as a result of the following violations:
- Not using their real names.
- Adding too many friends per day.
- Having too many friends. (Facebook allows no more than 5000 for a personal account.)
- Promoting a sweepstakes or a contest that Facebook did not authorize.
- Posting pornographic or inappropriate photos.
- Joining too many groups. (Facebook allows 200 groups per user.)
- Posting too many identical wall posts in the same session, especially if the posts were promotional.
- Sending too many identical e-mails to lists of friends.
Some users reported receiving a warning before being banned. Other users report being blocked without any prior notices. Because Facebook has not published any formal process related to the topic it can be difficult to know exactly what you should do if you've been banned.
Two Steps to Getting Back in the Door
Getting banned from Facebook doesn't have to be the end of your virtual world. If you find yourself locked out, here's what you'll need to do.
Step One: Read the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Make sure you understand what is and what is not allowed on Facebook.
Step Two: Send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know that you broke a rule, apologize, offer to fix the situation, and promise not to do it again. If you aren't sure what you did wrong, ask for clarification on the rules and how you broke them. Don't complain and don't argue. You are more likely to be reinstated if you are polite and factual in your communications.
Getting kick off Facebook can be a pain and getting back online may take time and patience. If you know the rules of the road, however, and you make a respectful appeal, you have a good chance of getting reinstated. If you don't get reinstated, well, there's always Google+.