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Facebook-Deprived Man Sues For $500K

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the farmville-or-die dept.

The Courts 259

broggyr writes "According to a story from MSNBC: 'For Mustafa Fteja, Facebook is more than just a hobby. It's the main way the 30-year-old Albanian native has stayed in touch with friends and family all over the world for three years, and when he was inexplicably cut off from it, he did what every other person in this country seems to do when they're mad enough: he sued. In seeking $500,000, Fteja is suing Facebook for disabling his account, in which he had about 340 friends and family and had spent "timeless hours creating content and relationships [Facebook] benefited from," the suit contends. He wants it back on, and he wants the company to pay for the damage of alienating him from his family and friends (about $1500 per friend/family).' Must be nice when you can use a free site and expect to get paid when they cut you off."

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Is it free (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35055848)

Considering you are required to give up your rights to any information posted on Facebook, does that not indicate you are in fact paying a fee for using it? It might not be a monetary fee, but a fee none the less.

Re:Is it free (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055864)

Sure, but when you sign those terms I assume you also agree that they can kill your account for any time for any reason (I've never read them as I don't use facebook, but this seems a pretty standard "cover your ass" clause in most TOS).

Re:Is it free (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056046)

TOS is as enforceable as a EULA.

IF you have a better lawyer, then you are full of WIN!

Re:Is it free (2)

Pi1grim (1956208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056352)

Guess who can afford a better lawyer? Facebook or some Joe Nolife? Especially if you take into consideration, that for Facebook it's not about $500K, it's about every two-bit slacker that has ever been banned from Facebook to get in line to get his slice of Facebook's cut. Ain't gonna happen.

Re:Is it free (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056348)

Those things could conceivably be consideration for a contract, if only the other elements of a contract were present.

De-ja-vu (3)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055850)

Hasn’t this been tried with google?

No matter how engrained a free service becomes in your life, unless you have a contract with the provider I can’t see how you are in any way entitled to damages when it’s taken away from you.

And at least in the google case I can sympathize. I still think google has the right to do so, but I can feel for the small business that suddenly loses it’s income stream because google lowers their rank. This is a social networking site... get a grip and/or a life.

Re:De-ja-vu (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055880)

You are absolutely correct. In fact, even of the services you pay for, you cannot sue them if they don't provide you the service. If the electric company decides not to provide you with service, you cannot sue them, nor can you sue your gas provider, your mobile phone service provider, your broadband provider, or your cable provider. Read the fine print in your contract. You are obligated to pay them every month, but if they do not provide you the service you paid for, then you are just out of luck.

Enforceability of service level agreements (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055944)

Please allow me to summarize what I understood of your paragraph: "Service level agreements are unenforceable even from monopoly public utilities." Can you recommend any Google keywords with which to dig up citations? Or what did I misunderstand?

Re:Enforceability of service level agreements (1)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056036)

Im not a lawyer, but I think "service level agreements" is the key phrase there. With my residential internet, my service agreement is clearly stating that while they make best effort, if it goes down for a month or something, tough beans. You can only enforce what is agreed upon.

You can get service agreements that are more "heads will roll if we go down", this is usually what you are paying for if you get a T1 line.

Re:Enforceability of service level agreements (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056342)

A contract, where one party only has to try their best efforts, with no real hard obligations, while the other must pay in cold, hard cash, on time, every month or else doesn't sound exactly fair to me.

I'm all for free enterprise and freedom of contract, but I'd sure as hell sue them if they take cash for no service and/or cause me undue losses or effort. Contracts, where one side takes money and may or may not provide any service of maybe high, medium or low or whatever else quality while the other side just has to pay up and hope are of course valid contracts - but only when the company is registered in Nevada and has a valid license for gambling. Everywhere else, it is illegal and I won't gamble anyway as a matter of principle.

Re:Enforceability of service level agreements (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056392)

Go look at the Facebook user agreement page. The judge will, as it's the binding contract. Then he'll throw it out of court with prejudice. It ought to be required reading for all of its users, who gloss it and just start friending their merry way.

Re:Enforceability of service level agreements (1)

francium goes boom (1969836) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056764)

Have you tried reading the user agreement? Then try the privacy policy, the damn thing is longer than the constitution and I'd say 90% of America hasn't even read that! Most of the time these agreements are so full of legalese that the average person can't even understand them if they do read them.

Re:Enforceability of service level agreements (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056824)

I did read it. That's why my FB participation is locked down tight. I use a separate browser instance exclusively for FB-- it's the only reasonable way.

Re:Enforceability of service level agreements (2)

Anrego (830717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056826)

If a utility could be sued for downtime by most of their users, you'd be paying a _lot_ more for your internet and cable.

