With (Facebook) friends like these…

Who needs NME’s? (or Melody Makers for that matter)**

I think I was just the victim of a clever attempt to block me on Facebook.  I was accepting the friend requests on my Facebook account. I noticed 2 or 3 of them were not actually friend requests. Instead they were ‘suggested friends’, allowing me to request them. So I clicked the button.

I thought to myself

“that’s nice of them, finding me some more foxhole atheists to interact with, or other interested people…”

I was wrong. A few hours went by and these suggested friends reported me for unwanted contact. My account was temporarily blocked and locked out for “attempting to communicate with people who don’t know you” or something along those lines.

When I finally unfucked my account, I posted this:

I consider my Facebook account to be ‘public’. I am willing to accept friend requests from those with low / no mutual friends. Usually it is an atheist, sometimes a journalist, but every once in a while it is a fundie. I check on the low/no’s mainly to filter out the spammers and bimbots, but I almost always accept any others. Perhaps I need to re-think this strategy though.

Shortly after I posted that status update, three others wrote in to say it happened to them too (very recently.) Here is one from a fellow Dallas native:

Justin Griffith

If you use this feature, go for it. But please suggest my account to your friends (and *not* the other way around). 

EllenBeth Wachs pretends to be EllenBeth Wachs…?

I was also just informed that EllenBeth Wachs, a very outspoken atheist activist in Florida, is unable to get into her Facebook account. Her account has been reported for being ‘inauthentic’, despite the fact that it is her real name, and not a new account. She has appealed according to Facebook policy, but has heard nothing back yet. It has been days.

Like I said, these ‘Liars for Jesus’ are crazy, but not stupid.

** The first line of this post was lifted from this excellent lo-fi art-damaged song from Holy Shit, channeling Donovan through blown out speakers. Then the speakers were tossed in a bathtub filled with bong water, rainbows, and fake British accents.

Holy Shit – “I Don’t Need eNeMiEs”


A thing called ‘SunLickTree’ uploaded this creation. It cut off the last five seconds (frustratingly removing the pun I was trying to reference). Not sure why, but foreigners dancing to American music is funny.

Original *full* version.

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  • JMH

    You’re getting famous enough, you might want to consider making a page instead of using your personal account.

    If only because there is a friend limit on personal accounts, and you’re gonna reach it soon I bet. 😉

  • beerslayer

    Justin – I had a similar problem a month or so ago on FB. I chose not to use my real name in my profile, specifically to keep fundies and other unfriendlies from being able to track me down. Well, someone decided that they wanted me banned from FB and reported my fake last name. I was forced to change it in order to regain access to my account.

    There is no question this is a tactic used to harass and intimidate people. But it has a sad side too.

    A week or so ago, a couple of people invited me to be friends on FB. I almost never accept such requests, especially from people I don’t know, and I did not do so this time either. After hiding the friend request, FB puts up a dialog with a checkbox (I think) asking if I know these people in real life. I answered “no” quite honestly, and didn’t think anything of it until now.

    Now I wonder if I inadvertently got these people banned from FB, or put them in danger of it, just for the “crime” of trying to befriend me. Chances are they were legitimate, even if unwanted. I didn’t want to get anyone in trouble, just to refuse the friend request.

    I also worry if this whole thing could have a chilling effect on our willingness to refuse friend requests – not wanting to get people busted, we might accept a friend request we would normally refuse, with dire consequences if the requester is hostile.

    FB needs to really rethink their entire policy on this. It punishes people who DON’T deserve it, while having no effect on the ones who really DO.

  • I’m certainly not endorsing these underhanded tactics, nor would I ever use them myself, but I have to say the case of EllenBeth Wachs, or EB, is highly ironic. You see, EB is currently being sued by the Atheists of Florida, Inc., for pretending to be them. Wachs and her cohort stormed out of a board meeting November 6, and the majority of the board removed them from the offices they held. Wachs and her consort then proceeded to block AoF from accessing its own website, its Facebook site, its discussion forum, and its Meetup sites.

    So I wouldn’t bet on it being a believer who reported her; it might well have been an atheist who was unhappy with her actions and felt turnabout was fair play.

  • Physicalist

    FB is messed up. That is all.

  • Justin Griffith

    Brent, I heard a tiny bit about it earlier. It’s a shame that such situations crop up. I take no dog in the fight, obviously.

    I’ll tell you this much, something like that happened early on at Fort Bragg. You never heard about it because I 100% always continued to support the other group publicly. After a rogue leader was finally quieted by her entire group, the insanity stopped, but would pop up again from time to time (though it’s been a very long time now).

    Sometimes unstable people get to wield a banhammer. I’m still banned from a group that all still loves me except for one. Some people are drama-magnets. I was completely shocked, and still amazed that such a situation didn’t result in the toxic leader’s removal.

    Good luck sorting it out, but try your best to keep infighting out of the public eye. Admittedly, it’s unavoidable sometimes.

  • So, Brent- someone filing a false report to facebook to get me wrongfully suspended is “fair play” in your book?

    I am certain that rational people know that there are more facts than you are pointing out in the Atheists of Florida situation. If you really cared about the organization as you say you do, you would stop publicly airing your hatred of me for your own benefit and let the case play out..

  • and just an FYI, the Judge denied Gollobith’s demand that I turn over the sites that I run.

    If you are going to throw out this issue to the public, Mr. Yaciw, be factually correct with the legal status.

  • Steph Bazzle

    Hey, just for the record, all friend suggests go both ways. In other words, if I friend suggest you my husband, for instance, you’ll get a friend suggest to add Justin Bazzle, and he’ll get one to add Justin Griffith. I don’t think you can friend suggest so that it shows up only to one person, unless it’s changed since I last did it.

    You can always wait, though, and let the other guy add you.

  • plutosdad

    I think Greg Laden had a recent post where the same thing happened, if you try to friend too many people at once that you don’t really know (how it knows that I don’t know) then it blocks you thinking you’re a spammer or advertiser.

    Maybe if you hit “allow subscriptions” then people could use that without you having to friend them.

  • geocatherder

    I swear, if I accepted every friend request(or a thousand times worse, every friend suggestion) I’d have a home full of posts by lunatic fundie tea-partiers encouraged by my crazy brother-in-law. I got a friend request last night, out of the blue, and noticed that our two mutual friends are both science writers. So I took the time to write to this person, he wrote back with a perfectly good answer, and we are now friends.

    But I’m cautious, since FB IS open to abuse.