Facebook Gives Me Back My Account

Posted on January 26, 2009 01:32 PM by Joel Comm

As I'm sure you read on my blog or elsewhere on the web, Facebook had suspended my account.

After sending a few emails and having some friends with contacts at Facebook work on my behalf, my account has been reinstated.

Here is the email I received from them...

Hi Joel,

Facebook has limits in place to prevent behavior that other users may find annoying or abusive. These limits restrict the rate at which you can use certain features on the site, including the message feature. Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with the specific rates that have been deemed abusive.

Your account was disabled because you exceeded Facebook's limits on multiple occasions, despite having been warned to slow down. However, after reviewing your situation, we have reconfirmed your account and you should now be able to access it again.

Please be aware that if your account is disabled again, we will not be able to reactivate it. While using the message feature, keep in mind that it's possible to run into a block based on how many messages you send and how fast you send them. It's also possible to be blocked when either starting a new message thread or replying to a message. Lastly, deleting old messages will not allow you to send more messages. When you are allowed to resume using the message feature, please proceed with caution to avoid hitting the limit again. Let me know if you have further questions.

Thank you for your cooperation,

User Operations

In other words,

"Our system is screwed up and we don't know how to separate the spammers from the legitimate users.

Don't use our system to mail people who are mailing you or we'll permanently delete your account.

We will also come to your house and take your computer. After all, we know where you live.

And you can never go to Disneyworld again. No, not even dressed as Mickey Mouse.

All your data are belong to us. Ha. ha. ha."

But seriously, I am back on Facebook.

It appears there was even a group created to rescue me from Facebook Purgatory.

Special thanks to Robert Scoble for the piece he wrote on my situation.

I knew my account would get reinstated, though this happened quickly. I'm pleased.

Several of my blog admonished me for putting eggs in the Facebook basket. Believe me, I could totally live without the site. Honestly, I didn't sweat it. I just saw this as an opportunity to bring attention to a broken system badly in need of repair.

Thanks to all who supported me on my blog and in your tweets.

You were with me in my darkest hour. I am now a free man. ;-)

61 Comments For This Post

  1. Travis Campbell Says:

    Excellent, congrats Joel! Thanks for the update on this issue.

  2. Rich Hopkins Says:

    Such a customer-oriented company. Regardless of whether its Joel Comm or Joe Blow, this type of customer-service is too common today, particularly when services feel they cannot be replaced. Interesting attitude coming from a company that has 'replaced' MySpace to a degree. Who will replace Facebook in the next 5 years?

  3. Art Jonak Says:


    Good news. They acted quickly. Bad news, doesn't seem like they have an answer to a problem that will escalate amongst the influencers of the web.

    This line really is what stood out for me:

    "Please be aware that if your account is disabled again, we will not be able to reactivate it."

    Even if it's their fault?

    On a separate note, what will you do with all your pending friend requests? Just ignore them?

    Thanks for all you do,

    -Art Jonak

  4. Dulcita Love Says:

    Hi Joel, Glad to hear the good news and that re-instatement happened relatively quickly for you. Facebook's "Please be aware that if your account is disabled again, we will not be able to reactivate it." still leaves a sense of discomfort, not only for you, but all Facebook users. Dulcita Love @dulcitalove

  5. Jeff Says:

    Welcome back!

  6. Marco Carbajo Says:


    Great to hear that Facebook realized that you were just doing what you do best with the people who know you, like you, and trust you. I would hope that in the near very near future facebook would acknowledge a friend on facebook is just as real friend as a friend in the real physical world.

    If that was case then your account would have never been suspended. Friends want to hear about what you're doing and would be open to your ideas, suggestions, stories, and opinions.

    Great to see you back and make it a great day!

    Marco :)

  7. Patrick Coffey Says:

    I assume this is because of the dreaded, "report as spam" button. It's just like email marketing. Sure you can use that link included in EVERY FREAKING message to unsubscribe. However some subscribers prefer the spam button instead.

