*VERY IMPORTANT NEWS!* Facebooks legal department have informed me, the developer of the F.B. Purity browser extension, that I am *banned* from using Facebook. This effectively means I will no longer be able to work on the F.B. Purity project any more. I am assuming the F.B. Purity fan page will also be shutdown when they commence the ban. They have not said when the ban will start, but it could happen at any time.
They say the reasons for the ban are:
“Facebook’s terms specifically prohibit interference with the way Facebook is rendered to its users” and that the extension doesnt connect via their “API”, which they say is the approved method for interacting with Facebook’s services.
F.B. Purity does not directly access facebook’s services anyway, it is a browser extension, and by definition, it “extends” the browsers functionality, therefore it is actually the web browser itself that is accessing Facebook, and web browsers do not need an API key or license to access Facebook’s services, as Facebook is designed to run in a web browser.
If a Facebook user chooses to download and use the F.B. Purity extension, it is entirely their own choice, I am not forcing them to download it and use it. Once they’ve installed it, F.B Purity gives the user options for customizing their own view of Facebook, which they can enable or disable to their own liking. If Facebook gave their users options to turn off the most annoying features of their user interface, then a product like F.B. Purity would not be necessary at all. The success and popularity of the extension, is a sure fire sign that something is not right with Facebooks design in the first place.
Perhaps instead of punishing me by disabling my account, and initiating legal proceedings against me, they should instead take heed of the discontent of the Facebook users, and offer them a browsing experience that won’t get them searching out third party methods for switching off the sites most hated and annoying features.
They are also trying to go back on the agreement that i could name my product “Fluff Busting Purity aka F.B. Purity” which was agreed upon with Facebook’s Domain Manager, the last time they threatened me with legal action. They are now saying I need to stop using FB in the name of the product and in the domain name.
For a start, Facebook do not have a worldwide claim on the 2 consecutive letters FB. There are over 64 different trademarks that have the consecutive letters FB in them that are not owned by Facebook, so how can they claim total rights to those two letters? And to try and claim that “F.B” (short for Fluff Busting) is violating their trademark, is rubbish as in trademark terms it is completely distinct from “FB”.
Facebook should be thanking me for helping them to retain their users, who if they had not found this extension would have abandoned the site a long time ago.
In order to stay up to date on future FBP news, after they have banned me, you can:
1) Keep an eye on the F.B. Purity website’s news page: fbpurity.com/news
2) Subscribe to the F.B. Purity News mailing list: FB Purity News Email List
3) Follow F.B. Purity on Twitter: twitter.com/fbpurity
4) Add F.B. Purity on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+FbpurityNews
It looks like this could be the end of the road for F.B. Purity, well at least Facebook hopes it is…
What do you think I should do? Keep up the fight, or let the *expletives deleted* win?
Please help spread the word about this news, Facebook should not be allowed to get away with this. Tweet it, Write a post on fb or g+ /write a blog post about it, repost, share, like comment, etc
BTW in order to share a link to this story on facebook, you can post the following link http://tiny-url.org/fbpbanned If you try and post a direct link, Facebook wont let you. And if you want to post a link to the F.B. Purity website itself, you can use the following link https://facebook.com/fluffbustingpurity the reason for this is that Facebook is blocking direct links to my site and libelling me by claiming the site is “Spammy and Unsafe” when it is provably neither of those and in actual fact fights spam on Facebook, and actually makes you safer by hiding rogue facebook application stories from the newsfeed, and giving you easier ways to block those apps.
Man, this really blows. FB Purity helps me, a blind user, actually *use* Facebook more effectively than without it. *sighs* I do hope you continue to fight the power.
Blind people deserve to be able to use social networking! FB Purity must be a godsend for screen readers…
Why is Facebook not interested in helping visually challenged people use their site? Just because they won’t see the ads?
Essentially, yes. If you don’t see the ads, they don’t get paid, and a wise man once said “If you’re not paying for the service, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.”
With these items it could lead to legal challenges in Canada because of these comments. This has already been talked about because Bill C35 (or the new copyright law).
Why not they are already having trouble in Germany.
Please blog about this! On Google+ or something… ;)
Fight the good fight. Thank you for a great extension!
Keep up the fight. I will re post and will make a legal fund donation!
I definitely think you should fight. You posted some valid legal defense for your product and you might be able to find a lawyer who agrees and supports you. It would be good for you–or any web developer–to go up against Facebook to show them how their consumers really feel about the flaws with their product and gain public support for a change withing Facebook’s own structure.
