Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Social Network Backup Anyone?

By: Alon Cohen - See me or call me

Backup is probably one of things that everyone wants to have but afraid to ask about (knock on wood). It is also probably the last thing anyone wants to hear about so I will keep that post brief.

I am sure all of you keep backups of your Pictures, Audio Files, Work files, yeah I know.. but what about your Facebook account or your MySpace friends list? For some people this is not critical, having about 5 friends is not something to write home about, but if you are someone like say Jeff Pulver with more than 5000 friends, or someone that rely on Facebook as part of your day to day operation or livelihood, like some event organizers, you need to take that backup into consideration.

So what could happen to your Facebook friends you ask? Well, how about some arbitrary guy at Facebook support decides that promoting your event is against the site regulations and all of what Facebook Term of Service stands for?

After all you state that “You understand that except for advertising programs offered by us on the Site (e.g., Facebook Flyers, Facebook Marketplace), the Service and the Site are available for your personal, non-commercial use only.”

Be aware that you may be receiving the following notice:

“You made one or more wall posts that violated our Terms of Use. Among other things, posts that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed. We also take down posts that attack an individual or group, or advertise a product or service. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in your account being disabled.”

And if you insist and say that you have not even posted anything in the past year you get:

“We do not allow users to send messages promoting or advertising a product, service, or opportunity. It is a violation of Facebook's Terms of Use to repeatedly send the same message or to make the same post.

Facebook prides itself in protecting users from spam, and we take this standard very seriously. You have been abusing the features of the site in a way that is not permitted. I'm sorry, but you will no longer be able to use Facebook. We will not be able to reactivate this account for any reason. This decision is final.”

Unfortunately you don’t have any recourse or anyone to talk to and your social network in which you have invested countless hours for building and pruning is now gone forever.

If you know of any friends-backup application for Facebook, let me know.

I like Facebook, but beware nothing is perfect.