    So facebook probably received spam complaints from your email messages. Plus the threshold on this is extremely low. Most services accept a 0.01 complaint rate. So for every thousand messages you send your allowed one complaint. Joel probably needed something like 6 complaints to get blocked.

    A common problem faced by all legitimate email marketers. Sucks to see this is a facebook issues too.

  8. Roland Says:

    Shame you can't go to Disneyworld ever again!!!

  9. Luc Says:

    "Please be aware that if your account is disabled again, we will not be able to reactivate it." This really does leave a bad taste in your mouth. I cannot believe how Facebook can be so cold and impersonal in their replies and show apparent disrespect to a pioneer like Joel Comm. He has been around way before Facebook was even thought of. Anyway, it's good on their part to at least re-enstate his account considering THEIR "strange" behaviour. Go Joel!

  10. Rob McNealy Says:

    The power user problems are endemic with social networking sites. The reality is, they hate power users, but need them. They hate power users because they usually have figured out a way to gain influence on the platform, at the same time, the power users promote their sites.

    It's game where the platforms are trying to exert control where have lost it. Social networks should embrace and promote the power users.

  11. Kim Doyal Says:

    Hi Joel,

    As always, you've shared a situation with you normal honesty & integrity. I'm amused by anyone that would think you need to break any rules or not do things by the book.
    You constantly give away great free information and all your products (free or not) have been very helpful.
    Glad to see you back on fb...just more proof that as powerful as social networking is, it can only be once source of traffic.

  12. Radovan Says:

    Congratulations Joel, you have really good stuff. Best regards

  13. KC Colvin Says:

    Yeah!!! I was pulling for you asked if you could be reinstated too! I told them they didn't know who they were messing with and having you on their menu of choices could only mean bigger things for them. You're a BIG MAN in the Internet world, with a FAMILY MAN attitude. Love it! God Bless! KC

  14. Joel Comm Says:

    Thanks for your support!

    And can I just say, I love being able to delete obnoxious comments from people who think they can just come to my site and abuse me with their ignorance.

    Here's a reviewer in case anyone has forgotten...


  15. matt Says:

    The thing that bothers me, is the comment that they can't tell you what the rules are, but if you violate them they will suspend your account and not reinstate it? That is not only bad customer service, it is an open door to lawsuits. There are too many social networks for one to behave in this manner.

    I am glad you got your account back, but I think you should call them, and let them know that this policy of theirs is a very bad thing.

  16. Michael Lawver Says:

    Hey Joel,

    LOL, this whole thing is ridiculous and FB should be ashamed of itself. I do realize that they are just trying to protect against spammers, but to do it at the expense of legitimate users isn't right. After all, it's these legitimate users that have made FB what it is and provides them with the paycheck their getting.

    I think for me, this is one of the very biggest reasons why people shouldn't develop a site like this with much effort or content, because when it comes right down to it, they own the data and can take it anytime they darn well please. This is true of any of these free sites (i.e. blogger, wordpress, squidoo etc.).

    Heck, it's the entire reason why my own FB page has only the absolute minimum of stuff on it and I don't put much in the way of content there.

    Hopefully this is another clue to FB that they need to do something differently and WILL take the necessary actions to help not only protect, but prevent this kind of thing from happening to it's core users.

    Congratulations on getting your account reinstated.

  17. Slaven Says:

    Joel, it's their system and they have the right to set the rules for us to follow while using it. They simply asked you to not send more than x messages in a given period of time. And of course they can't tell us what x is, or people would just abuse the system even more. I'm the cautious type so I try to keep x as low as possible and just use twitter for sending of those messages (I like to call this "social networking").

  18. Rafael Says:

    So how ironic is it that the things that annoy me most and i find most abusive are those things done by facebook admin people? but they hide behind those very words to cover the fact that their pet turned into frankenstein and is out of their control, and the only semblance of control they retain is the ability to just shut down an account for exceeding a set of parameters that even they cant provide, other than telling you not to do something too much, but if you do its too late.

  19. Shel Horowitz Says:

    Glad you worked it out. I had a small run-in over sending too many of the same messages, but they didn't shut down my account. All of these networks need some fine-tuning.