Fight the good fight, man! If I had your development skills, I’d be right there with you.
“to go up against Facebook to show them how their consumers really feel about the flaws with their product”
on facebook, we are consumers !! we are the product… hahahahaha
I would told you to fight the good fight, but what are the chances that you get into some sort of legal problem? I really support you but I don’t want you to be in some kind of problem…
You should look closely at their terms of service and counter sue if possible.
Port your product over to suppost Diasp.org
Open source it and let other people add to it and make adjustments. Or take on a Secret Squirrel Code Partner :3
Don’t let them win!
Yeah this is the best solution. Open source everything (remember to add sane license) and the project will live. It might be out of your hands but at least facebook would continue to be atleast somewhat usable.
I agree this is the best course of action. As a developer that also dislikes most of Facebook’s changes, I would love to contribute to the plugin. All you have to do is hand it off and not touch it. The community will take care of changes and you can have your hands clean.
Open source is the way to go in cases like this, where you’re not monetizing it anyway and you now need help. Once you put it on the web it’s always out there and they’ll never know who’s developing it and they’ll never be able to ban all the developers.
If it isn’t open source, why not make it so? Get it out of any one person’s hands?
So yeah, it looks like they’ve blocked your link on the facebuck$.
I dig your style.
If someone wanted they could visit one of these url shorteners, and someone could take the time to make a shortened unique link that can’t be blocked by using one of their awesome free services to get people to see this link on the facebook…
First, copy this section:
Second, you can paste it in one of these:
Third, put your new link that isn’t blocked by facebook on facebook.
Just an idea… Do with it what you will.
goo.gl shortened urls get blocked…
http://tiny-url.org links to the site seem to work ok though
Facebook is an evil, pointless excursion into a voyeuristic abyss.
You have every right to build an extension to an html viewing application.
If Facebook wants to block all user’s of that viewing application, that is their
call, but they cannot stop you from building it. I hope you find a market and
make lots of $$ before Facebook and Instagram are the AOL of 2014.
Perhaps you should open-source the code so that the “community” can continue the work.
“Facebook” is just a word, hence it should be abbreviated just as “F”. In “F. B.” the dots imply two words, making it a completely different thing.
Check their TOS because banning you for developing a browser extension probably it’s not listed there.
This sounds like a very useful plugin and I am suprised I have never heard of it before.
Perhaps think about changing the license and making the plugin open source. With others able to work on it and forks readily available, Facebook will have a hard time shutting a useful project like this down.
Well I feel your pain really, but kinda goes to show you are fulfilling a need in a niche that Facebook doesn’t supply.
“Facebook’s terms specifically prohibit interference with the way Facebook is rendered to its users”
So, doesn’t that mean that addons like Stylish should be facing the same legal action?
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Heh, I guess that’s Zuckerberg’s version of an open web: You may only use a shitty restrained proprietary API to access the website. GET and POST are evil and forbidden.
You developed an extension that improves how blind or otherwise disabled people experience Facebook, you decided to market it as a “purity” extension so that said blind or otherwise disabled people would not feel slighted (F.B. Purity sounds a lot better than F.B. for the Blind and Otherwise Disabled) — and now that’s come back to bite you in the ass.
My day seems a lot better now, by comparison. Sorry to hear about yours.
Would it be as effective to make it into a browser extension? You could go over their heads.
Definitely sharing this very article on Facebook. Don’t go down without swinging!
If you want to share this (or any other link) with your friends, use https://tlwsd.in — a URL shortener designed to resist third-party forensics and passive snooping :)
Probably the way to go with this is to open source it, such that anyone can independently share and compile it. But just in case anyone becomes fatigued of fighting the ridiculous control freakery of Mr Zuckerberg’s lawyers there is always Friendica. Friendica is already open source. It’s themeable. There is no spam or bribed posts, and you don’t have to be trapped in some AOL-style walled garden.
Put the source up on GitHub and let others help to maintain it
FB is actually already blocking bit.ly links to this page as well, if interested, I can set up a shortener elsewhere that they might not block
So if you’ve got some legal proceedings initiated against you, I strongly encourage you to reach out to the EFF. That amazing foundation might have an interest in it (note: I have no connection with them whatsoever. I wouldn’t know who to contact beyond just going to their website so if anyone else has a contact, please pass this story on!)
On a positive note, this is the first time I have heard of your very useful sounding program. Definitely going to download it and have a look.
