Will August 21, 2012 be a date that goes down in infamy? To some it just might. Many woke this morning to find that their cosplay pages had been deleted, no warning by Facebook itself, just a missing gap in their lives.
It seems Facebook is holding true to its Terms of Service, by going through their systems and deleting personal pages that don’t have real names attached to them. The first purge from the system was any personal page that had Cosplay as part of the name.
Now many of us have seen the warnings posted for a while now, Facebook cracking down on what it sees as “fake” pages, whether they were for cosplay, business, role play, or pets. The site even went so far as to deny new accounts to people if they thought the name used was a fake one, until you could prove to them that it was real. This is understandable to many, and the purge itself is understandable even to the people affected by it. However, the way Facebook went about doing it is why so many people seem to be upset.
Facebook fan pages are relatively new to the Facebook system. It’s a way to create a page off of your own, with almost all the features of a personal page. It allows a sense of privacy to a public profile. However, when the vast majority of cosplay related Facebooks were established, this was not an option and many didn’t feel the need to switch over when it was created.
Fast forward to this morning, when all personal pages with cosplay in the name were deleted. The email addresses used on these pages have been banned from Facebook without proof that Cosplay is their real last name. Many are upset over this, and rightly so, not because Facebook is enforcing their own ToS, but that no warning and no options were given to fix the issue.
I’m no programmer, and I don’t work with coding, but it seems somewhat silly that a personal account could not be “downgraded” to a fan page. Both allow for pictures to be posted, and both use the new Timeline feature, you would just be shutting off some of the codes and turning on some others. It seems that something could have been done to attach one of these accounts to an existing email address to allow it to be turned into a fan page, instead of a personal page.
But instead, Facebook dropped the ball. Yes these people were in violation of the ToS, but it’s not as if they were showing children’s pornography or mutilated people and animals (of which there are tons of fan pages on Facebook for these anyway), they just had a second account, with what Facebook deems as a fake name. Meanwhile there are plenty of people in the anime, gaming, and cosplay fandoms that don’t use their real names. I don’t know if you know this, but Mako-chan isn’t my real name. I know shocking right?
I think the big reason for all of this is Facebook screwed up. When trying to be the next big social media outlet, Facebook wanted to generate the fans that My Space had. So instead of keeping Facebook as a school only social media extension (do you remember when you HAD to sign up on Facebook with a school or company email address?) they opened it up to everyone. After that, games were allowed, just like the ones on My Space. So people started using Facebook like My Space. Now that Facebook has gone “public” in a more business sense, they’re trying to remake their image as a more professional outlet. You can’t back peddle like that and think everyone is going to be ok with it. And now because of the delete first and ask questions later policy, many pages that were probably part of Facebook since it went public are gone forever. Some people are creating fan pages, but struggling through to reload pictures and get everything back to the way they had their pages, and others are leaving all together and going to a different social media site.
So what’s next in the purge? They’re already cracking down on role play profiles and those for pets. Will the rest be safe as long as they aren’t reported, or will an incentive program be created to flush out all of the extra pages? Will they go through and ask everyone for a license, birth certificate, or credit card just to ensure that everyone using the site is a real person with a real name?
Now, what can you do if you want a cosplay Facebook without the problems of having it deleted? First step is to not create a brand new Facebook account. Using your own personal account go to https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php and you will be walked through the creation process. There are six main sections to choose what you want your page to be based on, business, artist/musician/public figure, entertainment and so on. Under Artist, Band, or Public figure, the subcategories give a wider range of concepts such as chef, artist, public figure or even fictional character. Once you pick your options, everything is just as if you were setting up your own personal page. The only thing you can’t do is post comments on someone else’s page or profile from your new page, but at least you’re saved from the next purge of accounts.
If you have a page that hasn’t been deleted, do something as simple as start up a game on Facebook with it. Better yet, change your name on there to something more recognizable as a name. Don’t forget to use it too. More activity could show that it’s not just a page sitting there to look pretty. And finally don’t call attention to yourself and your second profile at this time. Lay low on posting to multiple accounts; especially if they’re cosplay or role play centric. They could be looking at those groups specifically to find their next batch of purge accounts.
Good luck and I wish you all the best in keeping your pages alive!