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Facebook hates roleplayers

no roleplaying allowed on facebook

In a recent article I explained how you can use Facebook for roleplaying. You can create a new profile for your character and post to your own wall and other people’s walls as your character, speaking as if you are the character updating their own Facebook account.

But roleplaying is something that Facebook doesn’t like.

Vice-Admiral KirkI just personally feel that Facebook doesn’t like our Hobby shall we say. It is a means of escaping real life pressures but facebook won’t allow us to do that.

Vice Admiral James T Kirk on Facebook

Facebook might delete you

That’s right, if you don’t use Facebook the way they intend for you to use it, your account might be deleted. If that happens, there’s no way to get it back. All you messages are deleted, all your wall posts deleted, all your friend connections, all your photos, all your Farmville scores are all deleted.

I’ve seen it happen. I’ve experimented recently with having a separate roleplaying account for Facebook and made some connections with other roleplayers. At least once a week I heard that someone’s account had been deleted, and they’d had to create a new account.

Michael Knight on Facebookmy main RP account was deleted a few weeks back and i had to create a new one. I have had a few friends that have been deleted aswell.

I have no idea why they deleted me… although i do have a suspicion about why. A Girl a few weeks back was removed from our group for roleplaying something that was against the rules… we removed her from our group and she got upset and reported a load of us… my account got disabled.
FltAdm Michael Knight

If you do get deleted, see our article about what to do when Facebook deletes your profile.

Facebook only allows one profile per person

In Facebooks terms and conditions they state that each person should only have one Facebook profile. In section 4 of their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities they state “You will not create more than one personal profile.”

You will not create more than one personal profile

Reading their terms and conditions actually makes me quite nervous because I had no idea how strict they were.

You’re not using Facebook how they intended

Facebook was intended for people to interact wit their friends and the concept of roleplaying probably never occurred to them. People who roleplay think differently, and the first thing we’ll think when we discover a new web application is “can we roleplay with it?”.

People who do use Facebook are left scratching their heads as to why they’re not allowed to use it this way. A roleplayer playing Captain Janeway from Voyager says this:

Katherine Janeway on FacebookApparently from what I’ve been told Facebook just generally don’t like roleplayers, why? Your guess is honestly as good as mine, when I think hard about it, the only thing I can come up with is that with people hiding behind pictures of the people that they are roleplaying as, many could use this to their advantage and it could be used in some cases as of one being rather gullible and gaining the trust of a character someone could use that as a way of some form of sexual act weather it be rape, paedophilia, stalking, I don’t know you name it but that’s the only thing that I can actually come up with, to a degree I understand that but there are some on here such as myself that are loving and caring and share a lot in common with their character. If it isn’t what I’ve said here then I really don’t have a clue.
Captain-Kathryn Elizabeth Janeway on Facebook

Facebook want to advertise to you

Facebook has adverts down the right hand side of site, these are adverts that are extremely customisable and the adverts you see might not be the same as your friends see. The adverts are quite clever and you’ll only be shown ones that Facebook think you’re interested in, this depends on the type of things you’ve mentioned in your profile, and the fan pages you’ve “liked”.

For example if you’ve stated that you like Star Trek, you’ll probably be shown adverts for Trek memorabilia, and if you’ve said that you’re in the United Kingdom you might get shown adverts for Star Trek conventions local to you.

If everyone has two (or more) Facebook accounts, one as their real profile, and another for their character, the likes and interests of the character might not be what you’re interested in so the adverts they show might be totally irrelevant. Facebook doesn’t like this, and neither does the companies who are paying for the adverts. Also Facebook are very cleverly building up a very detailed profile of you as you spend more time using their site, which they will use to show adverts which suit your taste. If you’re not using Facebook the way they want you to, they don’t like it.

Don’t get reported

It’s possible on Facebook for anyone to block your profile and report it as spam or offensive. Clicking “Report/Block this person” on a member’s profile brings up many options of why you might want to report this profile.

reporting a profile on facebook

One of these options is to report the profile as fake, which alerts it to Facebook to investigate. This is obviously intended to protect against identity theft or paedophiles pretending to be young children, but Facebook staff won’t take too kindly to hundreds of people all pretending to be “James T Kirk” each with identical profile pictures.

One of the roleplayers I heard about being deleted was Fleet Admiral Michael Knight, roleplaying as a Star Trek character.

Michael Knight on Facebookmy main RP account was deleted a few weeks back and i had to create a new one. I have had a few friends that have been deleted aswell.

