Feeds

Facebook gags verbal dissent group

'Quit it! You're mean!'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Facebook has silenced a 20,000-strong campaign group dedicated to the seemingly innocuous goal of stopping the site from forcing people to use the verb "to be" in their status updates.

The group, entitled "Campaign to lose the mandatory 'is' from facebook updates!", disappeared overnight on Wednesday without any warning to its creator, London-based Nick Shaw. He immediately wrote to Facebook administrators for an explanation, but has yet to get a response.

Shaw explained the motivation behind the campaign to El Reg: "Facebook has now become an international service and I have a few friends who find it difficult to update in their native language.

"That and it's a bit annoying talking about oneself in the third person all the time," he added.

For Facebook refuseniks, the status update field allows users to let their friends on the network know what they're up to, so long as you can be it. For example, "Mark Zuckerberg is working out whether he'll be able to afford a Boeing 767 party jet".

Hundreds of campaigns – some important, most trivial – organise themselves with Facebook groups. One was credited with bringing about a major climbdown on student fees by banking giant HSBC last month.

The "lose the 'is'" group had attracted thousands of supporters in just over a month. Other much smaller groups argue the issues from both sides too. "Besides furthering the campaign we had a nice community of really rather funny and interesting people," Shaw said. "Now we have 20,000 people with no idea what's going on and no idea how to get back in contact with them. Social networking indeed."

We contacted Facebook's spinners in the US to ask why the group had been deleted. The best response the public relations SWAT team could muster was links to the site's code of conduct and terms of use. We trawled through both (they're a hoot), and the only relevant passage was this, in the latter: "The Company may terminate your membership, delete your profile and any content or information that you have posted on the Site... for any reason, or no reason, at any time in its sole discretion, with or without notice."

So there you go, Nick. Facebook's baby corporate consciousness can throw its toys out of the pram at even the most benign dissent on its pages. And members can just shut up. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft WINDOWS 10: Seven ATE Nine. Or Eight did really
Windows NEIN skipped, tech preview due out on Wednesday
Business is back, baby! Hasta la VISTA, Win 8... Oh, yeah, Windows 9
Forget touchscreen millennials, Microsoft goes for mouse crowd
Apple: SO sorry for the iOS 8.0.1 UPDATE BUNGLE HORROR
Apple kills 'upgrade'. Hey, Microsoft. You sure you want to be like these guys?
ARM gives Internet of Things a piece of its mind – the Cortex-M7
32-bit core packs some DSP for VIP IoT CPU LOL
Microsoft on the Threshold of a new name for Windows next week
Rebranded OS reportedly set to be flung open by Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.