That's really what it's about.. you are getting cheap internet in exchange for not having a solid service level agreement in place. As I said in my original post, if you want a solid service agreement where they are contractually bound to provide you a certain level of service, and are penalized for breaches of said service.. you can get it.. but not for $30 a month.

Re:De-ja-vu (4, Informative)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055982)

Even if you don't pay your gas bill at all in many states they can't cut you off in winter. Many water utilities can't cut off your water ever.

Re:De-ja-vu (1)

Pi1grim (1956208) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056478)

Please tell me you're not comparing Facebook to water or gas providers? It's a social netword for crying out loud.

Re:De-ja-vu (1)

yotto (590067) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056566)

Whoever brought up utilities first used them as an example of something that was far more important that Facebook, that you still can't sue if you lose.

So while they were technically comparing them, it was like comparing the mass of an atom to the mass of the Sun.

Re:De-ja-vu (2)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056054)

You are obligated to pay them every month, but if they do not provide you the service you paid for, then you can call your state's public utility commission, board of trade, state AG, or even the FTC, depending on type of company, and report them for non-delivery of service.

FTFY. Just because you yourself can't sue someone doesn't mean there isn't someone out there with an awfully big stick who can play whack-a-provider if they don't honor their contracts.

Re:De-ja-vu (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056540)

IANAL

Paid services, especially utilities, are a different matter. If you experience an unintentional disruption of service like a car hits a power pole, then your electric company usually isn't liable. However, if the electric company disconnects your service without going through the proper procedure then they can be liable.

Many years back, the southern company (The extra-large regional power company in the southeast US) actually reimbursed me for food spoilage from a power disruption that they caused. I've since forgotten the details. Screw ups do happen, and my utility company made claim forms available and made things right.

Comcast, my cable provider, credited my account for the duration of the outage when a tree knocked down the cable connecting the utility pole and my house because they couldn't get a repair crew in my house right away (it was a major storm and outages were wide spread).

My point being that my personal experience with my utility companies seems vastly different from what you are trying to sell.

Re:De-ja-vu (1)

RussellSHarris (1385323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056724)

Oh really?

In three states, there is a provision called the "Cold Weather Rule." In Minnesota, Missouri, and Kansas, the power company cannot turn off the heat to a home under certain circumstances. For instance, in Minnesota, homeowners are protected from heat shut off from October 15-April 15 each year. In Missouri, the heat can not be turned off if the temperature is forecasted to drop below 32 degrees. In 2009, the Kansas Cold Weather Rule when into effect for the period of November 1-March 31. There are also some regulations in New York City that may prohibit shut off of heating during the cold weather months.

http://commonlaw.findlaw.com/2010/01/what-to-do-when-the-cold-snap-is-on-but-heat-is-off.html [findlaw.com]

Care to hazard a guess what happens if the power co. shuts off an elderly shut-in's heat during the winter and they freeze to death?

Re:De-ja-vu (1)

tkprit (8581) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056808)

I've never RTFC (lol, 'contract'), but when we've lost power, telephone, and/or internet, we've always gotten a deduction on our bill. It might just be friendly cust. svc., of course, but I think they DO have to provide your service. (Virginia)

Strange Bias? (4, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055858)

"Free as in Beer" is becoming expensive these days! If we're going to agree we're now discussing Facebook as the metagame to adapt around, then we can't just give them a free pass to boot the user but keep all his nice crispy data they gathered for their ads.

Re:Strange Bias? (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056062)

Facebook has never been free as in beer. I have never had to give up a ton of personal info to get free beer, it's just handed to me.

Re:"Free" (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056290)

Sure, so help me out - what's the nifty new term for non-cash value trades?

Re:Strange Bias? (4, Funny)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056314)

Conversely, you've probably given up a ton of personal information after several free beers.

Re:Strange Bias? (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056692)

there's an actual trade. the web is not usually 'free'. kids with nothing but time on their hands and no income think that the web is free but when you give info to the greedy '2.0 asshole webmasters' you HAVE paid for the content. you think they'd just give content away totally literally for free?

payment is much more than cash, checks and credit cards. you pay but not in direct cash.

but you DO give something and you get something.

to me, that's a contract and you certainly sign agreements saying you'll 'consume' their crap and they will continue to 'get you' crap to consume.

the way to fix this is to stop giving kids the fake impression that they can get stuff for free and it can keep going on and on that way. ALL websites that are worth anything should have micropayments (less than a penny here and there). it won't hurt us but it will ensure that we have SLA's and since we are paying, we have a RIGHT to demand better (or any!) service.

this free shit is all fake and causing us problems. they can pull the rug out from us because, hey, its ALL FREE, right? we can change terms, track you, send your browser spam, consume your network i/o, cpu and disk and you can't say DICK about it, cause, well, we are GIVING it to you. right?

that's a lie.