I have no idea why they deleted me… although i do have a suspicion about why. A Girl a few weeks back was removed from our group for roleplaying something that was against the rules… we removed her from our group and she got upset and reported a load of us… my account got disabled.
FltAdm Michael Knight

Other limitations of Facebook for roleplayers

Because Facebook was not created for roleplayers in mind, there are a few pieces of functionality that Facebook have either left out, or deliberately limited so that roleplayers can’t make use of them. An example of this is Facebook’s ability to allow you to change your name, which is useful if you’ve just got married and changed your name. But Facebook set a limit on the amount of times you can do this, as Vice Admiral James T Kirk Explains:

You can onloy change your name a set number of times, and if you get promoted…and you have already reached that limit you cant update your name, which is personally disgusting

Vice Admiral James T Kirk on Facebook

If this feature wasn’t so limited it would allow roleplayers who are playing a character with a rank to use the rank in their name, but limiting the option only gives you one time to change your name.

Facebook should allow roleplayers

Facebook’s terms and conditions are quite specific, but unrealistically strict. As long as the profiles for roleplay characters are clearly labelled so there’s no confusion, I can’t see what the problem is and why Facebook doesn’t let roleplayers continue what they’re doing.

Janice Rand on facebookThey probably don’t allow Role players because they class the profiles as fake. Even though in our information boxes we clearly state that we are Role Players.
Yeoman Janice Rand on Facebook

There are many benefits, and this is clear by the number of people who use Facebook for roleplaying.

Janice Rand on facebookThey should allow us to be here because it’s free advertising for the franchise we role play out. It gives us a way to mingle with new people without having to give out our addresses or real names. It allows us to find people who enjoy the same things as us. It’s helped me find new friends and weirdly enough – gain confidence. It allows me to reenact a situation in a different way, or look at things through another womans eyes. lets me build relationships with people you could never meet, and even sparks our imagination with fantasy when we mix with the Harry Potter RPers and the Doctor Who Rpers. I think it’s an amazing experience and Facebook should allow us to carry on.
Yeoman Janice Rand on Facebook

Many people roleplay perfectly happily on Facebook without being removed, so as long as you don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself you might just avoid it. But if you do find yourself deleted from Facebook you can easily create a new profile or create a game on OngoingWorlds, where we love roleplayers and won’t delete you!

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  • Pierre Raat

    Oi. Can’t believe how many fake facebook profiles are on the site. Thousands and thousands, probably millions and millions, many created for a lark and abandoned. But many others by people looking to have some fun and be creative. facebook hunts them down and disables the accounts routinely. Can’t wait for the facebook-killer site that shuts Zuckerberg down.

  • Alexander craib

    I think theres been a Decrease Recently, I have talked to Mark and nothings happened to Roleplayers Recently

  • Pingback: How I have been using Facebook to advertise Ongoing Worlds « Ongoing Worlds' Blog()

  • Ellie Bryan

    I role play the Tudor era of British history on FaceBook. We fell foul of one of the other groups that role plays “The Tudors” (the TV show), and they reported all of us. Seven members of our group lost their accounts, and in some cases there was over a years’ worth of work lost. Only yesterday, I had my main RP account shut down.It is likely that my role play group will either break up, or most of us will relocate to LiveJournal. Its’ such a pity. All we’re doing is trying to be creative with history and use FB as a platform for self-expression.

  • stefania

    STUPID FACEBOOOOOK YOU CLOSED MY ACCOUNT WENDY TESTABURGER
    I WAS HAPPY! I WAS HAVE 900 FRIENDS AND 600 PHOTOS !! BASTARD!
    THE ROL PLAYS IS SUPER!!!
    -GRABS A GUN AND GO FACEBOOK COMPANY- HASTA LA VISTA BABY!!! -KILLS ALL THE PEOPLE ON FACEBOOK COMPANY-

    • If you hate Facebook so much, you could create a new game on OngoingWorlds instead!

    • Eh, stop! -knocks the gun out of your hands-
      Let’s take Facebook over instead of killing. Make it… RP only. -laughs demonically-
      We can turn Facebook officials in to our mindless zombies! @.@
      -does a mad voodoo dance across the room-
      …Yeah, I wish that would work. -sighs- ( ._.)

    • Eh, stop! -knocks the gun out of your hands-
      Let’s take Facebook over instead of killing. Make it… RP only. -laughs demonically-
      We can turn Facebook officials in to our mindless zombies! @.@
      -does a mad voodoo dance across the room-
      …Yeah, I wish that would work. -sighs- ( ._.)

