At least according to Facebook, which last week put me on "virtual probation" with threats of terminating my account, all while giving me no apparent means of appealing this false accusation.
What landed me in Facebook lockdown? Near as I can figure, my crime was simply taking Facebook up on suggestions the site itself made of people I should "friend" on my profile page.
Here's what happened.
Among other things, I'm a musician, and Facebook has a feature on the site that constantly sends suggestions of people in my industry whom I don't know but whom, on its recommendation, I should "friend," as we already share dozens of mutual friends.
There aren't too many words that exist in Webster's New Millennium Dictionary that conjure up more offensive and sleazy images than that of a "spammer."' Pretty much the equivalent of an online pickpocket or con artist, if you ask me. Anyone for three-card Monte?
But the insults don't stop there. When Facebook labels you a spammer, the first thing you must do before you're allowed to use the site again is go through a humiliating "checklist" of boxes, in which you're forced to admit you've been a bad boy and promise not to do it again.
I, like many others, have no life, and sometimes spend hours a day on Facebook. So tell me, what is the point of a feature that hits you with dozens of friend suggestions every hour, then clamps down on you and treats you like a registered sex offender when you take them up on it? Isn't what they're doing, for all intents and purposes, entrapment?
Half the world now uses Facebook as a primary means of communication. With the other half surely to follow by next Tuesday. So, If you don't think being threatened with banishment from Facebook is a big deal, try to imagine what it would be like to live in the '70s and be accused of making phony phone calls and banned from using AT&T.
For the life of me, I can't figure out how or why all these Harvard grads would come up with a system as ridiculous as this. Is it a bug? Is it intentional?
But it was when I tried to get an answer that things got even more frustrating.
There seems to be no way to contact an actual person at Facebook. No phone. No e-mail support. No "Live Chat." Nothing.
Only that stupid FAQ section with answers to a litany of questions my pet monkey could answer.
After a bit of Googling, I managed to find Facebook's corporate office number.
The recorded voice, obviously on Soma, kindly says, "For customer support, press 1." But when I pressed 1, the soothing voice said: "Thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately, at this time, Facebook does not provide phone support."
Facebook has the largest online presence the world has ever seen, yet its customer service arm -- or lack of one -- could make Ralph Nader hang himself. Twice. Especially when you consider all the potential illegal stuff taking place -- identity theft, information hijacking, pedophiles surfing for minors, etc. It's just plain unconscionable how Facebook hasn't yet devoted some of that $50 billion to a response center of some sort. But when we see our congressmen jumping over each other for photo ops in Palo Alto, it's no surprise nothing's been done yet.
Then, amid my preparation for hara-kiri, it dawned on me: The funniest part about Facebook is, it's everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
Of course, there's probably nothing we can do about it, as Facebook is now stronger than Big Brother and "The Wizard of Oz" combined. But there's still hope. As we both know what happened to those guys. Oh, wait. Big Brother won, didn't he? Never mind.
Facebook just played a huge role in toppling an autocratic behemoth in the Middle East because their leader was completely unresponsive to the needs of his people.
I wonder what it will take to get Mark Zuckerberg to be more responsive to his subjects?