SFF authors vs Facebook

Thanks to James and Adam for pointing this out. China Miéville has been trying without much success to get Facebook to shut down several profiles belonging to people impersonating him. Fed up, he forwarded a letter to Facebook.

China Miéville's letter is reprinted here:

1601 S. California Avenue
Palo Alto
CA 94304

6 October 2010

Dear Facebook People,


1) The short version:

At least one person, if not more, is/are impersonating me on Facebook, with (a) fake profile(s) claiming my identity. Despite me repeatedly bringing this to your attention, you have taken no action to remedy the situation. And I’m getting very annoyed.

2) The full version:

This thing you hold is called a letter. This is the third time I’ve contacted you, and I’m doing so by this antiquated method because, and I realise this may shock you so brace yourself, I have no Facebook account. Which means it is nigh-on impossible for me to get in touch with you. Kudos for your Ninja avoidance strategies.

Back when you had a button allowing me to alert you to a fake profile despite not having an account myself, I contacted you that way. I was answered with a resonant silence. Subsequently, when the problem persisted, I hunted lengthily for, found and left a message on the phone number you go out of your way to hide. Absolutely nothing happened. So here we go again: third time’s a charm.

I am being imitated on Facebook. I believe the only reason anyone is bothering to do this is because I’m a novelist (published by Macmillan and Random House), a writer and broadcaster, with a minor public profile. I think there are one or two community pages about my stuff on Facebook – that of course is very flattering and nice of people to bother. The problem is that there is or are also pages by someone(s) purporting to be me. This is weird and creepy. What’s worse is I know for a fact that some readers, friends and colleagues are friending ‘China Miéville’ under the impression that it is me, and that others are wondering why ‘China Miéville’ refuses to respond to them. And I have no idea what dreadful things or ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’ are being claimed as mine, nor what ‘I’ am saying.

I know lots of people enjoy being on Facebook. Great. More power to them. Vaya con Dios. Me, though: not my thing. I have absolutely no interest in it. I am not now nor have I ever been a Facebook member. Short of some weird Damascene moment, I will not ever join Facebook – and if that unlikely event occurs, I promise I’ll tell you immediately. In the meantime, though, as a matter of urgency, as a matter of courtesy, as a matter of decency, please respond to my repeated requests:

• Please delete all profiles claiming to be me (with or without the accent on the ‘é’ – last time I looked, I found one ‘China Mieville’, and one more accurately rendered).
• Please do not allow anyone else to impersonate me. I have neither time nor inclination to trawl your listings regularly to see if another bizarre liar has sprung up.
• And while you’re at it, please institute a system whereby those of us with the temerity not to sign up to your service can still contact you on these matters and actually get a [insert cuss-word] answer.

I appeal to you to honour your commitments to security and integrity. Of course as a multi-gajillion-dollar company I have absolutely no meaningful leverage over you at all. If David Fincher’s film doesn’t embarrass you, you’re hardly going to notice the plaintive whining of a geek like me. All I can do is go public. Which is my next plan.

I’m allowing a week for this letter to reach you by airmail, then three days for you to respond to me by phone or the email address provided. Then, if I’ve heard nothing, on 16 October 2010, I’ll send copies of this message to all the literary organizations and publications with which I have connections

some of the many books bloggers I know; and anyone else I can think of. I’ll encourage them all to publicise the matter. I’m tired of being impersonated, and I’m sick of you refusing to answer me.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

China Miéville

George R. R. Martin and his representatives are also investigating Facebook. It appears that there are quite a few impostor pages, as well as a fan page containing copyright material used without permission.

22 commentaires:

machinery said...

i'm in support of any form of website that causes china mieville a bit of discomfort, i don't like anti-semites.
as for the other authors, seriously ?
are you guys for real ?
10 years ago you wouldn't get 1% of this publicity ?
i sometimes ask if this whole facebook thing is not a PR stunt.
and how many sff authors truly are hurt financialy from this ?
j.k.rowling is a uniqe occurence.
the rest are far far behind.
so yeah, it could be aggrevating, or even deserving of a legal intervention, but the idea of investigating facebook ... sounds ridiculous.
and again, if anyone out there is causing discomfort to china mieville, you're ok in my book.

Adam Whitehead said...

Authors don't like being impersonated and, in GRRM's case, they don't like their copyrighted material (photographs and words) being reprinted in their totality online without permission, especially in a venue which declares it will assume copyright control of all content published on the website.

"i'm in support of any form of website that causes china mieville a bit of discomfort, i don't like anti-semites."

Yeah, I remember you losing that asinine argument here once before. Good luck with it again.

Anonymous said...

How is China mieville an anti-semite?

Not disputing it, I've just not heard this before. But then, I only read a couple of blogs sporadically.


Anonymous said...