  • Fleet Captain Nathan Stesney

    Personally I found this appalling. While I have not been active in any of my characters in some time, RP was something that was unlike anything else for me. It allowed me to explore the depth of my creative writing, even helped in the creation of my novel. To find such hate directed at my fellow Rpers… well it’s truly saddening.
    I have heard from many of my former RP friends that sitemodel is a safe haven for rpers. I may just give OngoingWorlds a gander.

    • Hi Nathan, thanks for your comment! Yes it’s really frustrating that Facebook are doing this, although hardly surprising because it’s against their terms and conditions. There are many campaigns to raise awareness of this and to try to change Facebook’s minds about allowing roleplayers but I haven’t heard anything from the company themselves. I’ve heard regular complaints from people claiming their characters have been removed.

  • Clearly it’s not just roleplayers who are being deleted from Facebook, this Chinese journalist was deleted for using a false name:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/09/chinese-blogger-mark-zuckerberg-dog

  • Jaimee Kitzmiller

    It is not right for roleplayers to be deleted.
    It will give facebook more money and everything so the site doesn’t close down due to lack of people online.
    I have met some amazing people on here during my years of roleplaying and i have roleplayed for 3 years.
    I will lose all of the friends i have made on facebook and everything.
    IT IS NOT RIGHT
    Constitution says everyone has the freedom of speech and everything
    why is this any different.
    I want to be able to roleplay on facebook without having to worry about finding a new site and making new friends and everything.

  • Titanic77

    I had a roleplay Facebook as Hanna Marin, from Pretty Little Liars. I was deleted just today, and was way dissapointed. I don’t get it. I’ve had that account for months, and now it’s gone. I had nearly 1,600 friends, and was a regular at roleplay. It was a form of self-expression. I was able to take myself out of my own life, and forget my problems for awhile, and deal with a fake problem, that I could make up on my own, possibly helping me with my own issues. I was able to talk to people I would never have found without it, and it sparks creativity. You can write your own story, take a character, and make it your own. I wasn’t a faker, I wasn’t a poser. Everybody needs a place where they can forget their problems, I live in a town where about my only option to talk to people is via Facebook, I learned about different cultures, and talked to many people that lived all over the world. It was a great experience, and I learned alot. I don’t get why Facebook deletes roleplayers, now I’ve lost connections with many people I was only able to talk to through roleplay.

  • SquishyPies

    Yeah, this is really sad. For over a year I’d been using my RP account as my real, honest-to-goodness account. I had tons of friends. I was being Konngara from the Touhou Project. I had finally met a ton of others JUST like me- I even met my MIRROR image- Someone irritable but nice, a gamer at heart. An otaku. I woke up the morning it started, though. I looked at my friends list and was shocked at the jump from 250 friends to 51. I looked around and found my RP boyfriend was missing, my favorite RPer vanished, and my favorite Patchouli Knowledge was now gone. I wanted to cry. What if I was next?! A whole year’s worth of RP, down the drain. I had to change my name and everything. I’m beginning to wonder what happened to the free-spirited, fun-loving Facebook that was so bad that it had to be replaced with the boring and strict Facebook. I no longer go on Facebook every day and find a rainbow of neon colors calling me over to escape my troubles. I now find a blue and white pit of boredom and despair pulling me in to remind me who I am and what I can’t do.

    TL;DR if you asked me “UMAD” the answer would be yes. :I

  • joy_overloading

    I’m a member of the “Saw” roleplay community on FB and it irritates me to watch my friends being deleted time after time. We’re having fun and not hurting anyone so exactly what the fark is the bug in Facebook’s pants? I back up my profile info and friends list regularly so I can be back in five minutes if they delete me, but that’s not the point.

  • Marie

    I am a Facebook Roleplayer and have been deleted at least 11 times my account is a popular and would like to say to Mark..What is the point in deleting ppl “??? They make new accounts and start again ..I have made many friends out of doing this and will all re add me everytime ..Maybe you could spend your time deleting bullys or peodaphilles ..Just an idea ..You should just give us a chance let us be 🙂 It is just harmless fun ..and so you know i will never be stoped ..the only time i will stop is when i decide too …Maybe you could make a site just for RPers ?? called FaceBook/Roleplayers then we all win ..YOu made enough money from Facebook ..You could probably make more mohney from this ??

  • Megas Blaziken

    Personally, Facebook is now officially stupid. They never cease to understand that we’re all just having a harmless fun. If they want to delete a roleplayer so badly, delete the harmful ones. I never really liked Facebook in any sort of way and rarely come on since its nothing fun at all until I discover there is a actually roleplayers on Facebook and this is where I got more active and have some stress relieving fun. But most of these cases comes from idiotic trolls too that they reported your account for their own sheer pleasure. I hope they get what they deserve for deleting my Megas Blaziken account which has been a passion to me for 2 years now.

