There are some Facebook pages that practically beg to be shut down. And then there are cases like that of design and pop-culture site The Cool Hunter, with Founder Bill Tikos claiming in a blog post that the site’s Facebook page, its 788,000 or so likes, and all of its content vanished with no warning or explanation eight weeks ago.
Facebook begged to differ, telling The Next Web:
This account has been disabled due to repeat copyright infringement under our terms, and the account has been removed from the site accordingly. Additionally, we have thoroughly reviewed all related reports and have determined that we took the correct action in this case.
Here are some of the highlights of Tikos’ blog post:
Eight weeks ago, our Facebook page with all of its content and our 788,000 fans — resources we have created and nurtured meticulously over the past five years — was gone.
Not blocked or invisible, but completely gone. Disabled. “Page does not exist.” No explanation, flimsy warnings, no instructions on what to do next. None of our numerous attempts to rectify the situation and resurrect the page has worked.
And because we suspect there are other businesses in the same bind, we are writing this to seek help and encourage open conversation. This is not a minor problem. This is a huge issue and potentially fatal to businesses. We feel that Facebook must change its one-sided, secret policies and deal with us, and others like us, openly and fairly.
TCH is an almost eight-year-old design and pop-culture site. We have 2.1 million monthly site visits and a 186,000-strong newsletter-subscriber list that reads like the Who’s Who of the design and marketing media. We have 247,000 Twitter and 83,000 Instagram followers.
But our Facebook presence has been a unique and extremely important part of our strategy. It is the water cooler of our global community. Losing our Facebook page is not just a minor hiccup. It is a serious loss of connection and interaction, and of a massive amount of content.
Since our page has been disabled, we have also received hundreds of emails and messages daily from fans worrying where we have gone.
In essence, we want to know this: What did we do? How do we rectify it? We have never intentionally broken any Facebook rules, and we are willing to do whatever it takes to get our page back. But we do not have the answers, and we do not know how to get them. We have tried everything in our power, and we are getting nowhere.
We had a momentary glimpse of hope when we asked for help via Twitter. The young and savvy Nina Mufleh contacted us and said she could help reinstate it. And she did! We got our page — minus its content. In five days, we had more than 400,000 fans back. But then Facebook disabled it again. Again, no email, no warning — just gone. That’s when we started to get really annoyed.
When our page was initially disabled, we contacted Facebook. The only response we received was, “This user was disabled for repeat IP infringement.” We have no idea what we were infringing on. Which images or posts, specifically, have caused this?
We know of only two infringements — two situations where Facebook closed our account — and we argue strongly that they were not infringements at all.
The problem with this is that you don’t know if what you are posting could irk Facebook.
But even if Facebook disagrees with the images we posted, are two images enough to kill our account with no chance of recourse?
The other reason that could have caused the closure of our Facebook page is that we sometimes use images even when we do not know who has taken the picture.
With Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and all of the other image-sharing opportunities today, millions of people and organizations share images — theirs and someone else’s — freely every day. We want to give credit always, but in many cases, we cannot find that information. On our “About Us” page and on our (now extinct) Facebook page, we specifically state that if we have posted an image that belongs to you, we want to know, so that we can give you the appropriate credit.
If Facebook made any sense at all, it would give us the contact information of the person who is complaining, so that we can resolve the issue with them. Right now, a completely anonymous and faceless Facebook tells you that a completely anonymous and potentially even false third party has complained about your page. Why can it not be open?
We have no idea why openness is such a foreign thing to Facebook. And more important, we cannot believe that it thinks everyone who clicks “share” on Facebook has checked that they personally have the right to post that image! That is a ridiculous idea. If people did that, Facebook would not be the business it is. It would be a tiny little official online group of insiders who share each others’ images and copy. Facebook is founded on FREE SHARING. It makes its money based on that sharing.
Bottom line: We need and want our Facebook account back. But we do not know how.
Readers: Should Facebook be more open with page administrators before shutting down their pages?