I am Heading to Jail for Thirty Days!

Well, it is official. I have been sentenced, and will be spending the coming period in jail!!!

Facebook jail that is.

The great ones behind the heartbeat of society have decided, in their great wisdom that I have been a very naughty boy, and must be punished.


What have I done to deserve this harsh punishment? Well, the answer is something that does not, in the eyes of Facebook, warrant an explanation. When you anger the gods of social media, their own brand of justice is firm, it is swift, and it is damaging.

I may talk with jest, but the impact that this ban will have on my writing career is as of yet unknown, but already being felt.

What did I do?

As far as I can tell, I used Facebook, I posted in groups, and I chatted and commented on things. I used between 150 and 170 groups a day to post promotional links in. I varied my text and images, and never hit a group more than once a day, and if my last post was still near the top of the group, I would skip it that day, etc.

Why is this wrong?

It could be said that Facebook is not a marketplace that it is not for sales. I say bollocks to that logic Facebook is for that very purpose, or rather, the groups are for that purpose. If you can create a group and label it as being used for promotion, and Facebook has no problem with that group being created, that cannot have an issue with people using that group.

What I strongly believe is that it is just Facebook once again flexing their muscles and saying, if you don’t choose to use our paid advertising, we will direct you by hook or by crook.

What do I think of that?

Facebook can go fuck itself!

The only reason Facebook want to make people use their paid promotional system is to drive up the profit margins of the company, which will therefore increase the price of their shares. Nothing they do is in the interest of the consumer, the users, but rather a nod towards to the single entity that transcends all: religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and that is MONEY. The more their shares are worth, the more they are worth. It is that simple. 

It isn’t an individual attack.

That is true and not true in equal measure. I doubt they think sat there and thought, Hey, let’s go out today and fuck Alex Laybourne in the ass but on the other hand, these bans they are handing out are as personal and individual as it can get. For they are not punishing people in bulk for breaking the rules, but rather selecting individuals to punish. The net effect of which is the equivalent of throwing a thimble of water onto a house fire.

It does make me question why they hand out these suspensions. Do they really expect people to back down? I have three accounts that I can fall back on in cases like this. I, and the other writes I know, am not abusing the system, we are simply working our arses of to make our name in the writing world. We do not spam groups, we are nor unprofessional in anyway.

It’s only a month.

The length of the ban is an issue, it means I cannot use my main account to promote my writing, and while there are areas, Facebook has, until now been my main area of promotion, in terms of where I focus my efforts and where the majority of my sales come from.

The ban is a month now, but what will happen, I am too stubborn to stop promoting myself. Sure, I will change my tactics a little, but doubtlessly, so will Facebook, because I will not start paying for advertising on a site that uses such false methods as Facebook.

I used it once before, I got 49,000 views on a promo link, yet according to Facebook, only 14 people clicked the link. Now, I don’t expect 100% but a little more than 12 people would be normal. The natural conclusion is that Facebook were not being truthful with their stats. Either outright lies or bots boosting things. Either way, that is not how I work, or how I want to work.

So, we all change our tactics, and the next time my ban is longer.

You just sound bitter. Get over it.

On the personal level, I have done. I have moved on, I am using my second account and am looking into Google+ and Twitter, along with other avenues. However, on a professional level, this bothers me. Five authors I know have been banned this week. This is a troubling trend which feels as though Facebook are clamping down on independent writers (and others) for no reason other their own financial gain. They are messing with people’s careers, people’s lives. I know several writers that do this full time; they live from their writing, and use the groups on Facebook to promote themselves in.

Would Facebook be the same is a big name author decided to starting promoting themselves in this manner? Is their approach fair, is it right?

Ok, maybe you have a point.

Thanks, I like it when I agree with myself, although it doesn’t happen often. Should I be nervous?

Where will it end?

My biggest fear is that Facebook will continue their quest to make us pay for their services. Where would they go? I see them taking a step up and moving away from individual bans, and hitting the groups themselves. I mean, if you don’t want people posting promotional items, removing the platform will kill the individuals a lot quicker. Banning groups, closing groups down, making people pay to create a group. This would, of course lead to people having to pay to be members. Only small amounts, the more members the lower the fees, but still, paying nonetheless. That is where I see this heading, and it is a direction that concerns me. Not for me, or for individual writers and artists out there, but for who we are as a collective. Facebook has been the place where we have been able to build our platforms, a place that is not overrun by the big dogs. Take that away, and we will have to find a new place, or try to stand toe to toe with the established names, and even worse than that we will need to try and compete with their budgets and professional teams they have working their corner.



8 thoughts on “I am Heading to Jail for Thirty Days!

  1. First of all, don’t drop the virtual soap. Facebook prison is a lot like high school-the sex you want, you don’t get; the sex you get, you don’t want.
    Second, what a bunch of douchebags. If the people in the groups don’t have a problem with you posting then why should Facebook? Am I missing something here?

    1. I agree John. If they allow you to create a group and call it Book Promotion, then they cannot ban you from posting sales links. That is why I believe that will go after the groups next.

  2. That’s just plain wrong Alex. 😦 I spend next to no time on FB because I’ve never liked it, but I know they’ve been changing their policy bit by bit since the shares went public. I guess this is just the next flick of the whip.


    1. Thanks Meeks. Yes it is indeed Facebook flexing their muscles and claiming it is in the interest of the public to only have quality news information in the feeds. That in istelf sounds like censorship, but that is a different story all together.

      1. There was a great post on Indies Unlimited about Google communities – apparently they’re like FB Groups but without the straitjacket, at least for now. Might be worth a look.

  3. The funny thing is I expected this the moment the company went public but I listened to the “social media gurus” that kept on about how Facebook is here to stay and so on. I’ve since decided to switch more to Google + but I have a hard time remembering it (Old habits and all). Good luck, my friend. We’re behind you. 🙂

  4. I decided to move away from Facebook after I tried their paid promotions with no obvious return on sales. Instead I am directing my attentions at Twitter (which is far more accessible and friendly) and Google+ (which I have yet to spend a decent amount of time on)… See you on the other side Alex! ; )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s