Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Facebook May Disable Your Account too!

If you're a FACEBOOK user who enjoys chatting, snooping at photos and networking, read this important article and avoid having your "Facebook Account Disabled" just for BEING POLITE!

So as many of you may have noticed, I was booted from FACEBOOK last week. Booted, erased, deleted, suspended, whatever you want to call it, I disappeared. I hope my story will save you the same frustration.

Earlier this year I set up a FACEBOOK account. Delighted in how much easier it was to use than Myspace and all the networking opportunities, I loved using it! One day while trying to add another friend I received a notice that I had "Exceeded my friend limit of 5,000 friends" What?? Facebook tells you how many friends you can have???

I quickly went to the "help" option and found several posts from other Facebook users explaining the reasoning behind this unreasonable Facebook rule. How does Facebook get to decide how many friends anyone should have? Really? Who picked 5,000?

Fine. So I follow the advice from users, from link to link of other users in my same predicament and open a "Fan" page which allows you to have an unlimited number of fans. Fine. Not what I wanted to do. I'd stumbled upon other "Fan" pages and thought it seemed so far removed from your actual friends. I've always thought it seemed kind of "removed" and "braggy" to refer to people who like your stuff as fans. We just have something in common, a quest for a better life!

So...I start operating this new "Fan" page, but there's no way to delete the Profile page, without losing all those friends. AND...there's really no way to tell all your "friends" to come and join you on your "Fan" page, except to post it to your wall and try to get the word out. But no one really knows which page to go to if they're a friend of both. Confusing!

In the mean time, each day when I would log into my old Profile page, I would have a couple hundred new friend requests. The only problem was I had no room to add them (unless someone had unfriended me or deleted their own account or whatever). They had to just sit there and be ignored OR I could send a message to each one of them explaining something like the following..

"Hey! Thanks for the friend request. Unfortunately I'm not able to add more than 5,000 friends to this page. So the party has moved! Please join my on my "Fan" page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chalene-Johnson/99499711448?ref=ts Thanks for your support! Chalene Johnson

We'd send out a couple dozen of these messages and we'd receive a waring message from facebook that we were "engaging in behavior that other Facebook user's may find annoying" Really? Replying to a request is annoying? Explaining why I can't add them as a friend is "annoying". Funny... because I think being ignored is annoying! But whatever! So rather quickly we learned that if you only send a couple dozen every couple of hours they seemed to be okay and no warnings would come through. Yet, on some days I could send just a few messages and I'd get the 'stop being annoying' warning. Talk about frustrating. We are talking about trying to explain to people why you can't accept them as friends. I wasn't spamming anyone!! I was replying to people who had sent ME A MESSAGE!! UGG!

So, you guessed it... one too many warnings and BAM... I received the dreaded "Your Account has been Disabled. Please contact us if you have any questions." Which is kind of funny, because you can contact all you want. You can cry! You can beg! You can plead! You can call...but they just don't seem that interested in hearing your story.

I had 4 people in my office working around the clock to investigate and resolve this issue with Facebook as quickly as possible. We sent the following letter to every email address we could find on Facebook:

To whom it may concern:

My Facebook account was abruptly disabled yesterday. I have enjoyed my experience at Facebook as it has allowed me to stay in touch with my friends and people in general who seek guidance and hints
in adapting a healthy lifestyle. In mid April, I reached the maximum number allowed for friends (5,000), yet I continued, on a daily basis, to have inbox filed with hundreds of additional requests to join as a friend”.

After reading your "help" section, I learned that I could create a fan page, which would allow me to have an unlimited number of friends. I did so and began re-directing people to my new "fan" page. Becuase there were so many requests I enlisted the assistance of additional staffers to respond to the friend requests of those who I was unable to add to friends to my "profile" page. As opposed to leaving those messages unanswered in my inbox and friend requests, my staff was asked to send a short message redirecting them to join my fan page. Yesterday, my account was suddenly disabled while my staff was in the process of responding to friend requests.