  20. Ian David Chapman Says:

    Hi Joel
    you seem to have been caught in Facebooks recent clampdown on people who are sending direct marketing messages from Facebook groups.

    I have been tracking their policy changes for the past 10 months, the price for this knowledge has been paid by people like yourself who get tripped up when they move the goalposts

    They are deliberately vague about the rules because the spammers would just operate below the thresholds to avoid detection. I have compiled an unwritten rulebook that is essential reading for anyone who wants to do business on Facebook and avoid getting their accounts disabled


    Never send a direct marketing link from a Facebook Group, always make it a two step process via your Blog.

  21. Ian David Chapman Says:

    Hi Joel
    just read your first post so my last comment is actually irrelevant, I remember that a couple of My Facebook friends were suffering from the same problem back in October - Jim Turner and Martin Alsop were both doing the same thing you did, messaging their friend requests and trying to get them onto a fan page. They got warnings but never actually got suspended.

    This is one area that Facebook need to address and the sooner they lift the friend limit of 5000 the better. Its crazy that those who add the most value are having to walk on eggshells.

    glad you are back though

  22. jomar Says:

    Its a lesson to would be internet marketers --that when they are about to reach a socnet's limits (in this case facebook's 5000) they should IMMEDIATELY contact the socnet's management or operations guy and introduce themselves as heavy users. Why doesn't this happen to Leo Laporte or Robert Scoble etc? Because facebook programmers and management KNOW THEM very well.

    Jomar Hilario
    Internet Marketer from the Philippine Islands

  23. B Says:

    So there are limits, but they won't tell you what the limits are, and if you violate these unspecified limits again you'll lose your account and it won't be reinstated? Hmm. Good luck guessing how close to the limits you are in the future.

  24. Dean Henry Says:

    Suprising they reinstate your account fast. It never happened for a friend of mine,... but then again, she didnt have 5000 ppl, so to create a new one was a piece of cake. I dread at the thought of creating a new FB account when you have more than 5000 friends.

    Anyway, lesson learned, and good for you Joel.

  25. Brandon Walker Says:


    Congrats on getting your facebook back! I still can't believe the situation they left you in - suspending your facebook account and all SHEESH! But you got your account back and that's all that matters.

  26. Russell the love muscle Says:

    Someone should start facebooksajoke.com. How can you know how to behave if they won't spell out the rules?

  27. Kevin Ryan Says:

    Great, Joel! Now give me back the $30 a month you've been charging my credit card for the last four months despite my repeated e-mails to orders@infomediainc.com requesting cancellation! The billing notification says, "Please feel free to email us at orders@infomediainc.com
    should you have any further questions." Maybe someone should actually be reading the e-mails that come in to that address!

    I don't want to dispute the charges with my credit card company, but you've left me no choice!

  28. saka Says:

    It's nice to have you back :)

  29. Garrett Says:

    Hey Joel,

    When the owners of a broken piece of software refuse to fix their
    software, what does some smart company do??

    Theye make a new piece of software with 'improvements' in the area
    the other companies software lacked in - right?

    How bout this...

    I own the domain WhatsNewNHot.com, and have for a couple years.

    I'm working on a redesign of the site into a social networking site,
    and have some bids out on the work right now, from some of the people
    I use to outsource that type of work to.

    I'm looking for a 'partner' to help me make it a success, someone who
    can help me over the hurdles with their contacts, their know how and
    their overwhelming success rate.

    Give me a hand!

    We'll give Facebook and the 'others' a real run for their money -
    might even make'em skeered -- :o).

    Just a thought....

    Heh, heh...

    Anyone else?? :o)

    - Garrett

  30. Shannon D. Denniston Says:

    > Honestly, I didn't sweat it.

    Um, yeah, yeah right man. ;-)

    > You were with me in my darkest hour.

    See, you did sweat it and so did everyone else who woke up one morning to find their account had been disabled. It's a bad, bad feeling, glad to hear you go through to them buddy and didn't have to wait 9 days like myself.

