The most random thing happened to me last night and I am not sure how it happened. I went to login to my Facebook account last night and next thing I know I get the following message:
“Your account has been disabled by an administrator. If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page here.”
The thing that really gets me is not one piece of communication from Facebook to the user, in this case, me other than at the login screen. There was not one email sent from Facebook possibly stating: “Your account was disabled for the following reason…”
Furthermore, typically when someone violates a terms of services or anything of that nature, there should be a communication sent out to the individual. When you strip someone of any type of product, service, account, etc. there needs to be a valid reason for it and also what they can do to re-initiate their account. Going WAY back into the past with AOL, they use to do this if your account was reported, etc. I remember a specific occurrence where i called someone a name as a joke, in a chat room and I was reported by someone else (yes, I am a geek that lives online practically and I did at some point hang out in chat rooms with friends, insert one of many jokes <here>). AOL still sent an email to us, saying the account was disabled for the following XX number of reasons, the specific comment made, and furthermore, provided steps to getting our account back.
Moving back to Facebook, you can not strip someone of their means of communication and not provide reasoning for doing so. Disabling a users account without any explanation is like stripping a family of telephone and snail mail communication in the 1970′s, you just don’t do that!
So, I went on my way and tried to do a little digging to see if I could find a way to contact customer support or something along those lines. As you can see in the screenshot above there is a fancy little link to the FAQ page, “here”. (Side mistake by Facebook…right…because “here” describes what this beautiful little page is? Why not just link “disabled account FAQ page” to be a little more semantic…sigh)
What do we have here, on this fancy little FAQ page which provides absolutely no contact information? Ooops, I leaked it a bit to early…yes…you heard me right…the FAQ page does not provide ANY contact information to the user attempting to get in touch to find out why their account was disabled. Facebook, seriously? Are. You. Kidding. Me?!
Here is the fully open disabled user FAQ page, with…(yes I’m going to say it again)…NO CONTACT INFORMATION:
Let’s recap for a moment here on where Facebook had a FAIL of EPIC proportions:
- First and foremost, disabled a users account without any absolute reason
- Provided the user with no explanation, let alone a detailed explanation of the problem
- Did not provide any steps to re-enable or bring their account back online
- Worst of all, did not provide any contact information to the user for them to contact facebook.
A lot of the actions above can be easily handled by setting up triggers in your database or code. The disabling action should trigger an email, of which, should contain the reasons for disabling the user. The reasons can be linked to the users profile, provide that string of text in the email. Furthermore the contact details should be provided in the email template and/or a list of things the user can do in the meantime. Rather than getting frustrated and writing a blog post, like me.
Now, I have actually emailed facebook, the disabled email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I found that address thanks to Steve Ganz doing a search for me. (Which I’ll admit, I should have thought of doing, but was so confused I didn’t) The url to that page is http://www.facebook.com/help.php?hq=account+disabled. We will see how this comedic drama of my account being disabled turns out. Hopefully Facebook can clean up their customer support and disabled account policies in the meantime as well.
7/13 @ 4:05pm: It is a Sunday and typically not a “business day”…but 12 hours since my account was disabled and still no contact from facebook support or a reply to the disabled email address.
7/14 @ 8:05am: It has been a full day since my first emails have been sent off to Facebook’s disabled support and I still have not received an email. My account is still disabled.
7/15 @ 4:55 pm: Facebook finally re-actived my account and said that I need to browse Facebook less…interestingly enough, they state there are rate limits, but refuse to state what those rate limits are.