I'd like to see 'free sites' go away someday and the system of micro or even nanopayments be put in place.

finally an end to FORCED advertisements. stop giving the webmasters an excuse for mining your data and sending you bannerads. if you can make tiny payments, they would then have no legit leg to stand on in terms of these intrusive and invasive policies.

the webservices-for-free scam should actually be investigated and outlawed. this is corporate abuse that is allowed to go unchecked by our lawmakers (who laugh all the way to the corporate owned banks).

Re:Strange Bias? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056786)

I know several women who will give out personal information to get free beer.

Re:Strange Bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056066)

I agree, just because you do not pay for a service does not mean you have no rights. On the other hand, if FB "reserves right to cancel any account for any reason at any time, but we keep your data", I guess there wouldn't be much anyone can do.

You can buy friends @ five for a penny ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055860)

There are plenty of sites that sell facebook friends and followers, as low as 5 for a penny. So his 350 "friends" are worth less than a buck. He'd be better off looking for spare change in the couch.

Re:You can buy friends @ five for a penny ... (1)

DeathToBill (601486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055990)

I did this yesterday! I came up with about $0.30, €4.15 and 75p. Oh, and 20 Taiwan New Dollars. Not sure how that converts to friends, though.

Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (3, Insightful)

Rinnon (1474161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055904)

You still have Telephone, you still have Internet, you still have any number of ways that people can use to keep in touch. No more than 20 years ago, we didn't even have Internet as commonly as we do now. This is not a requirement for you to live. They didn't cut off your power unjustly, or even your phone line. When I read "More than just a hobby" I thought it was going to explain that he makes a living through facebook... maybe then I'd see where he's coming from. As it is, all I see is another facebook addict who feels that it's his god given right to keep up to date with his friends.

This looks like a pretty clear cut cash grab. He says it's for "Justice" but I call bullshit on that. Justice in the amount of five hundred thousand dollars maybe. Too bad for him, I'm pretty sure there is something in the EULA that would state Facebook reserves the right to cancel your account for whatever reason they want. I don't know what this guy is expecting to have happen. In the end, frankly, I hope they counter sue for legal costs. Suing for a ridiculous reason like this shouldn't go unpunished. It's an affront to the legal system to be wasting it's time like this.

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (2)

Nikkos (544004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056158)

Do you have family thousands of miles away in a foreign country? 20 years ago instead of facebook keeping you close with your family and friends, you just didn't talk/see them. Going abroad meant saying goodbye. You didn't call them but for holidays if you could even afford it - it cost anywhere from $1-5 or more a minute to call overseas. I was in Petrozavodsk Russia in 1995, at that time it cost about $2.50 a minute to speak to my family in the US.

For most people, facebook is a unique little addition to their everyday life and a way to see what Johnny from 3rd grade is doing these days. For others, it's a lifeline to their family and culture from vast distances away. I think we need to be aware of that when we consider just how much affect the internet and facebook has had on the world.

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056224)

It's FREE.... and in no way his to control. Buy a phone card you dolt!

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (1)

dunezone (899268) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056236)

For others, it's a lifeline to their family and culture from vast distances away. I think we need to be aware of that when we consider just how much affect the internet and facebook has had on the world.

Great story but Facebook is a service offered for free. They don't guarantee you anything that warrants a 500k lawsuit.

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (1)

swalve (1980968) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056508)

The price you pay has little to do with damages. A doctor is not somehow immune to malpractice if he decides not to charge you. Damages are not just to recover what you have paid.

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (1)

Rinnon (1474161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056286)

Do you have family thousands of miles away in a foreign country? 20 years ago instead of facebook keeping you close with your family and friends, you just didn't talk/see them. Going abroad meant saying goodbye. You didn't call them but for holidays if you could even afford it - it cost anywhere from $1-5 or more a minute to call overseas. I was in Petrozavodsk Russia in 1995, at that time it cost about $2.50 a minute to speak to my family in the US. For most people, facebook is a unique little addition to their everyday life and a way to see what Johnny from 3rd grade is doing these days. For others, it's a lifeline to their family and culture from vast distances away. I think we need to be aware of that when we consider just how much affect the internet and facebook has had on the world.

I'm 100% behind the idea that The Internet needs to be a protected right. I really do think everyone who wants access to the Internet, should be provided access, and that guaranteeing access of SOME kind should be mandatory. But we're not talking about the Internet, we're talking about facebook, which is a very small part of the Internet itself. I'm not saying it's not convenient, and I'm not saying it hasn't made a lot of people's lives much easier. I'm saying it's not a god given right, and suing because it was taken away is not going to accomplish anything.