    - Shannon

  31. Steve Says:

    Joel, glad to see you got back on to Facebook. But Facebook seriously needs to get a new Face for customer service! No company can rest on its laurels, or they will be replaced in the near future. I hope we can see this example as what NOT to do in our businesses.

  32. Christopher Coulter Says:

    Free to spam again...

    You gonna pass out cigars? Temper-tantrum success, whiny babies get the candy.

  33. Joel Says:

    Thanks for getting it entirely wrong Chris!

    Never spammed. Never will.

    Shannon, it was a joke. I didn't sweat it at all. When it happened, my first thought was "how can I leverage this?" It's not personal, just business. My egg in Facebook's basket is hardly a blip.

  34. Eric M. Larson Says:

    Welcome back to the Facebook world, Joel!

    The part that I don't get is their oddly threatening/accusatory line that "you exceeded Facebook's limits on multiple occasions, despite having been warned to slow down". What's that really mean? As others have said... where's the line and how's it explained?

    (Someone commented on your initial post that you might have obeyed the "letter" of the TOS but violated the "spirit" because you don't have 5000 close, personal friends; with due respect to that position, how on earth do you run a business -- which is what Facebook is -- while enforcing some kind of "spirit"? They've probably talked to a lawyer or two; can't these things be spelled out and then followed consistently?)

    For no explained reason, my wife's Facebook account disappeared without a trace about half a day after she created it -- the resulting "Eric is no longer listed as married" wasn't a particularly good thing to blast out to all my friends. That was a good lesson for me in Facebook's lack of stability as a platform for anything important. Fun to play with, good while it lasts, great that it's popular and has "critical mass"... but not where I'm going to hang my hat for anything I truly value.

    Their reply to you immediately reminded me of a problem I had on a much smaller scale but still interesting: I had created a trial account at a fly-by-night subscription site that shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, and I asked a question through their support ticket system. After it was resolved, their "CEO" re-replied to that same e-mail message and said that they were concerned about the fact that the e-mail address I signed up with had their name embedded in it. (I made a custom address against my own domain name to track whether they were going to sell it to SPAMmers.) It was a reply to an old thread and I don't check that e-mail account over the weekend, and in less than 24 hours my account was disabled with the same "You ignored our polite warnings" line that Facebook gave you. I always thought that Rule #1 of customer service is that you shouldn't call your customers crooks, liars, thieves, etc...?

    Good luck and be careful out there!

  35. Jim Rodante Says:

    Glad they reinstated you. But they sure sound like "Big Brother" with the iron fist held high, waiting to drop it at the slightest misstep.

    Almost makes you afraid to send a message, in fear that it may be "THE" message that puts you over the fence!

    At least in baseball you get three strikes before you're out. In Faceball, I guess it's only two.

    Here's to you Joel, holding your breath everytime you push that "send" button on Facebook :).

    You rock.



  36. Justin Says:

    Congratulations on getting it fixed, I just posted on your last page, asking if it did get solved. But I'm happy to see it did. I figured they would eventually. Do you think they will figure out a way to separate those who are legitimate from those that aren't? This world of guilty first, without any sort of assumed innocence needs to be re-evelauated. Something to remember for future developers.

    BTW, now that you are up and running, have you seen the new texttochat app that was just launched on Facebook that actually allows you to make money for perhaps the first time directly from the app?? You can look into it here: http://links.4ligo.net/brklj

    Anyway, glad to hear they can solve problems for those that are actually serious about what they are doing. Not your fault you're great at promoting and the whole social networking thing. Do you have any idea why they created a 5000 person arbitrary limit?


  37. jesse grant Says:

    Ian David Chapman

  38. German Romance Says:

    There are more socialnetworking sites, have you used Myspace before? Not as flashy as Facebook but quite good!

  39. Craig M Says:

    Well good to hear they let you back on..
    I have personal just recently been banded for edit a post i made for my group page to many times...

    I was not spamming or even PMing members of my group..but was simply editing a post i made were some symbols did not appear as they should.

