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The evidence against Facebook piles up

January 24th, 2008 by Graham Attwell

I am in York at a meeting of the Jisc Emerge programme. There seems to be increasing disillusionment with Facebook. And the evidence against Facebook is mounting. This is from the latest edition of the LabourStart newsletter.

“Facebook, the social networking website, is getting a lot of attention these days. In the trade union movement, there are differences of opinion about how useful Facebook actually is. Some of us are making a real effort to find out by using Facebook as an organizing tool. One of them is senior LabourStart correspondent Derek Blackadder, from Canada. Derek’s day job is as a staffer for the country’s largest union, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). He’s one of the people who thinks Facebook is potentially quite useful for trade unionists.

Well, maybe not so much anymore. You see, a few days ago, Derek was banned from Facebook. I’ll let John Wood from the U.K. tell the story in his own words: Derek got a note from the good book, telling him he was trying to add too many friends, and should calm down a bit, or else. Now as a union organiser, he’s quite likely to want to add lots of friends – it’s kind of what he does. So he waits a bit and tries again, and is told he can’t add any more at the moment and to wait and try later. Fair enough. He waits a bit more and tries again, same message. By now, he’s probably frothing at the mouth and muttering “must organise, must organise”, so he has another go to see if the coast is clear, and promptly gets himself a ban. That being a ban from Facebook itself – no more profile, no access to the stuff he’s built up, no appeal.

John has launched a Facebook group to sign people up to protest the ban on Derek. I am writing to ask each and every one of you to take a moment and sign up to join the group. “Eric Lee, who runs LabourStart suggests supporters should join Facebook. He says “I know that most of you are not yet signed up to Facebook. This is good time to see whether we can mobilize the kind of support — the thousands of names — that will force the owners of Facebook to reverse course and allow Derek to do what he does so well: organize.”

I am not sure we should encourage people to join Facebook. It may be time to campaign and organise against the platform owners.

3 Responses to “The evidence against Facebook piles up”

  1. Ray says:

    “I am not sure we should encourage people to join Facebook. It may be time to campaign and organise against the platform owners.”

    It has begun comrade.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7607272187

  2. Rob says:

    Alas, facebook is a private company, and as such is free to do as it pleases within the law. I’m sure the fine print of the terms and conditions sets this out. I would expect these to include that they can throw people off the site for any reason they like, barring any race, gender etc. factors which would be prohibited by law. If you don’t like it, start an open/wiki/p2p social networking tool and make your own rules. If you do it before anyone else, you might even turn a (small, ethical) buck on it.

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  1. […] Graham Attwell wrote an interesting post today on The evidence against Facebook piles upHere’s a quick excerptI am in York at a meeting of the Jisc Emerge programme. There seems to be increasing disillusionment with Facebook. And the evidence against Facebook is mounting.This is from the latest edition of the LabourStart newsletter. … […]

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