  • Ashleigh Ermine

    They steal site-models pictures and claim that it’s them. They pretend to be Jenn Curbstomp And Jenna Mason. Jenna can’t even get a job because of people using her pictures. I see roleplayers and fakes as the same. Reoleplayers are just weird about it. Why not be yourself? And stop using sitemodel pictures! I’m pretty sure it’s illegal one way or another.

  • olli78

    I’m a roleplayer, and I’ve had my account for about 9 months, if not longer. I have to have roleplay. I live in a terribly small town, and there’s really nothing I can do for fun. I leave my issues when I go on my roleplay account, I can just forget the world, and enter this fun world. I hope to be a writer someday, and roleplay is how a lot of ideas for in my head. I hate that ROLEPLAYERS are being deleted, the ones that admit their fake, and not the real person. Yet POSERS get to stay. The ones that say they’re the real celebrity/model. I don’t know why people look at them as the same, roleplayers are there for harmless fun, posers are there to trick people into thinking their talking to the real celebrity. It honestly pisses me off. I’m sick of it. And Facebook: If you delete my account, I’ll be back. That’s a promise. There’s no point deleting us.. Because we’ll come right back. I’ve lost 3 roleplay accounts, and I’m prepared to make as many more as I have to. Until there’s a better website, maybe even one just for roleplayers. Why not do that Facebook? We roleplayers have our place, where we can just roleplay. But then that honestly makes me feel like an animal. Like I have to be put in a certain spot, because I can’t be around other people.

  • R

    Instead of making a personal account meant to represent an actual person, why not just make a Page? For example, there’s /BrockObeezy who has over 129 thousand likes. We know the admins behind it are high school kids, but it’s a Page that can be ‘liked’ and not a personal profile that can be added as a friend. Know one will know who admins the Page unless you set it.

    • I think that’s a good idea, and have seen some people doing this. I know you can “use” facebook as the page, so you can comment on people’s walls in-character, but I think there might be some interactions that you don’t get, although I’m not sure what they are – people who RP using Facebook might be able to tell you some reasons why it’s not ideal, but to me it seems a good idea.

  • I run one of the main Amy Pond rp pages, and it hasn’t been touched. (Hope I didn’t just jinx myself, since a fellow trekkie ran into problems when they hit over a thousand fans. RIP, old Captain Picard account.) I would hate to lose all the fans I’ve accumulated! -_-

  • Facebook isn’t a good place to roleplay. If you wanna roleplay go on http://www.myspace.com

    • Really? I never imagined MySpace would be a good place for roleplayers. I don’t know anyone who uses MySpace anymore

  • Unknown~~

    I recently stared roleplaying this year, but it was only a month or two ago I made a Hetalia roleplay account. With this first account, I clearly stated I did not own Hetalia and that I was simply having fun. This account was an OC, so it did not use any particular character from the show.
    Then, I made another one. This account was for Liechtenstein, another character from Hetalia.
    A week within using it, it got deleted. To replace it, a made a Seychelles one. This one was deleted within 20 minutes. Thank God I still have my OC, I would go insane if I lost her.
    Recently a ton of accounts were deleted, leaving me with no way to contact my friends that helped me cope with so much. This is just WRONG.

  • John Doe

    Perhaps roleplayers should flock to Google plus…
    http://yro.slashdot.org/story/11/10/20/1845252/google-to-end-real-names-policy

  • The_Lady_Competitor

    I run three roleplay groups on facebook (although I’m currently on leave from them) they’re all Doctor Who roleplay groups (sort of) and they all interconnect, we have recently been “culled” by facebook, and several of our members have been deleted, facebook has also been deleting our sister groups, our main group “Children of Gallifrey” has actually had to stop all ongoing roleplay and limit it only to chat, it’s really quite sad…

  • facebook needs to ligten up and stop hating roleplayers

  • Nicepix~

    A friend of mine had his account deleted purposely when someone jacked all his info and reported him. He lost it all and they got away scott free, I mean they took everything from posts he’d written to all the custom weapons he’d designed. It was BAD. And they did nothing to the other guy. He had to make a new account and the plagiarist did it again but didn’t take his weapons which was the only thing he really cared about. It’s still not fair though. And because Facebook now has a cap on how many friend requests you can send and accept he can’t even add everyone back right away. :/ At least he showed them he won’t stay down. d ^__^ b

  • kingape1

    I made an rp acct to rp with my gf for the anime hetalia, her main acct got deleted again along with my main and very recently i cant access my newer main. Whats dumb is how facebook needs you to have a phone number, my gf used to use a prepaid but no longer does so her acct was linked to her prepaid, now she cant get on that acct without receiving the confirmation from the prepaid that she cant even see! seriously… facebook… what if someone doesn’t have a phone? i know it may sound silly in this day and age but some people don’t. before my acct was disabled i was reading that peoples friends list dropped from 2k to 1k and now i guess if they even suspect that ur acct is fake, they ask for you to confirm your acct with a phone number, so unless you have multiple phones at ur disposal you can only do this once… so you have a choice, your rl acct or just ONE rp acct…

    • Are you sure Facebook needs a phone number? I don’t think I’ve ever needed to add a number. Especially not on my roleplay account.