Facebook has been a tremendous communication tool that has allowed me to stay in close contact with each other on their journey to a better life. I am a legitimate business owner and not a spammer. In fact, I regularly speak to businesses on the value of connecting with customers through the use of Facebook.

In the short amount of time that my account has been disabled (less than a day), I’ve received hundreds of inquiries from customers and friends. There is no explaination offered and many have assumed I "unfriended" them. You can imagine the problems this can cause.

I have always tried to follow all the rules and standards set by Facebook and any violation of them I can assure you has been inadvertent. We were merely sending people a link to my new Facebook fan page. We had been warned to "slow down", but again, this was not defined and every day there were hundreds of friend requests that we did not want to simply ignore. That would have been rude! We even tried on several occasions to contact someone at Facebook to help us disable the Profile page so that only one page would exist, thus eleviating the problem of having two pages for people to find me, one of which doesn't allow more friends. We called, emailed and worked to find a resolution, yet were told there was no way around it.

I would like to point out that this page is my personal page and I used my private email address to register. I read and post all the messages on my page. Please reactivate my account and I can assure you that both my staff and I have be re-read the terms and conditions in order to prevent this from taking place, yet are concerned that because they are so vague, and that what we were doing was so harmless, that this might happen again.

I ask that you review the decision to disable my account and please point out the specific violation so that my staff I can be cognizant of the cause of this event.

Thank you!

Chalene Johnson
CEO Powder Blue Productions

We sent that email to as many addresses as we could find. I had several people on Twitter and through my network indicate that they "knew someone at Facebook" and might be able to help. I asked for all the help I could get and 5 days later, the account was enabled. I have no idea if someone pulled some strings, if 5 days was my penalty, if it was my letter or just the random act of the Facebook Gods. No idea. In the time I stumbled upon over a dozen or more blogs and articles recounting nearly the exact same scenario.

Here's the challenge which still persists. I've been re-activated, but I still have a page that people go to that I can't add them as friends. I still have two pages (confusing) and I still have no idea how many people I can respond to in my inbox before Facebook deems my activity "annoying". Grrrr...

Lesson learned... If you ever hope to connect with more than 5,000 people over the course of the next couple of years, you definitely want to make sure you have set your profile up as a "Fan" page and not a profile. Who really needs 5,000 friends you might ask? That might seem high, but it's not for those of us who are in business, enjoy networking, find passion in connecting and sharing information with others and generally enjoy being a part of a larger community. This has been difficult for me to explain to my Mom, who is a new facebook user. "Chalene, why do I want to add these people as my friends?" She asked when she opened her own account Marge Melvin http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1154701063&ref=ts I had to explain to her that as a Team Beachbody Coach she can meet and help a lot more people on line than she'll ever meet in person living in a remote area of Northern Michigan. She gets it now! I hope that one day my Mom has more than 5,000 friends and I hope that this doesn't happen to her. (Basically I am the I.T department for Marge and Bill) God love 'em!

So in closing... please follow me on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/chalenejohnson And my info there is different than my info on Facebook. On facebook..the only place we can be friends is if you go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/Chalene-Johnson/99499711448?ref=tsthe Fan Page link....

In the meantime...if anyone knows how to disable your Profile page, but keep your Fan page, and transfer the people on your profile page over to your Fan page and just have one page...Please reply for all!!! I promise to share the info!

Oh...and on a positive note... Man...I can't not believe how much I got done with all my free time during my 5 days down on Facebook. I read more, watched some tv, even discovered that I was married, have two beautiful kids, 4 birds and 4 dogs!


Anonymous said...

it sounds like sending the same message to all the new friends requests is what triggered their "spam" filter. Or was it the link to your fan page? I'm not sure. Anyway, I have you on facebook as a friend and am in your fan page. I didn't remove you from my friends list because you seem to be posting to both? I think that if you tell your friends on facebook that you won't be using your regular profile page anymore for updates and that you'll only be using the fan page, a lot more of us would move on over.

zavislak said...

I LOVE that last paragraph!!! TOO funny!!! By the time I reach 5000 friends, there will be some new and improved social networking site that we are all using! ;-)

Jem09 said...