Just make another account with another mail/name! Make the code Open Source is also an alternative. Post this in Reddit to help to spread the word in the comunity. If facebook’s legal department wants you out from its social network, they will take this to the court. In this case, you’ll need some money and in these cases the comunity is always supportive.
Keep calm and carry on!
Create your own fb with blackjack and hookers.
I wonder where is Anonymous. They can sure teach Suckerberg a lesson or two.
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They say the reasons for the ban are:
“Facebook’s terms specifically prohibit interference with the way Facebook is rendered to its users”
Surely should ban all web browsers then, for the way their lovely plaintext HTML etc is turned into an actual webpage?
Jeez, these guys
I was able to post it on facebook with a link to a lifehacker post about your plugin. Good job and keep up the fight. I would also recommend EFF. Here’s the post I posted with my facebook posting – http://lifehacker.com/5605377/f-b-purity-hides-annoying-facebook-applications-and-news-feed-updates
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This encouraged me to donate finally.. I realized how bad it would be if it was gone..
Guys u became famous :) :) Thenextweb write story about u Check this
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How about you try to create an extension that doesn’t cut into Facebook’s revenue model? All you’re doing is leeching off a popular site. Why not create your own product and then you might realize that advertising is often needed.
Go away, troll.
I suppose you think I should turn off AdBlockPlus and NoScript, too? Will Zukerburger Burgerzucker* sue them next?
* Sorry, just watched Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Hey Zuck is that you? How your stock doing?
It is surprising to see someone actually having such opinion.
I don’t see any reason why Facebook should try to thwart attempts to make itself a more pleasant site to surf.
This is the first time I’ve seen such script and the sad part it was banned on facebook. Goodluck with your endeavors!
Make it open source! I’m sure you’ll get plenty of donations from the community.
Everyone above me has covered most of what I would say. Fight. Distribute if needed. Maybe seek support from the EFF.
Fight them, if you have the energy and time. I’m sure a lot of people would be willing to help, if you could get attention to the cause.. Getting the right amount of attention online is difficult, though. Everyone who reads this page needs to link it.
It ultimately doesn’t matter because other people will continue to make and use other extensions, I just don’t think you should go down if you don’t have to. Or go down quietly.
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Just keep updating the extension. It’s not like they can do anything about it. Keep it up!
I echo the comments that you should open source it. They can silence one of us but they’ll have a much more difficult time silencing all of us. Github awaits.
Why not just stop using Face Book?
That’s a nice sentiment, but unfortunately facebook is my sole connection to some family members. One in particular is very private, changes cell phone and email frequently to avoid a persistent stalker, and only posts to a small number of facebook friends.
I hope you choose to fight back. Your claim that a lot of people use Facebook only because the extension makes it readable is TRUE! I’m one of those people. Without FBPurity it would remain a design mess.
keep on fighting!
And remember… you can ALWAYS open a new account under a different email/username. Two can play this game… ;)
FB Purity was gone when I opened FB this morning but now it’s back! For good? I hope….
Open source it. Only way :)
open source it on github…. duh
Well………..FB got you this time, but you have the ability to FIGHT! You have us to back you up! Good Luck! :)
come on people, it’s time we abandon Facebook. In fact, I think every single employee should straight up go to jail, and facebook should be no more. come on, we can abandon IOS and BBM and windows for android, why not facebook for google plus?
Facebook is obviously trying to scare you. You made a browser extension, so only you and the browser have business. If you were using some exploit to trick the browser, then sure, maybe ask you to stop until they fix their bug. This is truly a slippery slope. Based on the FB logic, anyone who presses Ctrl+ or Ctrl- is violating their agreement because they changed the rendering of the content from their “ideal” perception of how it should be rendered.
I hope you don’t give up! I LOVE LOVE LOVE what you are doing. Hell, I’ll finally even donate if it helps!
Don’t open source it! All you’ll end up with is 5 different versions and hence fragmentation. Better to have 1 version so that a critical mass of users is maintained.
Sell it to an entity in a jurisdiction that Facebook can’t touch. Take Slysoft as an example: they sell DVD decryption software. They operate from the country “St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda” and have done for a few years. They avoid legal issues by being located in that country.
The foreign entity should switch away from .com though: they should get one in a more secure tld.
Contact the legal team at Electronic Frontier Foundation.
I finally got on and was notified I was warned that I had sent out too many friend requests to people I don’t know..I have sent out ONE this past week..Doubt I was hacked but I’m sure punishment for using your add on..
im pretty sure, they can’t ban people for using the add-on, there must be another explanation for it.