This man still has many ways he can communicate with his family. He has Email, he has AIM/MSN/ICQ or whatever he chooses. He has Skype or any variation on these. He can start a Blog, etc. He is FAR from disconnected, and has many many ways to stay in touch. Facebook is just the one that requires the least amount of effort put forward to actually touch base with someone. It is easily the most convenient. The points you're making are all points that are valid to the Internet itself, not facebook specifically.

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056648)

Bullshit.

Send them emails, cc each other too if you want that whole goldfish bowl vibe going on in facebook land.

Oh wait. You did say 20 years ago, so to be fair you're right about that. But it's nothing to do with facebook - if you want to keep in touch with people today it's pretty easy with emails and/or skype. Facebook just serves to aid narcissism, and nothing more.

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (1)

naasking (94116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056216)

I'm pretty sure there is something in the EULA that would state Facebook reserves the right to cancel your account for whatever reason they want.

I'm pretty sure this is where the justice comes in.

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (1)

Rinnon (1474161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056410)

I'm pretty sure there is something in the EULA that would state Facebook reserves the right to cancel your account for whatever reason they want.

I'm pretty sure this is where the justice comes in.

They are not like almost any business in this regard. Most businesses reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for almost any reason. Maybe that in and of itself is injust as you are suggesting. But that's a much, much bigger discussion than just this little tiff about Facebook.

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (1)

naasking (94116) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056834)

Most businesses reserve the right to refuse service to anyone for almost any reason

Certain types of discrimination are illegal, so not all reasons are legit. Whether this situation qualifies depends on the outcome of this suit. That's how the law evolves.

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056438)

EULA/TOS dont hold up in court at all. their legal value is roughly 0.

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (1)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056500)

People did live without electricity, gas and phone lines for several millennia. Does that mean they can cut them off? And if you were provided with free gas, heating, electricity and transportation for years and then quickly cut off for no reason, you'd be troubled as well.

City dwellers may need gas for heating and cooking more than people in rural areas, but those need their car more. And nerds need Internet access more than jocks. .
Now, Facebook may not be the most life-critical utility to me, but the question should be "When does a nice-to-have utility become a must-have necessity and for whom and why?"

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (1)

brantondaveperson (1023687) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056700)

That's a very good question, and not an easy one to answer.

Here's my answer though, for what it's worth. The Internet is a right, in very much the same sense that water and shelter and being allowed to own and read whatever books your please are all rights.

Facebook is not a right, in the same sense that access to coca-cola, and having a swimming pool, and being allowed to nick whatever books you please from the public library are not rights.

All grey areas (except the book theft part obviously), all debatable, but I would think that this is pretty much how a court is going to see it.

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (1)

Rinnon (1474161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056746)

People did live without electricity, gas and phone lines for several millennia. Does that mean they can cut them off? And if you were provided with free gas, heating, electricity and transportation for years and then quickly cut off for no reason, you'd be troubled as well.

City dwellers may need gas for heating and cooking more than people in rural areas, but those need their car more. And nerds need Internet access more than jocks. . Now, Facebook may not be the most life-critical utility to me, but the question should be "When does a nice-to-have utility become a must-have necessity and for whom and why?"

Yes, you can cut them off. Gas, Phone, Power, those things are not free, they are paid for by you, every month. Stop paying, stop receiving. Your suggestion, that because someone is receiving something for free, they should continue to receive it for free, because taking it away would trouble them is nothing short of baffling to me. Nothing is free, someone ELSE is just paying your way if you aren't, and they are probably getting something out of that too, or they likely wouldn't do it. If those people don't want to pay your way anymore, why should they be forced to? No one is going to force the Gas company to service you after you breach your contract and don't pay for months. Why should someone force Facebook to continue to service someone after they breached the contract they agreed to when they started using the service?

Re:Hope the Counter sue for Legal Costs (1)

AchilleTalon (540925) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056632)

I don't agree with you. If Facebook is to establish itself as the unavoidable social network place, it shouldn't be able to kickout anyone on an abritrarily basis or even weak basis compare to civil rights. This is somewhat equivalent to virtual emprisonment and it shouldn't be something Facebook uses at its own discretion. Otherwise, it's time to reinvent social networking.

With a name like that.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35055906)

Mustafa Fteja??? The letters 'F' and 'T' should never appear next to each other without a vowel separating them, unless it is at the end of a word such as 'draft' or 'theft'.

Re:With a name like that.... (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055994)

The letters F and T appear together because it is phonetic in order to write the name the way it sounds. There are no rules in English about how foreign names should be spelled.

Re:With a name like that.... (1)

slater.jay (1839748) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056018)

Obviously you're not a speaker of Russian. 'ft' is a tame consonant cluster for it. Try 'fstr' on for size.

