Facebook Called me a Pet


Bruce BatDog Lane

Bruce checking his Facebook page.

Facebook wants to sell advertising.  To sell advertising they have to accurately account for the number of real “humans” that advertisers will be reaching when the buy ads on Facebook.  Who wants to pay to reach inactive or duplicate accounts? That’s reasonable.

Facebook’s share price dropped below $20 at the beginning of August when they admitted to reports of  “slowing growth” and “an admission of an alarming number of fake accounts.” Facebook has grown to have 955 million users this year, and according to figures reported by mynbc.com, where I learned all this and more, as many as 83 million of those accounts are fake. That includes as many as 5% which are duplicate accounts, 1.5%  are likely spam accounts, and then Facebook went on to blame “people who set up accounts for non-human entities, such as pets” when explaining the number of fake accounts. They singled us out.

Pets. That’d be me by their definition. Why they’d call me a pet, I don’t know.  I’m a member of my family:  while I may not have a birth certificate, I do have an AKC certificate documenting my name as Bruce BatDog Lane, certifying my parentage and date of birth. I get birthday presents and Christmas presents, I go to day camp, school, on vacations, and obviously have my own blog — what makes them think I’m a pet?

I jumped to a BatDog conclusion fairly quickly that pets would soon be high on the list of Facebook offenders and decided to see how they intended to accommodate pets with profiles, after all there are humans with pets using their site. I started snooping around Facebook looking at the page descriptions available to my “pet” friends when they decided to convert their profiles to pages.  Facebook offers six categories when creating a page and none of the descriptions include pets, dogs, cats, flying pigs, parrots, or anything similar as far as I can see.  Then a lightbulb went off and I decided to investigate the page Mark Zuckerberg created for his dog, Beast, and uncovered that page is set up as a “Public Figure”.  (This offered me some measure of solace as my Facebook page was created under the Public Figure designation also and therefore puts me in good company with Beast.)

On Sunday, August 26, I read a blog report on Socialeyezer.com sharing that Facebook really is deleting all inactive and non-human accounts. I deduce that shareholders and maximizing advertising revenue are two powerful motivators for Facebook to get serious about their Terms of Service (TOS): a handy-dandy little agreement that allows them to close your account without notice.

My detective work leads me to these two suggestions if you believe your Facebook profile might be placed on the “non-human” offender list. First, download your Facebook profile so that you have a backup to reload your content if needed and then quickly convert your profile to an appropriate page as soon as possible.  Woof!

Own Your Woof®

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