MP doubts his existence over Facebook ban
LONDON (Reuters) - An MP has had his Facebook account suspended after the site decided he wasn't real.
Steve Webb, a member of the Liberal Democrat party, tried to log on Monday but received a message saying his account had been disabled following complaints he didn't really exist.
The news was particularly disconcerting to the 42-year-old politician as not only has he been an MP for 10 years but he is also one of the keenest promoters of online networking, using it to keep in touch with constituents.
"I sent them an email asking what the problem was and got a response a day later saying they had concluded that my profile was a fake, that I wasn't really Steve Webb," he told Reuters.
"I was essentially accused of impersonating a member of parliament."
Within a few hours friends set up a Facebook group called "Steve Webb is real!" which attracted more than 200 members.
He and others then contacted anyone they knew who worked at the site to see if they could get the ban overturned.
A few hours later he received an apology and his profile was reactivated. But the nearly 36 hours he was suspended left him questioning his own existence.
"You realise the power these organisations really have," he said. "If they'd been really determined, they could have deactivated me completely and then you kind of don't know where you stand.
"It's actually hard for a genuine person to prove they exist."
Webb, who has been on Facebook for nearly a year, has around 2,500 friends on the social networking site -- a huge number largely because he invites members of his constituency in Northavon, Gloucestershire, to sign up so that they can contact him if they need to.
Asked if he might have been suspended because he had a suspiciously high number of friends, particularly for a Member of Parliament, he laughed.
"The thought did cross my mind," he said.
Talk about life imitating art. Wasn't this the basic plot of a Sandra Bullock movie?