Re:With a name like that.... (1)

brantondaveperson (1023687) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056716)

sounds like libc to me

Re:With a name like that.... (1)

tonique (1176513) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056044)

Ah, the name is likely Albanian. For more exciting consonant clusters, you can always try Georgian (no, that isn't the most spoken language in Atlanta). English "screeve" is a borrowing from Georgian mts'k'rivi for a linguistic concept, for example.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screeve [wikipedia.org]

Apparently, mtvrali means 'drunk'.

Re:With a name like that.... (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056070)

I like that in the english language, all the rules are "you should always/never X, unless Y or maybe Z". In other words, I have just one thing to say to you: you're a ghoughphtheightteeau head.

Re:With a name like that.... (5, Informative)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056086)

Mustafa Fteja??? The letters 'F' and 'T' should never appear next to each other without a vowel separating them, unless it is at the end of a word such as 'draft' or 'theft'.

After reading your comment I must say that's a rather lofty claim. I could probably debunk it further if I spent more than fifteen seconds on it.

Re:With a name like that.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056094)

He's Albanian, as noted in the summary. Thanks for playing.

(Just because it's not usual in English doesn't mean it's unusual in other languages. For example, the Russian word for "second" [that is, "2nd", and not 1/60 of a minute] is pronounced ftorói.)

Re:With a name like that.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056320)

After i lifted a a fifth...

Re:With a name like that.... (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056452)

The word "fifth" doesn't really count here, as <th> is a digraph representing a different sound than <t> alone.

So... (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055938)

How much of this will Facebook be able to counter in the first five minutes when they present their ToS as evidence and ask the guy in front of the court if he agreed to those terms?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056256)

Alternatively, when have ToS ever been enforcable? Perhaps i'm out of touch with how it goes down in courts, but I've always held the assumption ToS are absolutely worthless in courts. I suspect he doesn't really expect to see any money, he's just trying to draw some attention to his plight.

Re:So... (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056424)

TOS are not enforcable in courts, they are nothing more than wishlists that companies write hoping people don't realize they don't have to abide by them.

Free? (1)

singingjim1 (1070652) | more than 3 years ago | (#35055952)

Free is a relative term.

Re:Free? (2)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056218)

Freedom isn't free.
Freedom is definitely not ad supported.

Re:Free? (1)

Phaedrus420 (860578) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056616)

Freedom costs a buck o' five.

Yeah, yeah, private site and all that (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056004)

but you know what, it's becoming increasingly hard to function effectively without a Facebook account. Just like a cellphone and a car, they're "luxuries" that you're expected to have, and you stand out and look weird when you don't. Your boss expects you to get to work (car), expects instant contact (cell phone) and now expects you to be a team player on your Facebook site.

Re:Yeah, yeah, private site and all that (2)

Mike Mentalist (544984) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056096)

but you know what, it's becoming increasingly hard to function effectively without a Facebook account

No, it really isn't.

Re:Yeah, yeah, private site and all that (1)

FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056306)

GP's wording might be a little strong, but in some cases it can be a strong a disadvantage to not have one.

Just like not watching TV can put you at a strong disadvantage relating to people. (I went without for nearly 2 years, never had a clue what anyone was talking about when it came to shows, new movies, funny commercials, etc.)

And lets face it, this world is all about relating to people, and always has been. "It's who ya know" What kind of band, widely public company, anybody that relies on media exposure doesn't have facebook?

Re:Yeah, yeah, private site and all that (1)

guybrush3pwood (1579937) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056810)

I went without for nearly 2 years, never had a clue what anyone was talking about when it came to shows, new movies, funny commercials, etc

Perhaps you need new friends...

Re:Yeah, yeah, private site and all that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056316)

"it's becoming increasingly hard to function effectively without a Facebook account."

Thanks for the laugh!

Re:Yeah, yeah, private site and all that (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056396)

I dont use facebook anymore, trust me, the "friends" I had on there, I don't miss... My real friends now how to contact me, phone, IRC, Jabber, email etc ... they don't need a facebook to be the middle man (yes, i have my own mail server, jabber, IRC etc..)

Re:Yeah, yeah, private site and all that (2)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056536)

it's becoming increasingly hard to function effectively without a Facebook account

Your job requires you to have such an account? You've got some family member that you must be in contact with, but who doesn't have e-mail and can't take a phone call? You have pictures to store, and can't think of a single other place to put them? You feel the need to publish your status to the world, and can't find a single other way to do it besides using one particular company's free service? Which "function" are you having a hard time performing if you don't sign into Facebook on a given day? Or are you simply unable or unwilling to explain to your friends what it is you'd rather not expose through that venue?

Facebook Usage Policy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056020)

Apparently clicking reduces IQ by 50% - or he hasn't read Facebook's Usage Policy before agreeing to it.
"14. Termination
If you violate the letter or spirit of this Statement, or otherwise create risk or possible legal exposure for us, we can stop providing all or part of Facebook to you."