  • Katherine

    Facebook has now gone on the deletion rampage. Me among alot of other friends have been deleted. And about 5 mins after I made a new account I got deleted, yesterday and today they have been deleting alot of people. I have lost alot of my friends so thank you facebook. And honestly, we are learning new cultures, improving our writing skills and haveing a bit of fun. So why do this facebook, your not helping. And facebook seems to think this will go unnoticed but apperently they dont know roleplayers. We will spred the news and will do everything in our power till it is stoped, cause that is just how roleplayers are.

  • Kitty

    Nearly all of my accounts I have to use a phone to confirm it with, it’s ridiculous I mean we as roleplayers are doing what Facebook is there for we are connecting with people and talking to them. This is stupid as you have to possibly ask some of your roleplay friends to help you with the phone confirm I don’t see why they can’t use email or photos to confirm like before. As they are singling us out from others.

    • Technically it’s against their terms and conditions and they’re being strict on it. They want to collect information about real people, so they can advertise to us. But people playing characters confuses them.
      I’d stay give up on Facebook and use somewhere else to roleplay, join a game on OngoingWorlds.com, or find a game using pbem2.com

  • Kitty

    There are other ways to collect information like the good old way of questionnaires and surveys.

  • Hades Baasch Saiyajin

    I am Hades, ruler of the darkside and mighty immortal saiyan of long lost times *stands up, with a air of mightyness and wisdom, looking dashingly handsome, with earphones in ears listining to eminem* i am looking for a site that is as cheap and easy to use as fb ( because fb has deleted me, again ) where i can be myself ( which is a huge asshole ) and not have to see my friends fanish and worry bout myself. Is this possible?

    ( i rock )

  • Sparklene Elizabeth Lectric’the-second

    I’ve been roleplaying on Facebook for four years. Last month, I was almost deleted.

  • They’re not fake! To me, my RP account is a more real part of my life than my RL account. I’ve heard of people getting shut down. If this ever happens to me, I will go balistic. I will NOT allow RP to be taken away from me or my friends. It’s a way to escape the stress of RL.

  • I have roleplayed for what is it 3 years now. I have got my favorite accounts deleted before. And I didn’t attract any attention. So I don’t know why it did that. I have this new account of the same one because it makes me enter a phone number. WHAT ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHO DONT HAVE PHONES! I think that we should be able to carry on because there is nothing wrong with what we are doing. I have accounts were they made me feel more confedent in myself. I am more out there then before. I know how to solve problem easier now that I have the ability to say ive gone through that before.-

  • This is why a Facebook friend and I are starting what we hope will be the single biggest pro-roleplay petition Facebook has ever seen. Join it, and let’s hope we can make a difference!
    https://www.facebook.com/OperationFreeToRp

    • There have been petitions before. I think actually instead of creating another new one we should all collaborate together on an existing one

  • Kurale

    I have been a Roleplayer for about a year now, and i Used that to get away from stress at school and in life, RP made me happy when i was depressed, and then facebook deleted ALL of my accounts, i had four to my name plus a RL account, all i have is the RL account now, and it is really bad, I don’t want to lose any of those friends that i got and the fun that i had. and why should they even ask for your phone number? 1 some people don’t have a cell, and 2, that information should stay private! Facebook doesn’t need vital information.

  • Aria

    I’ve been on roleplay for over a year. &my account was deleted. So, i made a new one. But, facebook deleted that one too. RP was my escape from all the bad things in RL. The people on there understood me. And they didn’t judge me. They should allow people to have roleplay because it’s just like dating sites. You meet new people. And it’s millions of new people on facebook, so mark should be happy. And now i hear that he is deleting all RP’s by tonight. Good luck with that. Their never going to fully go away. I love RP & i never want to lose ANY of the friends i’ve made on there.

  • J

    My RP accounts don’t get deleted, because you put a phone number in – the one you would never use. Also make sure the name looks real so it will be accepted. When using a rank don’t use the proper English spelling, alter it by using a special letter eg á, é , œ.