Monday, May 23, 2011

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Facebook Reportedly Deleting Many Second Life Avatar Profiles; Linden Recommends Facebook Pages Instead

Facebook Second Life account page

Facebook is reportedly deleting numerous profiles of Second Life avatars on the social network. Among them is Angie Mornington, a well-known personality in SL, who recently received an email from The Facebook Platform Team, informing her that "Your personal account was recently disabled by Facebook." The message included a link, Ms. Mornington told me, and after clicking it, "I wound up at a page that said that in order to restore my account, I have to scan and upload a government ID showing my real name and photo, with everything else blacked out (social security number, address, etc.) I refuse to do that."

At the moment, however, there doesn't seem to be a thorough or systematic purging of Second Life avatars -- at least not yet. Over the weekend, I lost about a hundred friends on my own Facebook network, presumably avatars, but I still have hundreds of Facebook friends who are avatars. In any case, it does appear to be a substantial purge, and comes two years after a Facebook rep told me that while the social network requires accounts based on real names and/or identities, "[t]he vast majority of fake accounts on which we take action have been reported to us by other users." So it's possible that any purge is actually being driven by a rash of users filing reports against avatar-based accounts. Or perhaps Facebook is becoming more stringent about its policies in the run-up to their IPO.

In any case, if you do have a Facebook account for your avatar, there's a solution:

Facebook Create a Page

As Linden Lab just recommended on its official Second Life Facebook page, "please consider starting a Facebook page for your avi instead. It's simple to do and allows you to connect with other SL Residents on Facebook", without violating the social network's terms of service. To do so, scroll down to the bottom of your Facebook account and click "Create a Page" on the bottom right. As you can see above, the person behind Angie Mornington has already created a Facebook page for her avatar.

In the wake of these profile deletions, a number of Residents have suggested protesting against Facebook, or demanding that Linden Lab discontinue its use of Facebook as a promotion and integration tool. While I understand the annoyance (especially if your account is among the deleted) I think both ideas are non-starters: Real names and identities are a fundamental aspect of Facebook, and Second Life users, while passionate and deeply engaged with social media, are a very small fraction of Facebook's 650 million active users. At the same time, the official Second Life page on Facebook has nearly 150,000 fans, roughly 20% of the world's 800K active monthly userbase, while Linden Lab has dubbed Facebook "The Best Place" to find Second Life content.

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Luca Spoldi

Surely it is not so nice by FB, but you know, FB have to list on WS sooner or later... maybe prefer to "clean" databases sooner... http://www.mondivirtuali.it/portal/it/content/zuckeberg-caccia-di-avatar

Strawberry Singh

This happened to me as well last week, so I did create another facebook page since I lost access to my old one. However I also created an account on 2ndhub.com, it's like a facebook for slers. Here's my post about it: http://strawberrysingh.com/2011/05/20/facebook-and-2ndhub

Sasy Scarborough

I don't understand. We aren't allowed there, we are told not to have accounts with 'avatars' who are all run by real people by the way lol. But LL is encouraging us to go back after they kick us out, and then open another account this time using a page instead?

LL should be supporting its residents, if we aren't good enough and there are thousands of us - so you would think that they would open their arms to that kind of networking dynamic - and find other alternatives.

Plurk made Second Life a place of origin for us to welcome to thousands of us that flocked there, twitter doesn't seem to have an issue...yet FaceBook gets the willies because we aren't 'real'.

LL bought out a profile community and it didn't work for them, we went to it and joined and then got dumped, now there is 2ndhub as Strawberry mentioned, same layout as FB and already Second Lifers are flocking there.

I think LL is encouraging us to have pages so that we are legit advertising, the more of us that stay in FB the more Second Life has a face in their pot...shame.

xoxSasyxox

Saffia Widdershins

It may be simple to create a Facebook page - but many people don't want to link their real life persona and their Second Life avatar. And that is a perfectly reasonable and legitimate position to hold.

It is absurd for Linden Lab to say that the best place to find Second Life content is Facebook. If the best place to find Second Life content ISN'T Second Life, there's something seriously wrong with the product.

Flo2

Reading the story, at least I'm satisfied with the news that reporting and making others to be banned is not only an SL inworld sport. :P

'Tish' Coronet

Even the deletion of Facebook profiles is not sufficient for the Lab to call it quits with the worlds greatest data mining company. No, we can always create a 'page' instead of a profile.

Never mind that they clearly don't want us, never mind that they delete many other things as well on behalf of dictatorial governments, never mind that the reason of the deletion is the feared diminuition of their value when the info we freely provide is not usable for marketeers... no! Stick to Facebook! Facebook is fantastic! It's great! It's the bees' knees!

