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Dear Facebook: give us back Joe Average

Joe Average is a Canadian painter who changed his name to Joe Average. It wasn’t his name when we were in high school, but it has been his real name for decades.

Joe Average was on Facebook, but last night (at the GFs-from-highschool-meetup) I learned that his personal account has disappeared. His fan-page still exists, and in the info box a friend/ administrator notes, “Joe’s personal facebook page has been disabled for some reason. He’ll be back as soon as possible. In the meantime – you can visit Joe’s website at”…

No one seems to know why Joe’s page is disabled – it just was, and Facebook gave no warning or reason. That’s some pretty high-handed shit on Facebook’s part, given how we the users are the content generators. Maybe Facebook doesn’t believe that Joe Average is Joe Average’s real name – but it is. Did they ask him? Probably not.

Facebook has a history with this sort of blundering. In 2009 the company did it to NakedJen without explanation, and there was plenty of discussion whether that deletion had to do with nakedness or with using a name one wasn’t assigned at birth. The explanation, as NakedJen herself wrote, was that according to Facebook:

…my profile was obliterated because I am a PRODUCT and not a real person.  Of course no one from Facebook actually checked with me before the obliteration.  It had nothing to do with my name being Naked Jen. (A check of the Facebook database will quickly reveal that there are currently over 500 people using NAKED in their name!)  They falsely assumed that Naked Jen was a product and belonged in the product pages and not the personal pages.  However, we all know, especially those of you reading, that Naked Jen is a person.  A real person.  My request to reinstate my profile because I am a real person and not a product have fallen on now deaf ears.  I am still requesting that my profile be reinstated. (source)

In the case of Joe Average, his nakedness (which is also NOT a PRODUCT) comes to you like this: HIV+, community involvement, heart-on-sleeve, and:


As a boy growing up in Victoria, he built a fort in some scrub overlooking the city and seashore, where he’d run away time after time to escape, or, rather, to test his inattentive family. “They didn’t care. They never came looking for me.” (source)

Seriously, Facebook: stop disabling Joe Average’s account. It’s his real name, he’s the-real-deal-human-not-a-PRODUCT, even on Facebook, …and we’re looking for him.

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