Facebook Needs Better “User Verification” As “Kate Middleton” Account Is Suspended

Filed as News on January 26, 2011 6:23 am

Kate Middleton Facebook Suspension - But Not The "Real" Middleton

Let’s take a second away from the very serious business of social media technology and talk about the absurd nature of Facebook policies. Mark Zuckerberg is a very smart guy, but apparently his team isn’t. A lady in England who happens to have the name Kate Middleton was outraged this week to find out that her account was completely disabled because Facebook staff thought she was an imposter.

According to All Facebook, Middleton (the not famous one) said of her plight:

“I still can’t get on,” and “On Thursday I was logged in all day as usual. Then I went out with friends and got a call from my partner saying he couldn’t see me on there any more. Later when I tried to log in again I got an error message that said it had been disabled.”

Impersonation accounts have been removed from Facebook at record numbers over the last several months and various real users with stars names have been in that line of fire, leading to some pissed off site visitors who’s accounts have been wrongly disabled.

Kate was so angered by Facebook’s treatment that she went on to say:

“It’s ridiculous, if they had gone into my account they could see who I was. They think that I am trying to impersonate Prince William’s Kate Middleton. My profile picture is of me and I don’t look anything like Kate. It is absurd.”

While adding “I have pictures of my nephew on there and all my contacts. I don’t know if they ever do let me back in whether that will be saved. Facebook should have got in touch with me first and asked me to prove who I was.”

The odd part is there are thousands of Kate Middleton’s in the world and many of them are on Facebook, yet only one account appears to have been targeted.

It’s surprising that Facebook wouldn’t simply create “Verified” accounts like those used on Twitter, or perhaps they could give full name vanity URLs to celebrities and then force all other users with that name to choose a different URL and then list the celebrity account as the first result in searches.

Whatever the final result may be for Kate Middleton, it would at least be nice if Facebook could more openly discuss how they determine which accounts with famous names are chosen for closure.

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