This is the fifth time I find myself in Facebook Jail. The first three times, I can understand just a little why Facebook threw a couple of red flags when I added people too rapidly. They thought I was a spamming psychopath with a cute profile picture – there are plenty of them out there. But I really do know a lot of people. I had 997 friends last year when I said ‘see ya‘ to the off-centered ‘f’ logo. But now I am locked out of adding any more friends for 12 more days …
So I knew Facebook didn’t like me after getting the warning “You are using the People You May Know in a way that it was not intended to be used” when I rejoined Facebook in July. That message was what I got after over-exerting my left mouse button from all the ‘Add Friend’ clicking I was doing to my hundreds of amigos. This kept up until finally Facebook sentenced me to 7 days of not being able to send a friend request. I guess I needed to cool my jets.
Then after my first jail term, being the bright engineer I am, I thought that rather than clicking on all these people I knew and misusing the ‘Friends You May Know’ app, I would just upload my whole address book to Facebook.
But, let’s just say 1400 email addresses was not a wise move on my part.
So I got a 14 day sentence because ‘there were too many friend requests without response or that I was reported as a spammer’. Then about a week after I was released from that term, I received another sentence, but this time, it was 30 days. Again, the same message – too many unanswered friend requests. Looking through the address list, now I can see why – I had every email address I had ever written or received from in there for over 8 years, including all those weird Craigslist anonymous email addresses that I was trying to ‘befriend’. Sorry to all my business contacts too – that was entirely stupid of me.
And that is when I realized it. I was a spammer.
Granted, Facebook does have artificial guidelines setup to try to catch crazy spammer bots, and nefarious advertising folk – and apparently I was fitting into the profile they had predefined. I was adding too many people at any one time. I was sending these huge email lists up to them to befriend and not getting any responses. These lists contained stupid email addresses that should never be used for Facebook – like from Craigslist. So I get it. I was internet profiled as a spammer. And they were right.
But that is where the story gets stupid. So, after getting the warning messages and serving three terms of Facebook jail, repenting (by turning from my evil way) and finally canceling all the ‘pending friend requests’, I was sentenced to yet another term, my longest term ever: 60 days. Yes, two months of not being able to digitally confirm my real-life friendships I didn’t get to in round 1, 2, or 3. “Okay,” I said to myself, “I probably deserve that, too. I can live with this. I still have access to Facebook and friends can add me, I just can’t initiate adding friends.” Oh man, if only Facebook had a California-like Prop 36 change to their own three-strike law …
That 60 day term was over the end of October. Finally!
And then I got hit with another 30 day term 2 weeks ago. No warning. No message about why. Just, “you are not allowed to add friends.”
So maybe I ought to destroy this account and redo it all over again. I think I have been branded with, let’s call it, the Scarlet Letter of Spam. I just don’t want to re-go through this whole roller coaster all over again.
My lesson from this is simply to add friends much slower and do not click the ‘Select all’ when uploading your address book. In the meantime, I do enjoy sweets and if anyone at Facebook sees my plight and believes in my repentance, I would gladly accept receiving a package of Bon-Bons like the Beagle Boys of Duck Tales past that were really Boom-Booms that I could use to blow this jail cell open and escape.
In the meantime, here’s my number. Call me, maybe.