Nazis vs. Facebook

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Well, not really, but that title sounded better then the others I was thinking.

So, this morning I got an email from the Iron Sky people, (if you remember, it’s this awesome movie set in an alternate time-line where the Nazis flee to the moon to plan their 4th Reich, and in 2018, they make it happen) saying how Facebook took down their fan page.  They are upset (rightly so).  But they also seem misinformed.

For starters, Facebook is a private company.  And they have a lengthy Terms of Service, that you read, and agree to when you sign up.

Part 5.1, and 5.2 covers what went on here:

  1. You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.
  2. We can remove any content or information you post on Facebook if we believe that it violates this Statement.

Pay special attention to 5.2.  Basically it’s up to them to say, “Yea I don’t like this, let’s take it down.”  What I envision went down is this:  the page was marked for review as a potential Hate Crime, Facebook employees being taxed for time, just skimmed it over, saw it mentioned Nazis, and a future invasion by them, and they basically though, ok, this is some strange Neo-Nazi site, let’s shut it down.  And that was the end of that.

In the email, they claim that:

Facebook gave no advance warning about closing down the fan page of this movie project and neither does it offer any kind of contact information to complain about the decision.

As far as I can tell, there’s nothing in the ToS requiring Facebook to give advance warning that they’re about to remove your stuff.  There is however a place to go to make an appeal, that’s part 5.4:

If we remove your content for infringing someone else’s copyright, and you believe we removed it by mistake, we will provide you with an opportunity to appeal.

So what it basically comes down to is this.

You own the content you post to your Facebook account, but Facebook owns the servers.  And they have total say over what gets posted there, and what doesn’t.  And they decide what to do with it.  You can ask nicely to get your stuff back up, or you can kick and scream.  Neither will get your stuff up though because you are free to go somewhere else.

Facebook doesn’t charge you to post things, and aside from a name, and email address, doesn’t have any other way to force you to do something.  From a legal standpoint, they are just covering their asses by removing things that even hint at copyright infringement, illegal things, or hate crime, because of all the negative press that will happen if something does come out of it.  It may seem unfair, but you have to remember, for companies, all they care about is the bottom line.  If they think that your page may violate a law, or include something of questionable legality, they will remove it to save themselves, and that is their right.

Many people don’t seem to grasp that concept.  And that seems like what happened to the Iron Sky people, but at least this woke them up to it anyway:

“There are many businesses that consider their Facebook presence to be an important part of their marketing. The fact that Facebook can just take down the page of a legitimate business without any warning or any means of contacting them is something most companies don’t realize.”

Hopefully more people will come to realize this, and stop relying on Facebook, and Twitter so heavily.  If anything I would use Stumble Upon.  Because unlike Facebook, and Twitter, SU drives traffic directly to your site, and on your site you can post whatever the fuck you want.  I hope that bold hammered it home for you.

Anyway, I’d also like you to know that I’ll never censor your comments, or delete them because you call me an idiot, I’ll post them true.  The only things that don’t get through are obvious spam, links to illegal/hate sites, and porn comments.

And, just so you can be remembered, here is the trailer for this awesome movie:

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