from the banbook dept
Facebook has brought out the ban-hammer on its competitors in the past. Most notably, the social media giant banned advertisements from users for links to Google+, when that was still a thing. That said, the most recent example of Facebook banning what can be seen as a competitive product has gone even further, preventing users from linking to Tsu.co in status updates or on its messaging service.
Try mentioning the social media website Tsu.co on Facebook or Instagram -- or even in a private conversation on Facebook Messenger. It won't work. Facebook is blocking any link to Tsu.co on every platform it owns, including Messenger and Instagram. It even went back and deleted more than 1 million Facebook posts that ever mentioned Tsu.co, making pictures, videos and comments disappear in an instant. You can type the name "Tsu," but you'll be blocked if you write "Tsu.co" or post any link from the site.I tried this for myself and found that it's in fact true. When simply attempting to update my status with nothing other than "tsu.com", Facebook returned the following popup.
Now, it is worth mentioning that Tsu appears to be somewhat sketchy. The premise of the site seems to be that it keeps a small percentage of ad revenue it generates, while the rest of the revenue gets split up between users with ads being displayed on their Tsu site, the users that originally invited those users to Tsu, and up the ladder. If this all sounds familiar to you, it should, because it's a classic pyramid model. The nature of the model means that the spread of the site will only pace more quickly, making it entirely possible that Facebook users could suddenly find their feeds inundated with Tsu links and ads.
And that's exactly what Facebook has encountered. Tsu users were creating fake accounts to boost their pages. Facebook says its users started reporting Tsu.co links as spam, which Facebook defines as "sending bulk messages, excessively posting links ... and sending friend requests to people you don't know personally." On September 25, Facebook cut off Tsu.co completely.And, in light of what was going on, you can understand why Facebook wanted to get out in front of this. But, as is always the case with these situations, there are other options beyond outright control through the banning of all links to a competitor's site. If the Tsu links and premise result in the annoyance Facebook claims, it shouldn't be particularly difficult to allow users to inform Facebook that it doesn't want to see any links or posts involving Tsu. That solution achieves Facebook's stated desire -- not allowing users to become annoyed with spammy deluges of Tsu links -- while still allowing users who may find Tsu useful to continue on as usual.
What it doesn't allow Facebook to do is suppress the spread of another site with whom it is competing.
Carolina Franco, a 28-year-old model in Colombia, thinks Facebook's strategy is an attempt to keep its users from flocking to a competitor.Whether that's true or not, it's easy to see how this perception exists. Given that another option -- empowering users instead of exerting control --would have avoided this perception, it's difficult to see why Facebook would have gone this route except that it concerns a competitor.
"Very few people even know about Tsu," she said. "I don't believe that Facebook and Instagram want Tsu to go viral. it would cost them a lot of money."