How to Disappear Completely

Facebook laid the ontological smackdown on me yesterday. I was trying out one of Facebook's new features, importing RSS feeds into your Facebook activities feed, and apparently I tripped something on their end that got me flagged as a suspicious user. (I'm reposting my email to their tech support folks with more details below.) I'm like Richard Scoble, though cuter, and I didn't do anything stupid like try to scrape contact info.

I'm not too confident in getting a timely response from the normal support channels, but fortunately I know a few folks within the company and hopefully things will get sorted soon. One of the amusing things about getting my account suspended was that it generated not one but twenty identical emails from Facebook, sent within a short period of time, each reading "Your account has been disabled for persistent misuse of the site. Please contact for more information." So Facebook apparently has some issues with throttling in their own anti-DoS notification system.

In the meantime, I flat out don't exist as far as Facebook is concerned. Sheryl is still listed as Married, though to no one in particular (getting your Facebook account suspended is not yet grounds for divorce; let's hope Prop. 24 doesn't pass this November). I'm still in a bunch of Facebook pictures, but all the tags pointing to me are gone (if Facebook had the Google engineering-fu they'd have blurred my face). And I don't show up in anyone's Friends list anymore, though no one received notification that I disappeared. My account's foreign key got just a tad more foreign, in the whole CIA-black-site-secret-prison kind of way.

Here's the email I sent to


So I was trying out the new mini-feed RSS feed importation, and I appear to have gotten my Facebook account suspended because of that. I'm not exactly sure how that happened. The first thing I tried to import was a Yahoo! Pipe aggregating all my various activities

This appeared to succeed and a new mini-feed entry was created saying that I had created 51 new stories, or something along those lines. (I certainly didn't want the 51 most recent things shared, and I wasn't given control over how many items got shared.)

This didn't look like it would be terribly useful, so I wanted to import my blog's feed instead. I didn't see any option to remove the previous Yahoo! Pipes feed, so I just entered the URL for my blog's Atom (not RSS) feed into the import tool,

At this point, I was apparently logged out of Facebook and my account was suspended. I'm sorry if my initial Yahoo! Pipes feed ended up importing too many stories and that triggered some sort of flag, but it's definitely not something I had any control over and sounds like something that's more indicative of a buggy backend than anything else.

I'd obviously like my account reinstated, and I think I'll refrain from testing any new Facebook features for a while...

-Jeff Posnick


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