A writer for AOL News is suing Facebook for a whopping $1 for labeling him a spammer.
And he’s put out a press release to prove it.
Of course, the press release and the lawsuit it trumpets draws attention to blogger David Fagin’s AOL column as much as his beef Facebook.
That will send more traffic his way. Good for him! You go, guy!
Given the state of things at AOL News after the acquisition of Huffington Post, Fagin’s publicity stunt is brilliant if it helps ensure that he continues to get paid for his writing.
Long after Fagin first kvetched about it in his column, he continues to see error messages like the two shown to the right.
They make him mad and he’s just not going to take it anymore! So here’s the text of the press release he put out on PR Newswire today:
There aren’t too many words that exist in Webster’s New Millennium Dictionary that conjure up more offensive and sleazy images than that of a “spammer.” It’s pretty much the equivalent of an online pickpocket or con artist.
Nonetheless, the first time David Fagin saw he was being blocked from sending friend requests on Facebook, as well as being labeled a spammer, he didn’t think much of it. Then, when it happened again, and he was informed that he was in danger of having his account deleted, he tried to resolve it by reaching out to Facebook’s support department – only to discover they don’t have one.
“Some might say ‘What’s the big deal? It’s just a stupid social networking site,'” says Fagin. “But, when you’re talking about arguably the biggest online presence the world has ever seen, one that’s currently worth more than Microsoft, and there’s no way to reach a live human being, that might be something for the FTC and/or congress to at least think about.”
“It’s not just the support issue, either,” Fagin goes on to say. “Facebook is actively contradicting their own policies. On one hand, they tell you not to ‘friend’ anyone you don’t already know. On the other, the site constantly bombards you with names of people that Facebook themselves suggests you should ‘friend’, as you already have multiple friends in common. This also runs in direct contradiction with the spammer label. If everyone on the site is only supposed to be friends with people they know, then everyone is a spammer. As, no one knows two thousand six hundred and eighty-eight people, personally. Not evenDonald Trump. Not to mention, Facebook wants you to connect with as many people as possible. That’s how they get their advertisers salivating; by everyone ‘sharing’ and ‘liking’ their favorite things. Only being connected to thirty-six people doesn’t really do much for the folks at Coke or Starbucks. But a thousand connections, who can all spider off to another thousand, now that’s viral marketing at its finest.”
Upon discovering Facebook did not provide legitimate help or support of any kind to provide resolution in the matter, Fagin – who writes a column for AOL News- decided to blog about it (The piece can be seen here; Facebook article). He states, “To me, being threatened with banishment from Facebook in 2011 is the equivalent of having AT&T cancel your phone service in 1981. Where do you go to network with people in the modern age? Myspace? Please.”
The story received thousands of hits, made its way to AOL’s home page, and caught the attention of litigation attorney, Gillian Overland, esq., of Overland Law & Mediation in New York City.
“I read David’s article and completely agreed. The fact that you’re dealing with a company as large and as powerful as Facebook, and their only means of public intercourse is a run-of-the-mill FAQ page? This needs to be fixed.”
But how do you fix a problem when there’s no one there to fix it?
“Unfortunately, it took a murder to get regulators to force Craigslist to change their policies. In this case, it seems the only way to get Mark Zuckerberg and co. to respond to user complaints is with lawsuits,” Fagin says. He also adds, “Obviously suing the world’s biggest company for a dollar won’t hurt their pocketbook, but it might get the public debate going. And that’s the main objective here.”