In a bizarre and hard-to-understand move, a Facebook page which claims it helped countless Facebook members stay safe online on the social network has been shut down... by Facebook.
The Bulldog Estate is one of a number of different resources on the internet dealing with the subject of Facebook scams, rogue applications, and the like. Other examples include Scam Sniper, FaceCrooks and Sophos's own Facebook community.
On Monday 18th April, the Facebook page belonging to Scam Sniper was shut down by Facebook authorities:
Later that day, the same fate befell The Bulldog Estate's Facebook presence, leading the scam-exposing site to say that Facebook had made a bad PR move:
The Scam Sniper Facebook page was eventually restored, but Tony Mazan, the owner of The Bulldog Estate, hasn't had the same luck.
Mazan has been contacting Facebook since Monday attempting to understand why The Bulldog Estate's Facebook page was closed, and how it might be recovered.
Today Mazan received a standard response from Facebook, which still wasn't specific about the reasons that The Bulldog Estate's Facebook presence had been killed off:
You created a Page that has violated our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, and this Page has been removed. Facebook Pages may only be set up for the purpose of promoting a business or other commercial, political, or charitable organization or endeavor (including non-profit organizations, political campaigns, bands and celebrities), and only by an authorized representative of the entity or individual that is the subject of the Facebook Page. By creating a Facebook Page, you represent and warrant that you are authorized to do so by the person or entity that is the subject of the Facebook Page. Among other violations, Pages that are hateful, threatening, or obscene are not allowed. We also take down Pages that attack an individual or group or that promote or glorify violence, intolerance, racism or discrimination. Continued misuse of Facebook's features could result in your account being disabled."
This "explanation" clearly hasn't satisfied the many fans of The Bulldog Estate, who have created pages urging Facebook to reinstate The Bulldog Estate, and left messages on Facebook's official safety pages.
"We helped countless members on Facebook and supported Facebook in trying to help Facebook users stay safe online, We do not advertise or make money from our help, our blog writers are volunteers, and our admins are volunteers," Tony Mazan of The Bulldog Estate told Naked Security. "What we can not understand is why Facebook removed a real help group and yet there are thousands of rogue applications, thousands of hate filled pages, thousand of fake profiles. We are as real as it gets and get shut down."
"Is it because Facebook security never gets comments like 'We Love you' or 'thanks for always alerting us on time with user-friendly information'," continued Mazan. "As one of our supporters said - you may shut the dog outside, but you will never silence the bark."
Although the language used on The Bulldog Estate's website doesn't beat around the bush, it seems clear to me that the content they produce is beneficial and helps Facebook users avoid scams and other attacks.
Maybe Facebook needs to be a little less robotic in its shutdown of this scam-exposing community, and could work a little more closely with Tony Mazan and his colleagues to bring what is a helpful resource for its users?
Update: The Bulldog Estate reports that its Facebook page has now been restored, and that Facebook has apologised for its mistake.Follow @gcluley