In other words, "we can terminate your account any time we feel like it, nyah nyah". Nothing to see here, move along.

Mustafa Fteja (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056124)

Is obviously an Albanian terrorist? What else could he be? Perhaps an non-native English speaker?
Maybe, but he is a whiner none the less.

He needs removed from the internet totally. I just un-friended him!!!

Re:Facebook Usage Policy (2)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056128)

Trumped by basic contract law.

Just because you signed it, doesn't mean it was a reasonable contract and, therefore, doesn't mean those sections are legally binding.

Otherwise, everyone in the world would write contracts that meant they could never be sued for anything ever even if your cars brakes fall off on your first trip from the showroom, while all their employees would be whipped to death each day to make them work. Hey, they signed the contract that said it was okay!

Contract law is only as binding as the court reasonably construes. Hell, even the jurisdiction statements in a lot of contracts don't work because they say all cases are bound by US law when they operate in the EU. Can't happen, or every company in the world would be using Country X's harsh regime to run their business legal departments and referring customers from all countries to their legal decisions in that country.

Re:Facebook Usage Policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056340)

Funny, I didn't notice people successfully suing Microsoft for critical bugs in Windows. In other words, EULAs seem to be effective for things which you can't drop on your foot (e.g. software or services in teh cloud).

Re:Facebook Usage Policy (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056686)

What about the several rulings in the EU that the EULA inside a software box cannot be enforceable because you have agree to it before you know what it is?

MS got caught by that one and had to give refunds to people who *didn't* agree with the EULA but had already "agreed" to it by opening the box.

Contract law is much more complicated than just "he signed it". For a start, a court can throw out almost anything in a contract they don't think is fair. But it takes a court to do it, because they alone can determine if a contract is fair, and if you don't bring it to court, it doesn't happen. It doesn't mean the contract IS fair, it just means it's untested. Similarly, the GPL is untested too - same prevalence, same situation. It doesn't mean it *IS* legal under any jurisdiction (and could well be legal in one and not another), it just means nobody's bothered to go to the expense of finding out for the sake of a £100 Windows license.

Re:Facebook Usage Policy (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056368)

What this man said.

Terms of Services (or whatever they choose to call it) have very little credibility in court. It is always up to the judge to decide if the Terms of Services are reasonable.

Most of the time TOS can be safely ignored, yes ignored, but most people don't know that and of course companies dont want you to know that.

Re:Facebook Usage Policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056694)

First, basic contract law requires an even exchange of value between the parties. What exactly is it you are giving to Facebook? This clown is claiming they owe him $500,000, which means he thinks he has provided $500,000 of value to Facebook. How?

Second, there is no contract. What did you sign to join Facebook? Did you have opportunity to modify the terms?

Last, as long as they are not denying him service for a reason prohibited by law (race, etc), they (and all private individuals and businesses) are not required to do business with him at all.

Re:Facebook Usage Policy (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056354)

Basically it means: surrender your rights, don't complain, if you want to keep your "friends"...

However, as far as I can tell they never completely terminate an account they still exploit your data for all its worth... You just cant access it anymore.

Seems more reasonable than most (5, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056022)

Now, having not actually RTFA yet, I can't comment on the merits of the case.

However, the sum he's suing for is relatively small, compared to most of the crazy lawsuits I've seen - usually, they seek at least $10M, sometimes much, much more, all the way into the trillions. That itself says something about the case - it may be more about actual justice than profiteering.

PS: The guy is claiming a friendship is worth $1,500. Minimum statutory damages for "pirating" a single album is $7,500, or five friends. That alone says much about the US judicial system and this case.

Re:Seems more reasonable than most (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056200)

> Minimum statutory damages for "pirating" a single album is $7,500

Correction: Actually, the copyright statutory "damages" actually go from minimum $750 up to $150,000 per infringement.

Re:Seems more reasonable than most (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056594)

That's $750 per "work", which the RIAA has argued (and the courts accepted) is a single song, not an album. Average album size is ten songs. 750 * 10 == 7500.

Re:Seems more reasonable than most (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056698)

The guy is claiming a friendship is worth $1,500

Then I've got bad news [usocial.net] for him, a facebook friendship is worth less than 20 cents on the market. And I didn't even do any shopping, just picked the first Google result for "buy facebook friends".

Binding Arbitration (1)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056030)

You know, it's actually interesting that Facebook opted to allow themselves to be sued in court rather than forcing their users into binding arbitration like pretty much every other company that provides some service (mobile phones, utilities, cable, internet, etc.). Of course, since the terms of facebook limits liability to $100 dollars or whatever you pay facebook within 12 months, the recovery from such a suit would probably wind up being less than the court fees, or arbitration costs.

