Facebook is, at it's heart, a social networking platform. I admit, I refused to join facebook for a long time, not seeing the need for such a thing in my life. I was wrong. When I heard that my favorite authors were allowing people to act out their characters in groups here, I jumped at the chance to have something to read while waiting for new books. It was absolutely amazing. I went from not having an account, to spending hours here, reading and loving everything I found.
Soon after, I joined my first group. It was a breathtaking view of the writers that I had never gotten before. Fleshing out how the characters would act, honing my writing skills...it made for an exciting escape from normalcy. After I left there, due to a conflict of interest, I decided to take the plunge and start my own group. Since then, we've been plagued. FB nuking accounts. Scrambling to borrow phones from friends who don't use Facebook so we can keep our groups intact. Accounts being locked before admin even friend a single soul, because FB apparently keeps tabs on how many accounts an internet connection creates, failing to realize that nowadays MANY people share the same internet connection.
Instead of this war on writing accounts, I have another solution which I think makes a lot of sense. Facebook is a company, and companies exist to make money.You already allow us to attach "pages" to our accounts. Hotmail allows us to attach an unlimited number of other emails to one email address to check them all at the same time. Google+, which is your main competitor for the role play accounts, allows psuedonyms as long as they are attached to a verified profile. Your mantra that these accounts aren't "real" people is bogus, because we ARE real people behind the scenes, and our fans aren't stupid. They understand that we are roleplayers and enjoy the stories we tell.
Do you even realize, that at this time I know of at least 8,000 roleplayers on Facebook? You can't possibly catch them all. But, think on it. If each "roleplaying" page could be verified by Facebook as a roleplaying page, and connected to a real life profile like we can do with pages? That is a lot of revenue that you'd save from having to constantly deal with reports, and having more profiles meaning more opportunities for advertising and gaming. And 8,000 is just a small estimate. There are many, many more that I don't know and am not friends with.
If we could attach them to our real life profiles, so YOU knew we were real people, it would stop this "not a real person" nonsense in its tracks. We write as a character. It's hard to write as a character when we are staring at our boring, real life profiles. Also, you'd be one of the first major social networking sites to welcome roleplayers with open arms. People who are irritated with Google and with Myspace for not being a fully fleshed outlet would come flocking. You'd open a new door, and therefore, earn more money.
I think it's a great new direction for you to go. It would help earn you more money to expand your growth and help with the glitches that irritate people about facebook so frequently. It would allow more fans to read, encouraging book sales which would help the economy. It would stop people from "revenge reporting", of reporting everyone who they feel was "mean" to them and clogging your servers with bogus reports, leaving the REAL reports hidden and you get to them too late. All in all, there are quite simply, no downfalls that I can see if implemented in the way I've described. You could even offer, when an account is locked, that if they'd like to save it and keep it open for them to add it to a validated account, which they could then do if they are caught. Yes, Roleplayers use celebrity images. Yet, so does literally everyone else I've seen on any media outlet on the internet, at least once. There are ALWAYS going to be copyright abusers. Simply make it so roleplaying accounts are "at your own risk" with using images.
Yes, FB is free and will always be free to real life accounts. However, by opening your doors and allowing roleplayers, you WILL set an example, and earn yourself many more positive reviews than negative. Facebook is a dynamic, wide-ranging social escape. For some of us, writing is the only thing that keeps us going, the only thing that makes getting up in the middle of a bad life worth doing. This is a way to let people have that outlet, increase revenue, and remind everyone that in a world of Google, you are still relevant, still trendsetting, and still FOR the people.
If this petition gets 8,000 signatures, I will personally print it and mail it via certified, signature required letter to Facebook's corporate offices.