Today the people at Facebook learned you don’t mess with William Shatner. Over the weekend the social networking giant took the unusual step of deleting the Mr. Shatner official page, claiming it was a fake. But this afternoon Star Trek’s original Kirk turned to Twitter to make his feelings clear, and Facebook quickly reversed their error. Details below.
Facebook deletes Shatner’s page – then undeletes it – oops
Last Friday Facebook took it upon themselves to delete William Shatner’s official Facebook page. And according to Mr. Shatner’s online guru Paul Camuso, Facebook took this action without any warning or notice. Camuso tells TrekMovie that getting emails from fans asking what had happened, he and Shatner found that the account was disabled. Logging in lead to a notification about impostor accounts and the only remedy for reinstatement was a link to a form which required Mr. Shatner to send in a scan of a “Government Issued ID”. Concerned about his privacy (and with Facebook who wouldn’t be?), Bill found this unacceptable.
So this afternoon Shatner took to his (officially verified) Twitter account to let his 519,789 followers know what Facebook had done:
Less than half an hour after sending that tweet Shatner’s Facebook page was back up. Soon after he posted an update on his Wall, thanking Facebook for reinstating his account. Camuso notes on the resolution "So I guess you can use Social Media to fix Social Media".
It still isn’t clear why Facebook chose last weekend to delete the page on suspicion that it was a fake account. One possibility is a new law in California that went into effect in January that makes it a crime to impersonate someone on Facebook and Twitter. Another more conspiratorial view could be that Facebook may have made the assumption that since Shatner has launched his own social networking site (www.myouterspace.com), his Facebook account must be a fake.
Fake Trek Celebrities: Getting better but some are still out there
While Facebook’s ‘shoot now and ask questions later’ approach may seem abrupt, it is true that there have been problems with fake celebrities on Twitter and Facebook. Just in the little corner of Star Trek celebs, there have been quite a few fakers (many of which have been debunked by TrekMovie.com). And these imposters can cause problems, like when another Trek site reported a rumor started by a fake Tim Russ Facebook page, and even the LA Times got duped, writing a story based on a fake JJ Abrams Twitter account.
In fact, the very popular Twitter accounts for LeVar Burton (@leverburton), George Takei, (@GeorgeTakei), and Damon Lindelof (@DamonLinelof) all had to be taken away from cyber-squatters posing as those Star Trek celebrities. And even though Twitter has gotten much better with their ‘Verified’ accounts, there are still a fake accounts for Jonathan Frakes (@jonathan_frakes) and Leonard Nimoy (@leonardnimoy), both of which have thousands of duped followers. Frakes has no social networking accounts and Mr. Nimoy has instead used @TheRealNimoy.
All that being said, Facebook should probably have given Mr. Shatner a chance before deleting his page and demanding to see his papers.