Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Teatotaller Cafe v. Instagram

Annie Ropeik (2020):

The owner of the Teatotaller café in Somersworth is taking on Facebook at the New Hampshire Supreme Court.


Owner Emmett Soldati markets them all on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook. He says it was a blow to his business when, in 2018, Teatotaller’s Instagram account – with more than 2,000 followers – was shut down without warning.

“We had spent money advertising on their platform to do many things, including building a following, and we lost that following,” Soldati said in an interview at Teatotaller Sunday.

Facebook’s terms and conditions for Instagram limit users’ legal recourse, but say they can pursue a case in small claims court. Soldati did that, in Dover, arguing the platform was negligent in deleting his account and asking for it to be restored.

Margie Cullen (via Hacker News):

When Emmett Soldati first noticed the Instagram account for his small cafe Teatotaller was deleted, he had no idea the battle to get accountability from Facebook would take six years.

But Soldati, who represented himself in court, has finally won his small claim against the social media giant now known as Meta.

Duncan Shaw:

The parent company of Instagram was ordered to pay a judgment of $100 plus court costs and interest to the owner of the Teatotaller Café after his account was deleted.

It’s still not clear why the account was deleted in the first place.

Dan Luu:

Are there fundamental reasons that a company the size of FB can’t provide much better support than they do?

The most common explanation I’ve heard is that support is impossible due to cost, but I don’t find this plausible based the profit FB-sized companies make per user. If you just naively look at how many support people they could pay, it’s quite a lot, not including things like diverting money from the ~$50B that’s allegedly been spent on the metaverse.


I know of kafkaesque horror stories of bank and brokerage account loss, so it’s not like brokerages are perfect, but it’s rare enough that I don’t personally know anyone who’s had their personal account or funds temporarily lost, let alone permanently, whereas with FB, a large fraction of my non-tech friends have lost accounts.


My wife and most of her friends have all lost their Facebook accounts at least once. They all gave up getting them back. Many tears as most of them use it as their only photo backup for kid pictures.

At this point it's just routine for them to have their account taken over and lost periodically.


As someone who’s both permanently lost a [iTunes] previous account, losing thousands of $$$ in purchases, and who’s recently yet again temporarily lost access to purchased content—both of which were due to an issue with Apple’s services—I will never, EVER buy music, movies, or TV shows from Apple ever again.

Chris Wanstrath, GitHub co-founder (via Hacker News):

Banned from GitHub without any explanation. Guess I’m moving all my code to BitBucket.


2 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

This further emphasizes the importance of taking control of your own data and not leaving it in the hands of faceless corporate entities who at best don't care about you. Sadly the capability to do that is being gradually taken from ordinary non-technical users with each passing day by making the process too onerous for anyone other than a techie to ever navigate.

FYI: @defunkt's ban from githab has been undone, as a comment on his tweet explains. It supposedly was made in error.

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