Facebook is definitely the bully here. You aren’t trying to get your extension in the Facebook app listings (which would understandably be denied), and you aren’t trying to use or abuse Facebook’s API. You haven’t done anything but write a browser extension.
I think unfortunately that you would lose the battle of F.B. versus Facebook versus FB. Your site exhibits a logo with F***B*** (clearly not standing for fluff busting). The ruling would basically go to “reason”; any reasonable person knows that F.B. Purity carries a strong “Facebooky” connotation. However, if you can prove that they legally allowed that name at one point (via email trails, etc), then you certainly can call B.S. (See what I did there?)
If they are suing you over intellectual property issues, they will have to prove damages; those damages would come by way of damaging the Facebook brand and by preventing users from seeing ads. They may also seek punitive damages (which I don’t think they would get).
For your countersue, you would have to prove that your extension does not go against their terms of service, and that you have not directly contributed to realized damages. You could also probably make a case that they are singling you out, but I imagine that the AdBlocker folks probably are not allowed on Facebook either. It certainly is Facebook’s prerogative to disallow service to anyone they choose, however unfair it seems (Facebook is, after all, a business – not a community resource).
Their suing could only be centered around your violation of TOS (which they would probably win), as the web is an open platform and they wouldn’t be able to sue you for writing code for the open web. In other words, you’re allowed to write all the code you want external of Facebook, and they can’t do anything about it, which is why AdBlocker is still allowed.
Take a look at Fastbook, Sencha Touch’s recent innovation to prove Zuck wrong about the readiness of HTML5. That certainly changes the Facebook user experience, so why haven’t they been blocked? That violates the TOS, and yet they are targeting you because you explicitly allow users to remove ads.
Like others have said, open source the project. In this case, you would basically call it research, and rename it. Maybe “Social Purity”, and allow Github community folks to add extensions to customize Twitter experience, Tumblr, etc. Facebook would have to go on a rampant account deletion tirade. (Which I wouldn’t put past them.)
I got banned personally, permanently, after I tried to develop an app for a client that fills the user’s calendar with stuff of interest like football matches as the user picks them out of a bunch of categories.
There is no reasoning with Facebook once this happens. The email you get literally says “This decision is final and cannot be appealed”. Appalling.
There are many ways to turn things around ;-)
They have no actual legal control over how a browser may render their site. You are not using their API and you aren’t scraping content then re-serving. This is a feint. Yes, they can hassle you and take away your fan page etc. Your domain does put you in the “have to prove they are wrong, not them prove you right” camp (Expensive). If your product doesn’t actually work on any other social site, kinda hard to claim your claim.
The above is my crappy, own, not terribly humble opinion.
Shame on the Facebook legal team!!! Sh-a-a-a-m-e-e!!! Their arguments sound like those come from the headless clerks. And Facebook itself, it’s a well-known fact – itself was substantially overpriced when they came up with their IPO. So, investors are likely to loose their money any time soon! With this in mind, the FB users hail your efforts to clean up the mess Facebook created! Stay afloat, be courageous, your product has *the value*. And this is the most important thing I want to point out!
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Your rationale is sound and you are providing a valuable 3rd party resource. Don’t give up!
Clearly time to set up multiple business offerings, mate!
Fancy co-writing a musical farce about English football?
I’ve got loads of usable songs, I’m sure your dad could produce a film version?!
Might be some copyright issues, I guess. Using well known rock/pop tunes but new words and all that……clearly looks like you’ve got the legal knowledge to get round all that or do suitable deals……
It’s sad that Farcebook has so much power like so many others, that they get away with whatever they want to do and disregard any of our thoughts, feelings or ideas. I’m so GLAD I found this site and that you gave me the solution to my annoying problem. Farcebook sure wouldn’t do it, even after many attempts. Their surveys are a JOKE. Their questions are so loaded, it’s obvious they’re avoiding ours. If it weren’t for my friends there, I’d have left a long time ago.
out of curiosity, what was your annoying problem?
I support you in whatever you decide to do (except buckle to what should be called FaceBully instead of FaceBook). I enjoy Facebook, but what I don’t enjoy is their intrusive practices in certain areas. They probably think they can get you to back off if they send you a threatening letter. I’d hire a good lawyer if I were you.
I have been banned from FB with no real explanation. I have always been noncontroversial, and now I wonder if this is happening to others of your followers.
no, that is nothing to do with fbp. sorry you got banned.