Come on, stop beating a dead horse already. Forget about FB. Delete your profile, SL and RL. If you don't want us, we'll take our business elsewhere.

Ciaran Laval

Well here's what I've done, I had deleted my Facebook profile, so I looked at creating a page, they asked me if I had a Facebook account, which I don't.

I was then asked for my email address, sent a link and had page for my avatar as a fictional character.

I then created a page for my sim, administered all above board, by me as a fictional character.

I may like this.

Adeon Writer

The real irony here is how and why some accounts were deleted but not others: Anyone who choose to "Like" SecondLife on Facebook got their account deleted if it was an avatar account. This is because other brands on Facebookwishing to gain the most Likes will browes their rival's list of likers in order to report and ban anyone they can, as to decrease their rival's Like count.

So, if you have an avatar account on Facebook, but you didn't "Like" SecondLife... Your account is still safe!

Qie Niangao

There are plenty of good reasons for individuals to avoid Facebook. It continues to prove itself a dangerously sleazy company on a ongoing basis, and the service itself is incredibly creepy.

That does not mean that there's an option for Linden Lab to not use Facebook. It is overwhelmingly powerful; there is no such thing as a competent marketing strategy that does not include Facebook now.

It doesn't matter how badly Facebook treats Second Life users. Zuck could literally spit in Rod's face and SL would still need that FB "Like" bug on the site, and still need to pander to the masses of FB users for new sign-ups. There is no currently viable alternative.

Stephen Venkman

This happened to me over a year ago on my account, that's why i thought it so funny that Linden Labs was pushing everyone to go there.

Harper Ganesvoort

I've went and created a page for my blog, but I've also added in 2ndhub as well, figuring this would be the safest way to go. Not that I'm thrilled with Facebook in the first place. Their concept of personal privacy is flexible at the least, and downright invasive at the worst. But, as has been mentioned above, they're the dominant game in town right now, at least until someone comes up with the Next Killer App.

To Adeon: I knew there was a reason why I never clicked the Like button on the Second Life page!

Effie Emmons

My account was one of the ones deleted this weekend. I will have to try what Ciaran Laval did. I am glad the word is getting out because I do not want people to think I disappeared. We are "REAL" people behind our avatars. It is a shame Facebook doesn't want all those views to support their money they gain in advertising dollars.

Now what is very scary is what else I found out. If Facebook deactivates your account, you have to scan a copy of your legal ID (license) and email it to them to prove you are "Real" and use your real name. So, a free internet service wants a copy of your ID... very scary.

I teach people how to use Facebook in real life. This past weekend has strongly wavered my opinion of them.

Allen Kerensky

For the past couple of years I have had an avatar account on twitter, linked to facebook, just to give people an option of where to find me.

However, this article saying that the "recommended" method is to create a "page" from your RL account about your avatar finally pushed me to just delete my avatar's Facebook account all together.

That recommendation works fine in theory but is abysmal in practice. As I explained to Facebook in my "Please tell us why you are leaving?" comment: I am unwilling to acquiesce to their demand to link my SL identity to my RL identity for the whole world to see and for them to exploit monetarily. Many people have reasons to prefer anonymity between online identities, much less practice a little prudence about telling the world who they are.

Privacy is mostly an illusion on the internet, but that does not mean we should go as far as *help* everyone invade it in every possible way. And given Facebook's disastrous history with privacy at all, I just can't see any advantage to linking my RL and SL identity there, just to help them spam me with more unwanted advertising.

SecondLife can do better than Facebook.

For example, if SL offered RSS feeds from people and places in SL, and let people link their SL identity to Twitter, Plurk, MyRL, etc instead.

Ordinal Malaprop's TwitterBox and Babbage Linden's SL to OAuth/Twitter tools are both far, far more useful SL-to-RL integration than Facebook ever was, or will be, with their "please give us your content to exploit in our walled garden" approach.

Inara Pey

"In any case, if you do have a Facebook account for your avatar, there's a solution:"

Yes, join 2ndHub, the SL-focused social media site.

www.2ndhub.com.

It's not as big as Facebook, obviously - *but it is relevant to Second Life* and it is *integrated with Second Life*.

It also provides hooks for events, businesses, etc.

Arcadia Codesmith

Facebook is like one of those people who are famous for being famous. Everybody is there because everybody else is there, not because it has any particular value as a social networking site (the design is an embarassment).

Zuckerberg's tower is built on sand, and it's only a matter of time before it crumbles into the sea... probably about the time somebody unveils a network with a better design and the capability to handle pseudonymity.