Thank you for the update Chalene! What a pain in the butt process you had to go through! I really think they need to up the maximum # of friends you can have. Very funny on the discovering you were married being away from facebook :) LOL. When I was on my honeymoon a few weeks ago, having no facebook was like an eye opener to the world! spent some great time with my new hubby technology free. Sometimes its good to get away to appericate the people in your life :)


ChrisMcL said...

I think you should just delete your original Profile on FB and standby to be a Friend Request-accepting fool on your new Fan Page.

I think you'll be surprised at how soon and completely your Friends convert over to the new profile, and anyone who doesn't probably isn't really using FB anymore.

Anyone who has been following along will know what's up, and everyone else will be quickly brought up to speed by their (your) friends.

Just make sure you save any content you want to keep from your original profile first, and maybe give a 5-day countdown on your status that you're going to port-over, and update it everyday, and then 'pull the trigger'.

P.S. When's the new TKB round coming out??

Saving The Day said...

Oh my goodness, that sounds too complicated ... and gives me a new appreciation for being little ol' anonymous me. LOL ;-)

carmen said...

Whew! That was a mouthful!! I'm sorry that you had to go through all of that. I love following you on facebook, and while I've tried to get into twitter - it's slow and go for me - I'm not quite used to it yet. I hope you figure out how to solve your dilema. We love you in the Wiker household and we'll find a way to follow you regardless of the crazy facebook rules!!

bookieboo said...

How frustrating! I'll keep that in mind.

I'm looking for another guest during my twitter party launch of my new radio show, MomActive. It's an extention of Bookieboo, fitness hangout for moms, http://www.bookieboo.com. Would you like to be one of the guests that night? It will be on June 18th from 5-8pm pacific standard time. Email me at bookieboo78@gmail.com. I'm Leah Segedie.

Oh, btw, I'm almost done with ChaLean Extreme and I'm 17 lbs. down so far...woo hoo!

Tricia0509 said...

You are so awesome in every way. Another proven fact that Chalene Johnson cares about her friends. To go through all the trouble of making sure everyone is added when many others may have just ignored the rest of the requests. How can you not love this girl....she's beautiful, she's fit and she's super nice and finally her program WORKS...I know it cause I do it all..from turbo to extreme....it rocks! Oh and it must run in the family cause Jenelle is my coach and she is all of the above as well.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chalene. Here's an easy solution to your dilemma. Why not edit your facebook profile photo with paint, word, or some other photo editing tool to say, "Please stop by my fan page at tinyurl..." Then, make that photo your new facebook profile pic. That way, when someone looks you up, they'll see your photo and note with an easy link and head on over to your new digs.

Anonymous said...

Hey Chalene,
It sounds very frustrating. I can't give you any advice on how to switch all of your friends over. But to avoid any future friend requests, you can change your privacy/search settings.

In the top bar on Facebook, hover over "Settings" and select "Privacy Settings". On the new page click on the link for "Search" and then choose an option such as "Friends Only". Whenever someone searches for you in the future, they should only see your fan page.

Thanks for spreading your knowledge, advice, and talents through all of these various networking sites! <3


Michelle Boop said...

It seems the post you have on your original profile is a good way to get the word out. I read it and went to your fan page. People will definitely find you even if you had to close the original before switching everyone over. I absolutly understand and appreciate you not wanting to leave anybody behind. Thank you for the inspiration that you are!

Anonymous said...

lol - That's why Myspace is cooler than Facebook. ;)

Jo said...

Hi Chalene,

Here is a thought and you don't need to publish this comment. Is your profile public or private? If you make it public maybe put a message on your status that you are no longer able to accept friends there but they can join your fan page? Just an idea.

I was wondering what happened- I am on your fan page and last week it was gone.

Oh, I am in my second week of EXTREME. You are kickin' my butt, girl. I do Turbo Jam in the morning and Extreme in the evening and am feeling fab.

Be well!

Anonymous said...