    I saw a waring saying no spam allowed... so figured i would finish what i was editing at the time and come back latter...but once i hit save..my account was disabled.

    I see the page i was working on is still up...

    Now i have emailed every email i can find

    Have left messages at this numbers
    Phone: 650-543-4800
    Fax: 650-543-4801

    And even left a message with a number given to me by FaceBook Admin for the Press........but nothing not even an auto email back ...
    Press Only ... 650 -543-4811
    Press Only .. press@facebook.com

    Very Upset........ :(

    President |Founder of "Canadian Old Time Records"
    Craig Matthews

  40. Subhankar Ray Says:

    Why innovative companies have to have poor customer support?

  41. Thewirds Says:

    Good to know that you have your account back, cause its so rare to see a social networking unban someone for having over 5000 friend. We can see now how fast growing site like Facebook, willing to hear complain and consider their banning decision. They have the best support - no doubt and i really hope that they can keep this best service in a long period time

  42. Stephen Orsini Says:

    "All your data are belong to us. Ha. ha. ha." - very nice...

  43. Joni Says:

    What? "... despite having been warned to slow down...." and "Please be aware that if your account is disabled again, we will not be able to reactivate it." This sounds like something my MOTHER would say. "I told you to slow down, but you wouldn't listen!" "If you break it this time, I'm not gonna buy you a new one!"

    Thanks for exposing Facebook's weaknesses .. and its apparent inability to cure those weaknesses. And keep on keepin' on. :)

  44. Mr Javo Says:

    Haha you are not the only one who get banned on FB... Well at least you get your account back, that's what really matters.

  45. Alexei Zoubov Says:

    I had my Twitter account closed for no particular reason and then reactivated after countless emails, posting on blogs, etc.

    I am a Russian, came to the USA 25 years ago from former USSR and found that many companies on the Web are acting like Soviet KGB - you are assumed guilty, and most of the time they even don't care if you are innocent and don't even talk to you.

  46. Alexei Zoubov Says:

    I had my Twitter account closed for no particular reason and then reactivated after countless emails, posting on blogs, etc.

    I am a Russian, came to the USA 25 years ago from former USSR and found that many companies on the Web are acting like Soviet KGB - you are assumed guilty, and most of the time they even don't care if you are innocent and don't even talk to you.

  47. Tito Philips, Jnr. Says:

    this is a very funny but realistic story. I am also on facebook and interestingly have built two groups that are thriving. I have also been disabled from using one of the facebook features, unlike you, mine was the add friend feature, i was told the rate at which i "made" friends on facebook was too fast! Can you imagine that? I was like Joel also, how can i possibly be warned or stopped of using the site for what they created it for?
    A site meant to make friends suddenly disallows you from doing what they went all out to make you do! I got re-instated like joel, but ever since i have been cautious, LOL.

    However, the other day i stumbled into a group "facebook blackout" that was created to fight this rather annoying behaviour of facebook admin, and i was very glad such a group existed. i wonder what ever makes them do this to users? How can you frustrate the users they spent so much time, money and effort to create in the first place? This in my opinion has got to stop and thank Joel, for going all out to make a buzz of this online, KUDOS!

  48. Sandra Hollingworth Says:

    Hi Joel, I'm happy to read you got your account back. I myself have had my account disabled almost 1 month ago. 3 weeks in I eventually got an eail from them saying my account was fake and I would not be getting it back. This bewildered me and even upset me a little to be told I am not me and I would not be getting my account back seems ridiculous. I have sent several emails since then and was advised by other users to scan and email some id which I have since done but to no avail. I haven't even received an automated response. Do you have any advice for me??

  49. Aleksej Says:

    Join hatebook :P
    Just kidding :)

  50. prying1 Says:

    "Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with the specific rates that have been deemed abusive."

    "When you are allowed to resume using the message feature, please proceed with caution to avoid hitting the limit again."

    And then they go on to slap the back of your hand like you did something wrong.

    Some apology...

    I really like the line, "Please be aware that if your account is disabled again, we will not be able to reactivate it."

    Is the program running the staff or the staff running the program?