The forthcoming IPO is an indicator that the property has already peaked and MotherZucker is bailing out before the crash.

foneco zuzu

Facebook, another scam!
But why such admiration, when 20 pct of sl residents still use LLv2, more then 2/3 dont even know how to remove scripts od their avatars and more then 90 pct dont know to toggle to full screen view!

Anonymous

Facebook needs to be challenged.

Phoenixa Sol

I'm sad that some of my facebook friends just disappeared from my list. I've changed my mostly SL based facebook name to my real life name so that the huge archive of pictures there are preserved, or so I hope. (And it's a continual slap in the face every time I look at it, and I'm still posting under "AKA: Phoenixa Sol").

While yes I'm grateful there are places like 2ndhub and secondfriends for us, (and I will go register for 2ndhub) I dont feel it's the same exposure as I have on facebook for my art. While I cannot speak yet about 2ndhub, my experience with secondfriends is that almost no one is interested in checking out other people's art, mostly touting their own. My RL friends dont feel welcome there, and the content isn't relevant to them.

On facebook, I have exposure to my friends from other aspects of my life. They do check out my art, my pictures, my videos and enjoy them. They dont sit in snobby judgement of it that they can do better, they merely enjoy it for what it is. Those who know me in RL know that for me to have any avenue to create art and feel good about it are grateful that's there for me despite my medical condition. In fact, I've brought people to facebook to start accounts, and through facebook have brought folks to secondlife. Isn't that what having a website is all about? exposure? more page views and traffic? Furthermore, Facebook had no problem taking money from me for facebook credits for games. Oh, and I clicked LIKE for secondlife as well and I guess I was lucky my account wasn't toasted like my friends' account were. Even now as I write this and express my opinion, I risk someone's nose going out of joint and reporting me there.

Gee, if MZ has a problem, I could always go down to his office about 90 mins away in person, and rub his nose in my CA state drivers' license like I did to Linden Labs some years back. As long as my wheelchair fits through the door, that is.

Oh, and I did make a page on facebook, not for my avatar, but for my tiny animation company. Facebook cannot even get that straight and when one clicks on it on my profile, they get a barely filled out page, but if one digs really hard in my "INFO" tab, they find the one I created with pictures and information. So yea, making a page isn't exactly ideal either.

I guess it's time to go dance in secondlife and try to find some joy in the day. Sigh. Thank you Wagner James Au for having such an informative blog and giving us the opportunity to speak our minds on it. You rock!

Nexus Burbclave

It may be a bit odd, but the same libertarian streak that makes me a rabid defender of anonymity leaves me loathe to criticize a private company for enforcing Terms of Service that have been clearly spelled out.

It would be a bad idea for Linden Lab to leave Facebook, but I think there are a couple of things that they should do:
1. Since they are recommending fan pages, they should alter the SL profile to support fan pages, and not just profiles.
2. They should definitely use FB as a marketing channel but "the best place to find information about Second Life" should be secondlife.com. There are many reasons for this, but explaining it would exceed the general scope of this comment.

I am actually trying to put together a list of avatar-friendly social networking options over on my blog (including the FB fanpage option) if anyone has any suggestions.


Robustus Hax

Looks like the best place to find Second Life content isn't Facebook after all, eh?

Ann Otoole InSL

Facebook seriously needs to bring in 80/20 to redo their customers' "experience".

As for how facebook can tell if you are probably an SL avatar? Their data mining system makes these recommendations of people you might want to friend. If you are an SL avatar then pay attention. You might notice something like all the recommendations made are SL avatars because everywhere you go on the internet is SL related and has fb spyware (like this blog). The spyware is the like button and other things. If you do not wish to be tracked by Mark Zuckerberg and his associates then use your hosts file to block facebook domains. If you are really upset then raise mobs to mass file complaints with the FTC.

Doing the hosts file thing is great. You can get rid of most of the ads on all webpages that way and the pages load faster. In the place of the ads you will usually see a failed to load page error which is better than the ads for IMVU. The more people that block zuckerberg and other tracking domains the faster that business model falls apart.

If you are in SL as a purely taxpaying commercial entity and are not engaged in "interesting" behavior or products then you could opt to be above board and then it won't matter if SL is hanging around your neck. Make your avatar/company page and be proud. Just ignore the people that make suggestions about the bad aspects of SL and if they persist then tell them you are not involved with that stuff and SL is a really big place. Show them your deposit receipts for your tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, point out how much money for charities is raised in SL every year, and tell them to stick it in their ear.

Or just not care. Be a consumer. Be what Mark Zuckerberg described his customers as.

Senban Babii

@Saffia Widdershins
"It may be simple to create a Facebook page - but many people don't want to link their real life persona and their Second Life avatar. And that is a perfectly reasonable and legitimate position to hold."

