No, There Is No Facebook Jail, But There Is Some Truth Behind the Hoax

    February 18, 2013
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

Don’t worry, there is no Facebook Jail – although the concept is intriguing. An old viral hoax involving account suspensions and friend requests has morphed to suggest that sending too many requests could land you in this hellish place.

The hoax suggests that Facebook is banning people from the site willy-nilly, for simply sending out too many friend requests. “Nice people are getting banned by Facebook, and it could happen to you!” warns the hoax status.

Although the hoax is wrong and misleading, there’s a tiny shred of truth in it (unlike some hoaxes). First, here’s what you may see floating around your news feed:

Or, you may see the viral message in this format:

VERY IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ: Nice people are getting banned from facebook and it could happen to you, too – the reason is because when you get a friend request, if you click the “not now” button, you will automatically recieve a request from Facebook saying, “Do you know this person?” if you click no, that person will automatically be suspended from group chats, blocked from sending friend requests, and other nasty things for 7-30 days, and if it happens enough – permanently. So please.. if you get an unwanted friend request, just ignore it. If you accidentally click the “not now” button, then ignore the request from facebook asking if you know them – do not respond to it. Please pass this around so we can protect our friends (and ourselves!).

A permanent ban from Facebook, thus “Facebook Jail.”

First and foremost, Facebook does not permanently ban accounts simply because too many people have rejected their friend requests. But, Facebook does block users from sending additional friend requests in this situation:

“If your account is temporarily blocked from sending friend requests, it’s because friend requests you’ve sent have gone unanswered or been marked as unwelcome. From now on, please don’t send friend requests to people you don’t know personally. Facebook is a place for connecting with friends, family, classmates, coworkers and other people you know well,” says Facebook in its Help Center.

Even then, users can still utilize every other aspect of Facebook.

“Your account is only blocked from sending friend requests and messages to people you don’t know. This block is temporary, and you can still use other Facebook features during it.”

Facebook does reserve the right to remove your account at its discretion, if you break the terms of service. These terms include a ban on “abusive” behavior, as well as habitually breaking Facebook law. So, technically, your account could be suspended for spamming friend requests, over and over again.

But it’s unlikely that this is happening to “nice people” out there who are just trying to make new friends. And there definitely is no Facebook Jail.

[Hoax-Slayer via AllFacebook]

  • http://www.baltimorenewsjournal.com Baltimore News Journal

    It’s really amazing how many of these viral hoaxes get spread around on Facebook. Ironically, this one is about Facebook itself. Too funny.

  • Rachel

    This “hoax” has more than a little truth to it. FB does NOT want people to make friends and connections to people they do not already know. If a user tries to friend someone with a similar interest that they have not physically met, they CAN and DO suspend friend requests. No spamming is necessary to get suspended, one or two rejected requests can do it. Ignore Friend Requests you do not want, otherwise you are blackballing someone for NO GOOD REASON!

  • http://www.bradleyanderson.me Bradley

    “Your account is only blocked from sending friend requests and messages to people you don’t know. This block is temporary, and you can still use other Facebook features during it.”

    That’s dead wrong. I am not able to send friend requests. I am not able to Like anything. I am not able to respond to posts (including my own). I am not allowed to join groups. I am not allowed to use apps.

    I can: a) post an update (but not respond to anyone who responds to me, and b) Share other people’s posts.

    That’s it. It is not a ‘hoax’. True, it is not actually a jail, but this has been my REALITY for the last 33 days (notice that’s ABOVE 30 days).

    And yes, this IS because I sent requests to people I didn’t know. All at once, though, not at different times, when I first set up the account several months ago.

    Even after deleting all my outstanding friend requests, and not signing in for over a week, I still got this ban (IMMEDIATELY following a 2 week ban where I wasn’t allowed to do anything, so how did I do something ELSE to get banned again?)

    This is NOT a hoax. “Facebook Jail” is a term used to describe being banned from using Facebook features, not being banned from using Facebook altogether.

    • Ronda

      I, too, have been in FB “jail” for over 30 days now, and still have no clue as to what happened to land me there. I only sent out two FRs, both of which were accepted, in the past month; but over the past year have maybe sent about ten requests that were accepted – for games. How that can be considered too many friend requests is beyond me. Other things that have been suggested on help pages include the possibility that one of my posts could have been reported as spam. Huh? Is it that easy? Incredible.

      I’ve asked FB to fill me in as to why or how I came to be in this situation (they haven’t) and I’ve even severely limited my FB activity to a status update maybe every 4-5 days (previously I updated a lot, and never an issue) and since I’m unable to like anything or respond to conversations under posts I’ve been living over on G+, where they are less likely to throw you into the cooler without at least letting you know why.

      Automated system or not, Facebook staff are intelligent enough to add in a few lines of code that can at least inform you as to why you’re in FB jail, and what you can do to avoid it in the future as well as what you can do now to renovate your page so that it’s acceptable to standards (if that’s the case) or to clean up the friend request list (as you have stated in your post).

