I’m hardly one to feel sympathy for politicians, but this is a good one. Majed Moughni, a Republican candidate for Congress last year in Michigan’s 15th district, is suing Facebook for damages after he lost the election, which he claims happened because his Facebook account was deactivated.
This lawsuit was filed to address the lack of due process at Facebook. Imagine for a minute if your Facebook page was deactivated. What took you years to accumulate is forever erased. Your posts, photos, and memories are gone forever. As we…speak, Facebook has no due process, no appeal, and no live person to communicate with.
Ah yes, that pesky appeals process issue, the one that affects both people who use their real names and people who don’t, politicians and activists and everyone in between. It happened a few weeks ago to Michigan journalist Tom Carr, who was told he’d lost his account because of a fake name (he managed to escalate an appeal regardless, through one of Facebook’s tricky appeals backchannels, and got his account back). It happened to Najat Kessler, whose real name was apparently so improbable that Facebook couldn’t believe it and deleted her account.
Majed Moughni was using his real name, and that’s not why his account was deactivated. In this case, it appears it was deleted for sending too many friend requests. That also happened to activist Rafik Dammak last year.
Though I can see why Facebook would construe such a thing as spam, it shouldn’t be grounds for deletion. There are a number of ways Facebook could mitigate concerns about spam: put an account into a holding queue, send a user through more intensive “education” about what spamming is. Or stop micromanaging its users altogether, perhaps.