Monday, October 3, 2011

Banned from Facebook

Well, this was bound to happen one day: I got banned from Facebook for not being real. Quote: "People on Facebook want to interact with their real friends and the people they know in the real world. Since fake accounts can damage the integrity of this environment, they are not allowed to remain on the site." I do not think that this statement is even remotely true. If I want to interact with my real friends and the people I know in the real world, I go out and meet them. The big advantage of a social network is that it enables you to make new friends which you don't know in the real world. The internet allows me to interact with people living far away from me, but sharing common interests.

Now I could make a new Facebook account using my real name, and populate it with my real world friends. But my real world friends aren't all that interested in Facebook games. And I would have to start my Facebook games over from zero, having lost for example my empire in Empires & Allies. Frankly, I would be ashamed bothering my real world friends with constant demands for virtual trinkets in this or that Facebook game. It is only by having people who are NOT your real world friends, but who agree on a simple deal of "I send you the virtual trinkets you need if you send me the virtual trinkets I need" that most Facebook games become playable.

And I suspect that this is exactly the reason why I got banned. Facebook games work by either requiring you to pay money, or bother your real world friends in the hope that they start playing and pay money. It is that, and not the "integrity of the environment" that I endangered. I was playing the system to get around the odious requirements of Facebook games, and Facebook banned me for it. I wasn't the customer, I was the product. And by not playing by their rules, I was a defective product, and got sorted out by Facebook's quality control.

With the current trend towards demand real IDs everywhere online, I wonder what will happen first: I lose all interest in online games, or all online games and platforms kick me out for not being willing to use my real name?

[EDIT: I found the following interesting rule on the page explaining why my account was disabled: "Do not contact strangers for the purpose of gaining an advantage in a game or application." Thus it is actually forbidden to actively find other people that aren't your real world friends but only play the same games as you are. You must pester your real world friends for virtual gifts if you don't want to get banned.]

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