On top of that, I actually met Facebook’s Privacy Director last week, and he’s a very nice guy. He told me a story (which I believe, honest!) that tallies pretty much with both these accounts. They make do with a customer care team that sounds large enough until you realise that their 65 million active (yes, you heard right, 65m using it in the last month…) punters are shared out to the ratio of about one staffer to the population of Leeds. At the same time they have a bunch of issues of such priority (eg child protection) that they need to give those very fast turn-around. This means they automate as much as they can, and (reading between the lines) a lot between the automation and the tricky stuff just falls through the gap – Hence Derek’s brief stay in Facebook limbo.
Like Anne said, it’s the difference between two strands of 2.0 that people often conflate because of outward appearances rather than business models. Just because a community like Wikipedia gets by managing the support themselves, that doesn’t mean a company like Facebook (with a customer rather than collaborator relationship) can do away with customer services.
Anyway he also told me a bunch of other stuff they’re working on, which the MyDD piece picks up on. Removing the 1,000 group mail cap (with opt out) and providing migration paths for people wanting to take their work out of the site when they go (of course not much use if you don’t know where to plug it in, but it’s promising nonetheless). These will hopefully make it less scary for union organisers to try experimenting with. Also very helpful will be promised Friendlist privacy controls, to subdivide your friends into categories and reveal more or less to each group.