Thursday, August 23, 2007

Should Facebook Have Banished Ranger Rick?

Coworkers here at the National Wildlife Federation were up in arms earlier this week as word spread that Facebook had canceled Ranger Rick's account. Any attack on Ranger Rick is an attack on The Green Miles, because we're one and the same in Arlington's Neighborhood Day parade each year (to the right is RR/TGM with Arlington County Board Chair Paul Ferguson).

Granted, Ranger Rick is not an actual person, a nominal violation of Facebook's rules that require a profile represent a real person. Facebook says nonprofits can still use the group function.

However, you could easily counter that by saying Facebook allows pseudo-profiles of politicians all the time. Anyone think the actual Hillary Clinton is checking who tagged her wall today? And for nonprofits like the NWF, creating a group or mascot profile protects the privacy of the staffers who work to reach out to members through social networking sites. Does Hillary's Facebook staffer wants to have his/her personal info out there for 35,000 supporters to see?

But here's the bottom line -- of all the fake profiles on Facebook, why has Facebook targeted the beloved Ranger Rick? A quick search shows six fake Paris Hilton profiles. Why kill off Ranger Rick? Would it really have torn a hole in the fabric of the space-time continuum to look the other way while Ranger Rick spread cuteness across the Internet?

If you think Ranger Rick was unjustly targeted, join the Set Ranger Rick Free Facebook group, and tell Facebook to knock it off by emailing them here.


Anonymous said...

I emailed Facebook. Ridiculous. There were already too many Paris Hiltons in our world...

Anonymous said...

Here is the link to Free Ranger Rick on Facebook.

Danielle Brigida said...

As of yesterday, Facebook's terms of use mentioned nothing about "fake" or "human" accounts.

Shaping Youth said...

Ironically, I'm new on Facebook and just changed my visual to reflect my nonprofit's logo for Shaping Youth! (so the inconsistency is amazing) That said, I'm sure they're valiantly trying to hold the line to prevent Ronald McDonald and all the corporate marketing flacks from defacing the site...a worthy intention indeed.

I'd suggest simply having the 'person' be Danielle and the representation/profile reflect Ranger Rick in his visual and contextual glory...That way, every time he's 'befriended'...he spreads the word on wildlife preservation.

Just a thought, anyway

Shaping Youth said...

Whoa, wait a sec! A Wired Campus alert just said Facebook is going to start targeting people via advertising; so much for my corporate culpability/social conscience theory...ahem.

Gosh...and ol' Ranger Rick can't even spout his green scene?

Gimme a break. btw, I posted a gazillion 'green links' for EcoKids on our Shaping Youth post springboarding off of Beth Kanter's roundup. (Digital Earth summit, Tesla Motors, Kid-Friendly Green sites, Marketing Hope, Teen Thrive, etc.) Link is here, fyi:
Enjoy! --Amy

p.s. Here's some of what Wired Campus' Andrea L. Foster reported:

"Fan of Froot Loops? Facebook Has an Ad for You"

Facebook plans to push advertisements to users this fall on the basis of their hobbies, musical tastes, hangouts, and favorite travel destinations, among other variables, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Advertisers on the social-networking site now target their messages using only members’ ages, genders, and locations. The new plan is part of an effort by Facebook to raise revenues and profits in anticipation of going public, according to the article.

The big question, of course: Will Facebook’s clientele, including many college students, go along with more ads? Members have been known to rebel against changes on the site. Last year many users objected to a feature that showed them up-to-the minute changes made by online “friends” on their pages. The change jeopardized users’ privacy and was too intrusive, they said. Facebook responded to the criticism by making the feature optional...etc.

The Green Miles said...

Yeah, too much advertising can kill a site in a heartbeat. Just look at MySpace! You'd think Facebook would've learned from its predecessor's demise, but I suppose they figure they have to make money somehow ...

Anonymous said...

Crazy. I hope that this is simply a mistake that will be corrected soon.

I loved Ranger Rick as a kid, in fact I still have my official Ranger Rick raccoon skin cap. Anyone think they could sell those nowadays?