      It’s ridiculous, this automated system that they cannot override. Not only is it annoying for regular users, it’s also extremely limiting for businesses that have pages and for those causes that don’t seem to be very popular with the FB folk.

      More than a month is a little too severe for an unknown infraction, don’t you think?

  • Brian

    I think this is ludicrous, and a site such as FB should be to expand your networks. I feel people should only be banned for things that are clearly illegal, such as soliciting underage people for sex, or for excessive profanity and posts promotion personal attack. Other than that it deserves to be an open forum. I believe that’s the way it was when it first started.

  • Cory

    hmm, doubt it. Ever played a facebook game? Y’know, the ones that require you to have x friends to progress (every. single. one.). Real life friends dont pester each other (ususally) with these insane daily interruptions – every game has an add-me site to get your game friends from. You don’t know any of these freinds. If facebook didn’t want to “create” the frinedships, they wouldn’t allow these types of games. But they make big bucks from it; so they ~say~ they don’t want to do so while taking the money from your wallet by doing so.

  • Jan

    Just got blocked for 3rd time!!! Yet my roommate has tons of “friends” he does NOT Know !!!!

    They seem to single out certain people that they just don’t
    Want to have very many friends!

    I’m sick + FED-UP!!

    This time I’ve been completely shut out !!! So when I put in my password I changed it + Told them what they could do with themselves !!!! And deleted FB OFF my phone. And will be deleting them off of everything else as we’ll. I,m. DONE !!!!!

  • robert rabinowitz

    There should be no limits of people making friends whether know them or not. Because if allow it happen maybe more people would be willing to accept each other without hate or bias. plus it is a good way to brosden ones horizons by meeting new people.

  • William

    I strongly agreed to Mr.Bradley. I had that bad experiences! I was banned to send request etc exactly as per Mr.Bradley but after 14 days, I received another warning to continue to blocked me for 30 days!

    I was like WTF! I cannot do anything during that 14 days! How the hell they make the decision to extend it for another 30 days?

    Facebook is another dictator in social media. They use their high influence power to control the netizen. They are worst than China Gov. They even allow so many spam ads in my notification or news feed!

    They also never remove racist comment! I had reported many times obvious racist comment but their admin will remain silent by saying no fraud found! F them!

  • C.Hames

    As a mother of teens I am finding getting people banned is just another way others can bully on the internet .Finding its happening over an over upset someone getting more likes than u , easy fix just get them banned . Mum from Australia . Trying to get several teens unbanned … but not getting anywhere.

    • http://www.gilluly.biz Dilan Gilluly

      To be banned you have to violate the terms and conditions of Facebook. And getting likes or sending requests does not violate them. To be banned you have to post content that’s a borderline violation, or a blatant violation. I’ve been banned over comments that are borderline and within 2 days of appeal I was unbanned.

      • Bubbie

        BULL read my comment above!!!!

  • Melissa T is Upset.

