Back in the Friendster era, the deletion
of fake accounts (aka Fakesters) is sometimes cited as one of the many causes of Friendster's ultimate fall from grace. Initially, Facebook had not been plagued with such problems, since it originally restricted its users to those with an .edu email address. Now that the restriction has been lifted, fake accounts are starting to stream into Facebook, and with that has come the Facebook fake account police. Just last month, Facebook drew the ire of the blogosphere when they deleted
Jon Swift's account for using a pseudonym. And now, on Monday, Facebook disabled British politician Steve Webb's account Monday after receiving complaints that he did not exist
. Webb has been a member of Parliament for 10 years, and an active member of Facebook for almost a year, amassing 2,500 friends in that time. Though the mishap was corrected after a few hours, it reminds us of the difficulty of determining true identity in an online world. A cursory search for "Britney Spears" yields at least 20 profiles -- if one of these is the true Britney, it is impossible to tell. Or, perhaps Britney is already on Facebook, but under a pseudonym -- in which case, would she get deleted?