What a pain! I'm not even sure why they would have such a policy about friend amount. I agree, I'd feel weird with "fans" instead of "friends" -but really, it's just verbage. I think people know your intent.

Hey, I just sent a nice note to your mom on FB. -since we are both Northern Michiganders and all. :)
Like me she's probably glad the 17 months of Winter have finally ended too. That MIGHT be an exaggeration...Maybe.

Anyway, from the Push-Up Exhibitionist Extraordinare(and no I don't mean my bra),

Amy ;)

Jodi said...

I dont have quite as many followers to worry about it-- LOL I only have 226 friends!

Elizabeth said...

What an irritating situation! I'm glad it worked out.

I really enjoy your products and am considering going to one of your instructor trainings... the enthusiasm and passion you bring is so infectious!

KstyleFit said...

Thanks for letting others know about this. I doubt I get close to 5000 friends, but if so, now I know how too deal wiht it a little better.

Gina said...

I got this message from your page, and I'm like "WHAAAA?!?!?!" I loved being friends with you, it made me feel special! (smiles) Especially when I got a reply from a message I sent, I literally blanked out for a minute when I saw the reply

So what I thought I was going to do is.... Start a petition! what kind of friend limit is 5,000?! That is just ridiculous! So, after I get the petition up and running, I will post a link!

Love from Chicago,

Anonymous said...

Hey Chalene!

A very similar thing was starting to happen to me, so I completely understand where you're coming from and it is frustrating...especially when you're trying to help people and genuinely being polite. I actually talked to your sister a little about it (one of her downline coaches, Leah, is my coach). But it's a stinky situation and I'm sorry to hear that it happened to you because you have so much to offer people! But keep getting the word out that you'll be in control of a fan page and we'll all be more than willing to come see you there (sadly I was one of the unfortunate ones, who was beyond your 5,000 friend limit)! Take care, dear!

EdinaMedina said...

Hey Chalene!!!

These are the steps to "deactivate" your Facebook account.

1) Log-in
2) On the upper blue bar (next to the search bar), go to SETTINGS.
3) The window MY ACCOUNT appears, with the SETTINGS tab highlighted.
4) The list of options starts with: Name, Email... etc. ending with DEACTIVATE ACCOUNT.

There you have it!

Now... gotta find my weights... I'm starting Chalene Extreme!!! I loved Turbo Jam, but I think I'm done with it. I can't believe I'm excited about exercising ;)

Amanda Dorney said...

I love Turbo Jam. I am going to try and get pregnant. I want you to create a turbo jam workout for pregnant people. I have always worked out but never received the results I do when I turbo jam. I really want to continue when I get pregnant, but don't want to do exercises that may harm me or the baby. Let me know what you think!

keri said...

hi Chalene...I just wanted to ask if turbo jam is offered in NYC at all? I am a huge fan of turbo jam...I own about 10 videos and would love to experience a class live and in person. thanks so much!

keri b

Chalene Johnson said...



KERI B! Get in touch with me ASAP! I work for Chalene and will be doing a turbo training in NYC on June 27! You can't miss it! Email me at christinedwyer@turbokick.com

We can get you in to be a PRO or if you want to, go all the way, and finish the instructor course of it.

James said...

Facebook is by far a great place to connect to old friends and meet new ones...unfortunately censorship is a big part of what they seem to be all about...do they read my messages sent to friends privately? I play Mafia Wars and I now have my account disabled due to request sent to me by others to add them as friends...I'm not a spammer...maybe Facebook should setup a Facebook prison...we can all be sent there instead...Fackbook Stinks

James said...

Facebook is by far a great place to connect to old friends and meet new ones...unfortunately censorship is a big part of what they seem to be all about...do they read my messages sent to friends privately? I play Mafia Wars and I now have my account disabled due to request sent to me by others to add them as friends...I'm not a spammer...maybe Facebook should setup a Facebook prison...we can all be sent there instead...Fackbook Stinks

ReikiRanch said...

Wow! You had quite a trip with facebook!

Keep up the work! Don't give up... by the Law of Attraction -- all that you are seeking is finding you -- by Taylore Vance