Jan. 28, 2011 at 12:09 PM ET
For Mustafa Fteja, Facebook is more than just a hobby. It's the main way the 30-year-old Albanian native has stayed in touch with friends and family all over the world for three years, and when he was inexplicably cut off from it, he did what every other person in this country seems to do when they're mad enough: he sued.
In seeking $500,000, Fteja is suing Facebook for disabling his account, in which he had about 340 friends and family and had spent "timeless hours creating content and relationships [Facebook] benefitted from," the suit contends. He wants it back on, and he wants the company to pay for the damage of alienating him from his family and friends (about $1500 per friend/family).
"I had the Facebook for one purpose — to keep in contact with my family," Fteja told The Daily News. His access to Facebook, he said, stopped in September, and repeated pleas to the company were for the most part unanswered, except for a generic e-mail sent to him two weeks later telling him he violated the terms of the Facebook agreement. These notices usually go to accounts suspected of being fake or uploading malicious content, or that "infringes or violates someone else's rights or otherwise violates the law."
There are a lot of mines to step on that could result in Facebook shutting down someone's account, according to its terms of service, and Fteja can't figure out what he did wrong.
"I know one thing - I didn't do anything," he told The New York Post (which lists him as 39 and a native of Montenegro. Gotta love those New York dailies.). "I didn't violate anything."
He aired his speculations to the tabloid. "Did someobody hack my account? I don't know. If it's that someobody hacked my account, Facebook should help me. If you have a problem with your AOL login, AOL helps you. Not Facebook," he said.
Fteja also thinks being Muslim may also have something to do with the shutdown, though that seems like a longshot to prove.
He claims he has a higher purpose than the money in going after the social network.
"I'm not doing this for money. I'm doing this for justice. I believe there should be some, somewhere," he told The New York Post.
But Fteja probably should have read the fine print in Facebook's terms before filing his lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court, because Facebook explicitly states that any dispute has to be resolved in California, specifically in Santa Clara County, which happens to be Facebook's home turf.
It's tough slogging through the legal mukkety-muck, especially when it's written in SCREAMING ALL CAPS, but it looks like even if Facebook were to cough up some dough, it'd only amount to $100 "OR THE AMOUNT YOU HAVE PAID US IN THE PAST TWELVE MONTHS." Fteja's only recourse seems to be found in this last line: "APPLICABLE LAW MAY NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATION OR EXCLUSION OF LIABILITY OR INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, SO THE ABOVE LIMITATION OR EXCLUSION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. IN SUCH CASES, FACEBOOK'S LIABILITY WILL BE LIMITED TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW."
Well, it's not quite like the Internet going down in Egypt, but for Fteja, not having his Facebook seems to be a pretty big deal, comparable to rights stripped away from him when he was living in a communist country.
What do you think? What's your Facebook worth to you?