August 31, 2007

El's story

Bill Thompson is one of my favorite columnists and he said in a recent recap article celebrating his 5th year as the technical columnist for the BBC that "I care about the ways we manage our online lives, and how we get the balance right between social rules and government regulation, because I don't believe that we can or should leave the rule making to Microsoft, Google or Facebook and that democratic governments are the least worst way of running both the network and society in general."

"Facebook Theodore", or "Big Brother", were the two choices I thought as a title for this post when I started writing it. Then the working title was for sometime "1984 is there" I ended up deciding for a different title.

Facebook is a great social networking facility even if it becomes fast slightly boring and closed on a factual circle of friends. Unless one chooses to be open to all possibilities and letting other people in the "private parts" of their personalities. In order to be able to "free" itself from those social rules, a friend of mine was hiding behind an obvious false identity. It called itself "El Mekharbecha" and mascaraded as an old and wise cat, born in 1932. "Mekharbesh" means in Cairene slang "street wise".

El Mekharbecha was a lovely character that I unfortunately never befriended on Facebook.

El joined groups and causes such as "do not declaw" out of personal interest I suppose, and because of these causes, I suspect El Mekharbecha to have been on the Green side of the political spectrum, this did not prevent it of being Iraqi. Was this a political statement? and ultimately the reason why it was kicked out? Maybe .

Being "Street wise" and slightly bored, El eventually joined slightly racy groups such as most beautiful legs and most beautiful boobs, and posted some pictures on the legs group. For some reason This started a process that finally bloomed into it being kicked out.

Facebook Warning‎
From: Facebook (

Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 8:22:26 PM


You uploaded a photo that violates our Terms of Use, and this
photo has been removed. Among other things, photos
containing nudity, drug use, or other obscene content are not
allowed, nor are photos that attack an individual or group.
Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in your
account being disabled.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact us at from your login email address.

The Facebook Team

El was slightly upset, specially that it encountered many strange and obnoxious people in some "Facebook" back streets . After the 4th such warning, it purred while moving its tail this sarcastic answer.

[ - Wed Aug 08 15:36:52 2007]:

Hello, I received 4 of those

It seems I put a lot of borderline pictures ... so could you please
tell me where exactly is the limit and upon which criteria do you
decide so that I can follow the rules as I definitely do not want to
get kicked from Facebook
you are a great team and you are doing quite a nice thing here,
however I do not think I've posted anything that was too ose.

El Mekharbesha

PS do you take into consideration the quality of the picture?

For example it could be nice i you could send the violators ...
the picture that was deleted and explain where does it break the
rules, it could make it easier or the rest of us to find out where
does big brother interfere.

Thanks though for everything and please do send me a link
where the policy is stated in details.

El was quite fast automatically answered #5936223] AutoReply: I received 4 warnings and 4 pictuires have been erased I was just wondering why‏
From: Appeals from Facebook (
Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 10:36:53 PM


Action has been taken on your account, and Facebook Customer Support has received your inquiry. We will review your situation and get back to you as soon as possible.

Thanks for contacting Facebook.

-Facebook Customer Support

A couple of days later El was thrown out of Facebook while on line doing something or another. Checking out its mail, it discovered the following:

[ #5936223] I received 4 warnings and 4 pictuires have been erased I was just wondering why‏
From: Theodore from Facebook (
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2007 11:45:14 PM


Fake accounts are a violation of our Terms of Use. Facebook
requires users to provide their real names. Impersonating
anyone or anything is prohibited. We will not be able to
reactivate this account for any reason. This decision is final.

Thanks for your understanding,

Customer Support Representative
Together with El, we discussed its being kicked out and it is from the opinion that what proved to be its undoing was its obvious disrespect for such local minor deities as Youssef Bek Wahbi, Adel Imam and Omar Al Sharif. El had voiced an opinion in a fan group it had created that the best ever performances of these three had come under the directing eye of Fateen Abdel Wahab. It also underlined the fact of the near total lack of information about this Director that it considered to be one of the great Egyptian directors..

I personally believe that this is not the reason, however I can not believe the pictures it got warnings for were a good enough reason to kick the street wise cat out of the box. On the other hand the official reason stated by Theodore of Facebook is slightly unbelievable, as there are many obvious mascarades running freely and happily all over Facebook site and groups. But when gifts of God are bestowed one can only accept .

Somehow what bothers the cat the most is the disappearance of some pictures and thoughts it had posted, and the overtaking by some of the groups it had created and the fact that its brief but productive passage on Facebook has been erased as if it had never existed.

It just contented itself to underline the paradox in the final 2 sentences of the kicking out notification. " This decision is final. Thank you for your understanding" has become its favorite quote since.

Fortunately when this happened it was the beginning of the mating season and the cat had other things to do, so it was not too disappointed with its forced disappearance.

There is another possible thing that Facebook might have been trying to censor and that was this funny video that El had found on the www.

Funny, isn't it?

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