Can Pressing the “Like” Button Too Many Times Get You in Trouble with Facebook?

    June 13, 2011
    Chris Crum

It would seem that you can “like” too many things for Facebook’s own liking. If a report and a claim from a mildly popular musician are accurate, then Facebook may revoke your “liking” privileges, and possibly even your account for doing too much “liking”.

Business Insider points to a post from Mike Doughty from the band Soul Coughing, who claims he was reprimanded for “liking” too many birthday wishes from his friends.
Here’s what Doughty wrote on his Tumblr:

Block! You are engaging in behavior that may be considered annoying or abusive by other users.

You have been blocked from using the like feature because you repeatedly misused this feature. This block will last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. When you are allowed to reuse this feature, please proceed with caution. Further misuse may result in your account being permanently disabled.

What Facebook told me after I clicked ‘Like’ on a whole bunch of friends’ birthday greetings to me.

Here’s what Facebook says in its terms of service, under the heading “protecting other people’s rights”:

We respect other people’s rights, and expect you to do the same.
1. You will not post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law.
2. We can remove any content or information you post on Facebook if we believe that it violates this Statement.
3. We will provide you with tools to help you protect your intellectual property rights. To learn more, visit our How to Report Claims of Intellectual Property Infringement page.
4. If we remove your content for infringing someone else’s copyright, and you believe we removed it by mistake, we will provide you with an opportunity to appeal.
5. If you repeatedly infringe other people’s intellectual property rights, we will disable your account when appropriate.
6. You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Wall and 32665), or any confusingly similar marks, without our written permission.
7. If you collect information from users, you will: obtain their consent, make it clear you (and not Facebook) are the one collecting their information, and post a privacy policy explaining what information you collect and how you will use it.
8. You will not post anyone’s identification documents or sensitive financial information on Facebook.
9. You will not tag users or send email invitations to non-users without their consent.

Unless I’m missing something, this would seem to be the most relevant section of the ToS to the message posted by Doughty, and I can’t see where the action of excessive “liking” could be infringing upon anyones rights. In fact, it shouldn’t even be that annoying to users, given that Facebook’s news feed algorithm handles how much content is viewed by his friends. And that’s another thing. Friends. Are his “friends” really that annoyed that he’s liking birthday wishes? If so, what kind of friends are they?

I can’t help but be reminded of the David Fagin $1 suit against Facebook after the site blocked him from sending friend requests, because he as sending out too many. It’s interesting that friends and the like button are basically the backbone of what Facebook has to offer, but if you use them too much, you risk having access revoked.

Watch our interview with Fagin here:

I will say this: if Facebook is going to start banning users from features for being annoying on a mass scale, they’re really going yo have their work cut for them. I do have to give the company credit for making a huge move in annoyance reduction last fall when they launched features to control game updates in the news feed.

We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment, but have yet to hear back.