Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

The Day Facebook Banned Me for 24 Hours

It happened to me.

“Your account is temporarily unavailable due to site maintenance. It should be available within a few hours.”

The “suspension” started early in the morning, and didn’t go back to normal until morning the next day. I wouldn’t consider myself Facebook-crazy, but I had something to do, and I was upset about the denial of service. Yes, I checked it was just my account (and perhaps others whom I don’t know about), not some major outage that affected the entire Facebook populace.

That’s how important Facebook has become. But I guess we all know that already. (And I’m sure Google can’t be very happy that netizens spend more time on Facebook than they do on Google services.)

That’s also how the Internet has become. I remember one of Sun’s slogans: The network is the computer. Now, I suspect John Gage, who is credited for coming up with that phrase, probably wasn’t thinking so much about the Internet. But hey, is is more correct than ever today. The Internet is the network.

Living on the network is one of those things I’ve had some reluctance to adapt to. I’m fine with using the network. But to store my “everything” in the cloud, that’s a different ball game altogether. That’s the reason while everyone’s very happy with Hotmail, Gmail, and whatever other online email service that has sprouted all over the Internet the last decade… I still prefer to run my own IMAP server. I want to own my data, and have control over my data. Physically.

I use Gmail too. But it’s more like an INBOX to receive email… everything that needs filing… well, those go into my own IMAP server. Funny enough, if you talk about reliability, I suspect Gmail could have better backup strategy, availability, etc… than I can afford to, or be bothered to build. Perhaps I feel better that the “destiny” of the mail archive lies with me… not some virtual cloud.

But the social web today promises to upset all that. The Internet, or the Web, is becoming the fabric of society. While I can still run my own IMAP server, it doesn’t make sense to run my own Facebook.

That’s how more things are going to be headed: Everything’s on the cloud. I wonder if something will ever be done to satisfy the individual’s need to own and protect their own data. Or, at least to retain some sort of archive. You know, like, how can I backup my Facebook account?

So, back to my Facebook account problem. My account wasn’t banned. It had become unavailable due to site maintenance. It seems insanely long in this Internet-age for a site maintenance to last 24 hours. I hope Facebook learns a thing or two from Google. I never had my Google account unavailable for that long. (*touch wood*)

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