    … My opinion here….I think this Jail crap is just plain ole cruddy brownish green crappy LAME….. regardless, as some one who meet’s new people daily and also uses my Page for business interactions, so yes..
    I’m going to send you a Friend Request, as many have done and do for some time now… Just like when you meet a new person by simply speaking to them in a store, street, park or over drink’s.. You have to make the first move in communicating by message, or friend request,which 9 out of 10 times Facebooker’s will often accept, rather than read/reply to a msg.. I even do it..
    I truly believe revoking someone’s “privileges” on FB when sending other’s “too many” Friend request, or that person you had met said FB them and ignorantly decided to hit the incorrect button “not now”, or for me.. I do Business and use other Performer’s referrals to hire my Show Entertainer’s, as MOST use,as I do on Facebook networking, rather than most having and paying for personal web sites for being noticed,hired ect… I have my web site, personal page and also Business FB pages, so easier for me to get in contact in various way’s….
    And so even I could be placed in Facebook Jail (aka banned) for sending too many request’s … More so in my past, right before my Fundraiser Benefit’s, which I meet MANY Business people here and there….( or for personal.. from networking) and to maybe lose those MY Many great connection’s, for my Charity events.. Wow… Along with my Family, which I have a HUGE Family btw.. and Married with four children.. Don’t care for threats either from this Bull donkey..
    I even get Men hitting on me, why I use my Business Logo , as my profile picture instead, even though I have “Married”.. SO….Like NORMAL ppl… I just simply ignore their request.. I’m 36 and not happy about this situation among others on FB over the last few year’s..
    I don’t go overboard by being bitchy… ruing another life by tattling to FB that I don’t know this person/ppl.. Seriously now.. come on… LAME…
    Honestly.. over lame privacy issues, which then I would end up losing a HUGE chunk….which would 100% effect my Company, along with my Non-Profit, as well…..Lame… Many people offer pictures and more info on FB,then their website, so utilize that.. thinking they ( FB) are making more strict guidelines here soon.. SO… eventually FB can charge us to use their FB site, without “rules”being applied.. Not a free service, as originally intend, as many don’t like having these rules being applied to them, so would pay to avoid those restrictions. Hell.. I’d do that eventually for my Business,…. going strong.. why not..great idea! Ummm No.. Greedy.
    OK…. I recently hired a DJ and I had a combined message for all Performer’s to speak together, before one of my upcoming Show benefit’s…. The DJ couldn’t read, until THEY all requested him. I never heard such ignorance.. Truly.. Horrible…. Just refuse the request, don’t place someone in jeopardy ,cause you forgot the person who recently spoke to first names..Yes.. have had that one happen, or my Logo is my profile picture and they clicked “Not Now”, so I just received my First message about sending too many requests, when actually I have NOT Sent ANY in month’s actually….I Needn’t.. as I was resetting my password when I received that message,too and it asked me to click on stopping friend requests sent out.. And truly I DO NOT Like being forced to use service by having to choose aka FORCED to make an option.. New Phone info.. or New email info.. feels like the only privacy issues I’m seeing here are that FB is asking too MUCH Personal info at times, which in order to use their site now.. have too many rules, regulations and info being requested to proceed. Yet, my choice to stay,cause I enjoy FB, although don’t enjoy certain thing’s currently.
    Think certain FB privileges are WAY over the top here recently though… Negative way’s…and FB should truly focus on MORE Important thing’s to discontinue, or assist with for the Better…… Than these friend Request’s tattle tales,which we don’t see also if the person does not accept..So, never know how true, if others are mass friending ppl.. why should FB care, right?! whoopy dooooh dah…
    Heres one FB…Like stop changing the timeline every other month firstly.. Why?! Seriously.. why waste that time to do so.. really?! like the first 100 times in the last several years wasn’t enough and we were happy, then BAM.. Another “update change”..Oh.. Try focusing on stopping the bullying and sexual content/ harassment’s from others posting,cause I have seen some nasty crap on FB and I’m very open minded.. And stop making un-Necessary changes…not broke.. don’t fix it.. Geeesh!
    Hey now… Bottom Line!
    …..If you don’t want other’s requesting you, then choose to keep your privacy setting’s more secure,cause you just want to speak only to several close family, or friends out there,…or, perhaps just not make it visible at all, OR…. Just refuse, as normal people in the public would actually do.. and be kind.. don’t ruin someone life… cause you “forgot” whom they are.. or what ever excuse you choose to make… Then you place others in that “FB jail”.. Just click Not Now,or ignore.. take it as flattery someone requested you. I’d be pissed off if I found out someone I do/have known accidentally placed me in FB Jail,cause the quickly didn’t look & by clicking the wrong thing and I can’t use for 7-30 days.. which honestly.. Oh my.. Now HOW ever did us Facebooker’s Manage all these years BEFORE this.. Hmmmmm? Yes…., Ahhhhhh… exactly. Lame.. Ok.. we need a New Social Media Site. ;o)

  • Alex

    This article is all based on disinformation and posted by someone who is highly uneducated and uninformed.

    Many I know and myself included have had their rights restricted such as 7 day ban on making new friends, messaging etc, and others have been penalized for answering algorithm surveys.

    So saying that is it a hoax is 100% wrong and is irresponsible and only going to lead people into more problems if they take this article seriously. This article is all based on very poor research, misguided assumptions and not based on actual facts and experiences.

    • Alice Harding

      The internet is FULL of disinformation. Anyone can hide behide an ID and say just about anything true or not, and no one knows who their friends are or who is paying them!

  • Alice Harding

    Fine, but that is not actually true. If you Google it’s easy to see that many people are blocked from posting for the most ridiculous of reasons. They are told that the block is for so many days but the account is not restored for a long time and often not at all. Facebook does not care who is right or wrong, it just makes these decisions willy nilly and ignores requests for reviews. How do you know this is true? It happened to me, that’s how!

  • Facebook Exile

    I was permanently banned from Facebook because I downloaded some pictures from a movies page and then posted them on my wall, instead of simply using the Share Function, which was available to use. Basically I was stupid, but because it was a big corporation (Marvel) and they filed a DCMA notice with Facebook, my account was summarily removed and I was banned FOR LIFE.

    This happened over just ONE WEEKEND and I posted only 2 pictures, but Marvel put a separate DCMA for each picture and that was it.

    I am not an habitual copyright infringer; this was a one off thing and my account was taken away and I can never go back.

    That was 2 years ago and I have managed quite happily without FB ever since.

  • Bubbie

    You call it a hoax…do you work for Facebook? I received a permanent ban to my professional business link because when someone approached me in a chat and ask if i was gay and I VERY POLITELY said “No Sorry” he clicked on my business link and reported it as harmful and Facebook immediately banned my link NO QUESTIONS ASKED!!!! Provide me with a link to your business and just let me show you how much of a hoax it is!!!!