Same here (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056052)

Same situation here. I've been cursed with a native Estonian forename "Anti" ( http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Anti ; it is not a rare name here, i know multiple Antis and even some celebrities are named Anti). Facebook is very strict about using real names and they are having automatic to ensure that... And my forename fails the check. A year ago, it took me about a month of e-mailing to register an account. I even had to scan and send my passport copy to prove I'm real.
Fast forward one year... Today morning, I'm unable to log in. Facebook tells my account has been suspended and I have to enter my real name to proceed. I enter my real name again and get an e-mail that my account is deleted now and they do not accept any further correspondence regarding that matter. Let's see if they answer to my e-mails or I'm banned from facebook forever just because my forename.

Re:Same here (1)

Mike Hock (249988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056832)

I'm guessing you are a terrorist. Only a terrorist would have that name.

dumb (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056106)

i see people getting deleted all the time. i am sure he was removed for a reason. maybe he should invest in a free thing called e-mail or instant messaging .or another novelty called VOIP phone.

Re:dumb (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056138)

Or a blog, or myspace.

Mistaking the Customer Relationship (2)

X86Daddy (446356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056198)

Must be nice when you can use a free site and expect to get paid when they cut you off.

There's tons of confusion about who Facebook's customers are. This kind of confusion goes back to television and radio stations, and popular magazines.

The participants, the readers, the viewers... these people are not the customers of these companies. They are a resource being mined and sold. Media companies, and entities like Facebook do have customers: Advertisers.

With broadcast, one-way media of yesteryear, these companies had no quality-control on the product they offered. They couldn't deactivate someone's access to a TV station because he or she routinely walked away during commercial breaks. The newspaper company couldn't identify and stop delivering papers to the person who read only the comics and used the rest as bird cage liner. Likewise, these companies could only promise "eyeballs" to their customers. Facebook, on the other hand, is offering "personae" to their customers. Each resource is not merely a potential viewer/listener, but now consists of that and a photograph, a name, a location, an age, interests, lists of friends, education level, and various other biographical data. They're offering a lot more "product" to their real customers now, and so they have a lot more interest in quality control of that product. No advertiser wants to pay for such a premium service as having a viewer's friend's photo appear next to their ad with the declaration that the friend "Liked" that product, when the friend's photo is goatse or Hitler.

Facebook is just being responsive to its customer base. The real question: How should the human users of Facebook understand, quantify, and describe their relationship with Facebook? They're certainly not just "getting to use a free site." Are they employees being paid in a product-use benefit instead of cash? What are their employee rights then? This guy's issue is less of an aggrieved customer situation than it is a wrongful termination suit. There might be analogies that make even more sense. Perhaps it's even possible that these cases be discussed clearly in the realm of what they really are, and the terms will evolve from that, rather than ill-fitting, borrowed terms... Might take a few decades.

Re:Mistaking the Customer Relationship (1)

Rinnon (1474161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056510)

That is a really interesting way of looking at it that I never thought of before. I'm not sure that the Employee analogy really works, but very interesting nonetheless.

Forgot the read the fineprint (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056228)

That is never going to happen ofcourse !

The system is not "Free", it is an exchange (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056240)

I am really sick of websites benefiting from users and then refusing to acknowledge the user as a vital part of the equation. Yahoo developed specific content to attract users and then began kicking users who expressed opinions that annoyed Yahoo management off.

This was a huge mistake on the part of Yahoo because it limited the audience and destroyed their user base. Conflict or confrontational based content attracts users. Novelists understand this which is why the development of conflict is taught in creative writing. Talk radio understands this which is why Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh are so popular. Televisions shows understand this which is why medical and cop shows are so popular. Daytime television understands this which is why soap operas and stupid talk shows like Sally Jesse are so popular. Video game manufacturers understand this, etc, etc.

Google has avoided this by developing content that is less centered on user involvement and more centered on services provided to users.

If a corporation is going to develop content that is designed to be profitable based on the size of and activity level of their user base then they have to regard users as an important resource.

When a user exchanges their personal information used for marketing products because a website provides content in exchange for that marketing information and exchange of resources has occured. The website content ain't "free" no matter how many economically challenged morons claim it is.

When a user based website begins eliminating the users because of "conflict issues", the way Yahoo did, the user base will decrease and the value of the website will decrease. Begin a plan to sell your Facebook stock or any stock that is based on the facebook user base. Unless Facebook changes their way's we are going to see a repeat of the fall of Yahoo.

Good (0)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056328)

I hope he gets what he is suing for; i have absolutely no sympathy for facebook and i'd really would like to see this privacy rapping buggy mess of a site get what it deserve, that is, bankrupcy and investigation into its data retention policies.