+1

I wrote about this for the Herald back in 2010 and it seems that nothing has changed. Why anyone would use Facebook to support their Second Life experience is beyond me. They have proven over and over that they don't want you and yet LL constantly push you towards them. And of course they now offer a "solution" that not surprisingly links your avatar to your real Facebook page. Do I sense their agenda continuing to unfold? Why yes, yes I do.

Ciaran Laval

You don't need to have a Facebook profile to have a Facebook page, of course that means your interactions are limited.

DD Ra

Facebook is following the way of Linden Lab:
1- create a place were people can come, socialize, shares images, chat, do games...
2- success is there
3- decide for your user what they want to do, change things at your whim with complete disregard for them users, and ban them arbitrarly without appeal, even after they have paid content on your pklatform.

Step 4 is coming for SL, will come for FB:
4- Some alternative begin to exist, offering the same service but with the user having more control... and people begin to quit the platform.

Taamon Jules

I don't give a good goddamned what the fb wants and anybody who does is a moron who has let their spine slide out their ass from sitting in a desk chair for to long. And anybody who stands up to tell us to be sheep and do what some web site tells us to for nothing more than it's own self interest is someone I dismiss.

Troy McLuhan

I wonder what Facebook would have done with the Facebook profiles of Mark Twain or Lewis Carroll? (Their real names were Samuel Clemens and Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.)

KawaiiNicole Piers

I think, considering these events, it's best SL avatars create a page. I'm able to use mine with my RL facebook and keep anonymity.

Seriously Amused

Remember the recent Redzone controversy in SL? That guy was collecting and collating every speck on information information he could obtain on every avatar possible, and it was nothing compared to the likes of Facebook and Google.

What do companies like these want? Ideally, what they want is to get inside your brain. They want every thought, every emotion, every buying or viewing habit, every contact you make in the real world or online, your friends, your private personal data, they want to know more about you than you know about yourself. The reason for this is simple. They want to be able to put you in a box and sell you. Other companies, some more and some even less scruplous than Facebook and Google are willing to pay them money to know all they can about you too. If you might be more interested in buying a certain product, if you might be more vulnerable to a certain scam, or maybe just to add to their imformation database so this info is available for them if they ever wish to use it against you.

Or sure, it's just a website you say. It's fun and I keep in contact with my friends there. And meth is just a combination of simple chemicals, you can make it in your bathroom, what's the harm. Communism is just a lifestyle, there's no agenda to it; it's all about sharing, right? Fundalmentalism just has your best interests in mind and they know that you are better off dead if you don't recognize how much they really love and care about you. Yep sarcasm, sometimes it's a friend too.

Ok, so you say, well I don't put personal info on Facebook, so they got nothing on me. Or, I only use Google to check spelling, so they aren't tracking anything on me.

Look folks, you need to see that you're supporting evil people by using these companies. Google's motto: don't be evil. Yeah right. I don't know what Facebook's motto is, but it's probably something along the lines of, come-on just give us your bank account and pin-number, you know we're safe with it.

Or I could have just made this a whole lot simpler. Facebook only wants real informations, not fantasy stuff. The fact that you're a two meter tall squirrel with your own BDSM club and have a fetish for hello-kitty panties that have been worn by men, only interests Facebook if they can know who you really are and who your friends and contacts really are. Tell the the real stuff and they'll probably arrange for you to get free fuel for life in farmville.

Really, Facebook sucks, even in the real world. So why try to mix fantasy with that?

Morgue McMillan

This whole fake account thing actually is a joke. Who knows how many people really log in to FB with their real name? Most don't, especially because of all the reasons regarding privacy as mentioned in many posts above.

Vecky Burdam

"Anyone who choose to "Like" SecondLife on Facebook got their account deleted if it was an avatar account"

enough said ...

foneco zuzu

http://www.2ndhub.com/
Im in, who else?

Senban Babii

@fonecu zuzu
"http://www.2ndhub.com/
Im in, who else?"

I created an account out of interest but so far I'm seeing cluttered pages and no real benefit. I think they need to make some big changes before it becomes seen as an indispensible tool.

facebook login

Of course that means your interactions are limited.

Hexpert

Its so funny how so many people got so much to say cause facebook wont continue to cosign other peoples crap ..it is very clear and simple. Face makes it very clear when creating a account that you are to use your real info and not use any fake information when creating a account with them so anyone who made a account using a SL avatar name has right away broke FB policy and rules so you will all eventually get what you had coming the day you decided to screw it Im gonna break the rules anyway..

Armand Lithanos

Best answer.. Leave Farcebook.

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