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Facebook users in Haiti say some access has been blocked

Everyone's been reporting about how social networking sites like Facebook have become the primary form of communication during the devastating earthquake in Haiti this week. Unfortunately, this morning I started hearing reports from several people in Haiti who are now being blocked because they've sent so many messages in the past two days.

Picture 1  Facebook has a fail safe to prevent spam from happening, so often times accounts that are really active will be limited from sending messages. I suspect that's what is going on here - unfortunately, in this case, it has caught people like Els Vervoloet, who is the alumni director for Quisqueya Christian School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I lived in Haiti ten years ago and taught at this school - and all of Els's messages through Facebook have been the primary way I've known how people in the community are doing.

UPDATE: Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in an email to me in "very rare cases" some Facebook users in Haiti are encountering the system's automatic response to prevent spam.

Picture 2 He said that users who were getting close to a limit on messages should have been warned by the system that they were getting close to sending too many.

If you're in Haiti and your entire profile has been blocked, contact Facebook here. That explains the warnings, and if you go directly to the "my account has been disabled section, that shows you how to email Facebook to get access back. (Note: this isn't something that can be done on a mobile phone, you have to do this on an actual computer.) Noyes also said the Facebook team will be looking through the system for the term "Haiti" and will expedite those requests.

Finally, Noyes said that Facebook was always looking at "adjusting and fine-tuning" their systems based on how people are using the site. "We're looking into the behavior we're seeing out of Haiti to analyze how our systems might be improved," he said.

Facebook said they're looking into it - I'll update when I hear back from them. If you're in Haiti and having a hard time, leave your name in the comments section below so we can see how widespread this problem is.


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I am that Els Vervloet, fortunately my internet has only been out for 20 hours since the earthquake. I have been receiving hundreds of messages in my facebook inbox about missing people, i have been able to locate or give news about many many missing family members.
now that my messaging is blocked, I feel even more helpless than before




FACEBOOK has a lot of quirky stuff that stands in the way of it usurping success from other social networking sites. In appealing to privacy junkies, who micromanage everything on their page, FACEBOOK has neglected the greater tasks of mass communication, making people fill in catchpas to update their status, make comments, send messages, or then blocking a person's account without a recourse for resolving spam or complaints. They never respond to me directly when I email them, unlike Myspace. At least Myspace will tell you what they can and can't do for you, but Facebook is really good at telling you what you can't do without giving you an explanation to the limitations of their networking site. You would hope in a crisis like this, they would disable the feature temporarily that restricts sending limits, I mean, my God, peoples' lives are depending on it and every minute that goes by, someone is perishing!

Looking for

Marie josephare philippe

josephare St Cyr


Go and check out how many times he needlessly updates his status. Hardly any of it is about Haiti, or finding people at all.

Looks like I've just debunked your entire story! ha-ha

McDermott: everything on her (not "his") page is about Haiti. Perhaps you looked at the wrong Vervloet? No debunking occurred.

Interesting post.I really like it.thanks

I came across your blog.& reading along.Thanks for sharing.

i like to read your posts. thanks for this one.

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