Honestly, I'd quite enjoy to see Zuckerberg and friends behind bars.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056668)

I'd quite enjoy to see Zuckerberg and friends behind bars.

...because they delivered the service exactly as agreed (see Facebook's Usage Policy, esp. the "Termination" part)? I don't like FB either, but *that* would be an interesting case.

Face it, the guy hasn't got a leg to stand on: FB doesn't give you any guarantees at all, can terminate your account anytime, and has usage rights to anything you give it. If you don't like it...well don't use it, then. It's an advertising platform, not a critical life support system (for all you FB addicts out there, NO IT'S NOT ESSENTIAL).

Now get off my lawn!

Why should this guy even be able to sue? (2)

Targon (17348) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056330)

There is nothing that says that the laws of the USA automatically apply to people in other countries. Seriously, we are talking about the Internet here, and in the same way that international spammers are difficult to prosecute due to the laws of one country not necessarily applying to people from other countries, there is nothing that says that someone from another country should be able to use the US court system for a BS lawsuit like this. If anything, the US government should charge the guy for the right to use the US legal system for this stupid claim.

Re:Why should this guy even be able to sue? (1)

echucker (570962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056790)

Because he lives in Staten Island. RTFAs.

Okay, why was he booted off? (4, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056386)

Lots of comments about how suing is evil and hope this guy loses blah blah blah. Anyone ask why this guy got booted? The guy basically has not been told why he was booted. Despite repeated emails all he was told was "you violated our terms of service" which is a nice generic cop out for "out automated processes found something and we don't feel like treating you like a human being to give you any more specifics." It seems like suing to find out why is his only option since Facebook isn't cooperating.

Sure it's a free service, sure it's quite possible that it's not a big deal since it's only a social networking site and little of value will truly be lost. However, Facebook offered it's service for free, the guy used it, and then got booted without discussion. The guy deserves at least some answers, any human being would. And it looks like the only way to get answers is to make it relevant to Facebook that they should be providing them or risk this and other lawsuits. It sounds less frivolous and more like the guy just wants some respect and I think he deserves it. Otherwise we risk other people being treated like this. I urge this man to go go go.

He has one valid point (5, Insightful)

KnownIssues (1612961) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056432)

While $500,000 is ridiculous for compensation from a free service, I do feel he has one valid point: if Facebook has disabled his account for any reason, they should provide it to him and give him some avenue to correct the situation. Even though it's a free service, with over 500 million active users [facebook.com] , it's a pretty ubiquitous and universal service. It might not be wise to come to depend on it, but it's certainly understandable how someone would. If Google seemingly arbitrarily disabled your Gmail account (insert free but depended on email service here) would you be as dismissive?

Vindicated again... (1, Offtopic)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056468)

Once again I'm so happy I no longer have a Facebook account.

I really hope Facebook ends up being a passing fad. The best thing about the Internet is that it is decentralized. *Everyone* using a service like Facebook ruins that and gives one company too much power.

LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35056524)

WOW! This guy is obviously retarded!...not to mention obsessed. I heard a similar story of someone trying to sue the maker of an MMORPG for banning his account. People get so obsessed with a game or site that they do crazy things when they're cut off. Of course he's going to lose this case!

Treble damages (0)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056528)

If it was Diaspora, I'd say, "Get a life." But I'm so sick of Zuckerberg's multi-billion smug mug, Facebook's lucky I'm not on that jury.

"Justice" (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056606)

From TFA:

He claims he has a higher purpose than the money in going after the social network.

"I'm not doing this for money. I'm doing this for justice. I believe there should be some, somewhere," he told The New York Post.

If he actually won this, I wonder what he'd do with the $500k. Unless he donates its entirety to a good cause (charity, good of the community), he's doing this for the money.

But the bigger question is, what exactly did he do that Facebook saw as a violation? For all we know he could have been posting inappropriate photos or harassing people...

Get off the computer bro! (1)

zelkovamoon (1929096) | more than 3 years ago | (#35056740)

Sounds to me like this dude needs to take a walk in the park, and maybe figure out how to use the good ol' envelope and stamp to keep up with folks. Regardless though, to get all upset simply because face book admins decided that for whatever reason they would not like him to utilize the servers that they ultimately pay for and maintain, is ridiculous. It would be understandable if it were something he had paid for; but he is using the service for free just like everybody else.... i assume. Besides, bro! Looking at monitors too much every day ruins your eyesight! You should go out and climb some mountains or something, i mean, face book isn't the greatest thing ever! So come on, make this random internet commentator proud and end your retarded lawsuit, and then go out there and splurge on the plentiful bounty of adventure that this great planet has to offer. Ha, ha ha, like the guy is going to read this comment. Not Happening, I know! Well, if he does, I have won the day my good ladies and gentlemen.
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