Banned From Facebook

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Thursday, May 5, 2011 - 6:52am

More and more people are being booted for violating the popular site's rules.

Facebook has become all things to lots of people, but some are finding out there are things you can't do on the site.

John Mickel recently lost his Facebook privileges, and that meant lost business.

"I get a referral or lead everyday through Facebook," he says. "So when I'm not there, I've got people calling and asking, 'Why aren't you on Facebook?'".

Facebook suspended Mickel twice, first for the name on his page.

"The name of my company is 'Dynamic Carpet Care,' so everybody calls me 'Dynamic John.' So I had 'Dynamic John Mickel' as my name," he explains.

Mickel says that's not allowed.

Then he started adding more than 20 friends a day.

"Facebook apparently doesn't like that," he says.

Now he tries to follow the fine print.

"I go by the rules and I bow down to the Facebook gods, as long as I can keep my accounts!" he laughs.

Rob Meronek's page disappeared without warning.

"I just tried to log into my personal account one day and it was disabled, and along with it went the skatepark page," Meronek says.

He runs the Facebook page for the Skatepark of Tampa.

It has more than 40,000 fans.

He can only guess what got him kicked off; Facebook won't tell him, but he has a few ideas.

"You can't have a sweepstakes or a contest that involves use of their system," he says.

He used to promote giveaways on the skatepark page, but he has learned that's a violation of Facebook rules.

Then there are the girls in hot pants.

Apparently pictures like the ones he posted to promote events aren't allowed either.

It took Rob two weeks and a lengthy email exchange with Facebook to get his page back online.

Lynnmarie Boltze's Facebook page is full of pictures like from her fishing trips.

Some show her in a bikini, and some don't.

Photos from a recent trip got her in trouble.

"So I've got the fighting belt on, the top is off, we're facing this way, click click click, it's about a six foot barracuda. It's insane," she says.

Within a day she says Facebook sent her a warning and censored the picture.

The experience makes her a little more selective.

"I wish they would have given me a reason, and my biggest complaint is, 'Who reported it?' Do they have a picture person going through and looking at pictures?" she asks. "I just want to know where the rules are? What are the rules?"

Facebook says it aims to strike a balance between giving people freedom to express their viewpoints and maintain a safe and trusted environment.

It can take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks for people to get their profiles reinstated.

The best way to start the process is to send Facebook an email, and those interviewed for this story say it's important to be polite.
 

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