  51. Shannon Loh Says:

    You're blessed to have 5000 people behind you. What about the little people like us? No matter how many emails sent to the so-called correct email address, there's no response.

    There is no hope for us.

  52. Mike D Says:

    Hi Joel,
    I work for a celebrity and unfortunately he is approaching 5000 friends. Facebook limits you to the 5000 friends BUT yet you can have unlimited FANS on a page. This makes NO SENSE to me at all. Does it make sense to you?
    He started his account before we knew about the "PAGE" option, the issue and problem here is that having "friends", people feel at a more connected and personal level than being a "FAN". Friend sounds so much better than FAN.
    How did you contact Facebook? Any suggestions or contact info would be greatly appreciated. I have tried to contact FB and they just do not write back. It's so frustrating.

    (Even though it won't do any good) I'd like to put in a plea to remove the limit on "Friends" limit. I don't understand WHY they have a limit in the first place, it's idiotic. Yet, you can have unlimited "FANS" on a PAGE. So stupid.
    I feel bad that you had to go through all the crap you went through just for being a good guy. You didn't deserve that aggravation.
    Thank you for sharing your horrible experience with us all, and for warning us of the hassle we are going to get once we hit the 5000 wall.
    I look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to email me.
    Thanks again.
    Mike D

  53. Vishal Manuja Says:

    my facebook account is disabled because i was adding friends at a pace.. i waswarned for the same.. i slowed down.. but now all of the sudden they disabled the account saying i've voilated the terms.. i dunno what went wrong.. i mailed them the issue at disabled@facebook.com

    I read the articles about people saying that their accounts got disabled and they never got it back.. i'm scared.. i want my account back.. can you please help.. i don't mind if they even restrict friend adding feature permanently from my account.. but i just need me account.. my old friends.. please help me out sir.. i need my account badly.. please help..

  54. online virtual worlds for kids Says:

    Haha, nice interpretation.

    Sometimes "security" mechanisms to such sites just over simplify issues and are dealed with based on what they regard as " undesirables" just because of behaviours which seem eerily similar

  55. abul rahman Says:

    please giv me back my facebook. thank you

  56. Antony Carthy Says:

    They blocked me for "rates limits" and won't respond to my emails to every address @facebook.com that I have tried.

    I had a hot topic on my wall, to which maybe 30 people replied within 3 hours. When I tried to go back on later, I found I was blocked.

    "Account Disabled

    Your account has been disabled. If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page here."

    I didn't abuse the service at all.

    I will do everything I can to get the service back, because I use it every day.


  57. Yousuf shovon Says:

    My account was disabled , i have no idea why. I don't know why and i havn't done anything wrong..?
    I have sent e-mails every day since, but only had 1 robot reply saying' check your terms, we will get back to you soon. When?? How long does it take to get a reply from them

    Please can any1 advise me of what to do.
    Please re-activitate my account I am very sorry for whatever

    Yousuf Shovon

    Best Regards

  58. Shawn Drewry Says:

    I was disabled 5 times, and reinstated twice :-)

  59. glaydenty Says:

    nice post, you're the best.

  60. Chrissy Says:

    My profile has recently been disabled and I am unable to contact Facebook. They really need to have live people to talk to... like Dell has lol!

    Can anyone help me out? I have tried emailing them TWICE now and am going to CONTINUE to email them from the account name like they stated.


  61. Diana Says:

    Hi, my facebook account has been disabled for no reason. How can I get it back??

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Joel Comm is an Internet entrepreneur who has been online for over 20 years. In 1995, Joel launched WorldVillage.com, a family-friendly portal to the web which enjoys thousands of visitors each day. Joel is the co-creator of ClassicGames.com, which was acquired by Yahoo! in 1997, and now goes by the name Yahoo! Games. Since then, Joel's company, InfoMedia, Inc., has launched dozens of web sites which offer online shopping, free stuff, website reviews and more. Joel is the author of many popular books, including the NY Times Best-Seller, The AdSense Code. He regularly makes appearances at Internet marketing conferences and seminars.