With Visibility Of Posts Downgraded, User Sues Facebook For Emotional Distress
Menlo Park, CA, June 9 – The owner of a Facebook page struggling to reach and expand his audience is suing the social media giant Facebook for emotional distress resulting from the social media giant’s deliberate withholding of many of his updates from his audience.
Thag Boogerman, who writes for the blog Mightier Than The Pen and the satirical news site PreOccupied Territory, filed a lawsuit today charging that Facebook, with malice aforethought, displays posts and links to only a handful of users, even when hundreds of users have expressly requested to receive those updates by Liking that page. For each post, the page operator is invited to “boost” its visibility for a cost; the lawsuit charges that this puts beyond Boogerman’s reach the level of exposure necessary to maintain, let alone expand, his audience, thereby thwarting him in his efforts to earn a living, exacerbating domestic tensions, and causing untold emotional distress. Boogerman is asking the courts to order Facebook to pay him $89 million.
Just yesterday, says the thirty-eight-year-old father of five, a user who Liked his page more than a year ago sent him an angry message, asking him why she had not received any updates from his page in six months. She refused to accept his explanation that Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm was at fault, and accused him of neglecting his audience.
“I can’t afford to promote every single post, link, and status update,” says Boogerman, who lives in Yehupitz Park. “Every one of my posts is important to me and my users, and Facebook makes truckloads of money on ads, data sharing, and who knows what else. This whole thing is a naked attempt to gouge people for more money, and it increases the gap between the haves and the have nots.” He added that this results in the sad irony of Facebook functioning for so long as a social equalizer – notably during the Arab Spring, when the masses of protesters used the site to coordinate anti-government demonstrations – becoming yet another tool with which the moneyed class presses its wealth to its advantage.
Facebook has yet to respond to the lawsuit, but experts expect them to argue for its dismissal on the grounds that they don’t give a crap about little people when there is so much money to be made. This consideration is especially important, they are expected to argue, since the disastrous IPO of the company’s stock last year.