If people actually think the facebook account is him, it could definitely hurt him personally or career-wise. Just because you personally dislike someone doesn't mean that it's alright for others to harm them in a way you deem appropiate.

machinery said...

adam and anonymous -
china meiville is an antisemite.
why ?
cause he is against israel's right to exist as a JEWISH state.
he has no such "self definition" issues with any other nation or people, that's descriminatory, and in this case anti-semitic.
and i am not debating this, accept it or not, i truly couldn't care less, because that's my OPINION.
and again, i wish him ... not-good things.

as for the issue, like i said, maybe there is cause for legal action, but i think MOST authors should like this PR, it's a short step from this to buying an e-book for an out of print book with an interesting topic.

Adam Whitehead said...

"china meiville is an antisemite.
why ?
cause he is against israel's right to exist as a JEWISH state.
he has no such "self definition" issues with any other nation or people, that's descriminatory, and in this case anti-semitic."

Where did he say this? Link or reference. He has criticised some of Israel's policies, but that's certainly not an attack on Judaism overall and calling someone who has issues with Israel an anti-semite is a lazy angle of attack.

Anonymous said...

machinery, trust me because I'm jewish: You're an idiot.

machinery said...

adam - i don't know why i am pulled into this again, he isn't agaqinst judaism, the new anti-semites are sophisticated, they won't flat out go against jews.
they go against israel.
they won't say jews don't have a right for a country of their own, they will say israel is a racist state, and should be a jewish state.

anonymous - your life as a jew are dependent on israel, if israel will disappear, most likely there will be only hasidic jews left.
so call me an idiot if you want, wherver you are, you had better pray that israel remains jewish and strong.

or get used to another diaspora.

SteveF said...

China comes from a section of the British left where the boundary between criticism of Israel and anti-semitism is often, IMO, pretty blurred. This is a reasonable starting place for investigating this:


But I've never read anything specifically from China on this matter.

This also raises the interesting question of being able to divorce the views of an author that you don't like from enjoyment of the books themselves. Relevant to this topic was a recent call for a cultural boycott of Israel from Iain Banks. This sums up rather nicely, I think, why his views are so problematic:


But it won't stop me (I hope, since I've not read any since his letter) from enjoying his books.

Anonymous said...

Funny, this...

Elizabeth Moon speaks against Muslims and as a right wing person she gets ostracized.

China Mieville speaks against the Jews and as a left wing person no one sees anything wrong with that.

Double standard anyone???


machinery said...

stefef, jonathan -
this has nothing to do with elizabeth moon.
i speak for myself alone, i will never read china's books.
btw, china refuses to have his books tranlated to hebrew so you can understand that ny boycotting him is a response to him.
there are books that were translated to hebrew by steven brust, who is himself a far left, and he was asked if he has a problem with it, i don't remember his exact wording, but he made distinction between politics and literature.
china obviously chose not to, and so my sentiments regarding him.
same goes for banks and any other person who boycots israel, while turning a blind way to atrocities in the rest of the world (including by the USA and the UK).

i know that some authors whose books i have read may have views i might not like, but as long as they don't make the politics the issue, then neither would i.

Jens said...


Are you saying that whoever criticizes Israel in any way -and I would assume that this includes Israel's policies as well- is a "new anti-semite"?
This is ridiculous.

Also, you claim that Miéville refuses to have his books translated into Hebrew.
As I've seen you make this claim before, can you provide a source for this claim?

machinery said...

stevef - your second link is exactly what i'm talking about, the double standarts, as we have recently seen in the wikileaks affair of the past few days.
do you think they will make a goldstone commitee in the UN ?
adam, i hope you have learned something from that link.

machinery said...

jens, i can't provide the source i read about it in an israeli newspaper about 2-3 years ago.
i guess you'll just have to take my word for it.

as for criticism, you can criticise all you like, but in context and within reason.

i suggest you read the second website steveF gave, it realy makes my point much more clearly.

Anonymous said...

by this argument you make all Jews to one group of people who stand firmly behind everything Isreal does as a state. I've seen a youtube video where one political scientist or whatever defends himself before a crowd or some people in the crowd who want to appeal to his Jewishness by making him remember the atrocities done to Jews in the past. But he rejects that and concentrates on the issues at hand, wrong behvaiour of the Israelan state.
Ah, there you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivz06LZSWjY

I think the reason why Israel is more often called out on this rather than Russia and so on, is because there is an assumption that Isreal can still listen to voices of outside.

machinery said...

anonymous, this is sophistication for the sake of sophistication.
look at the link stevef brought, which gives you a list of atrocities that are FAR FAR worse than the ones attributed to israel, and not from 100 years ago, but from current times, and yet, for some reason, israel shouls be treated specialy, negatively that is.
that's not right.

Grenn said...

@machinery, 2:51 PM - Israel always has been asking for special treatment - ever since the King David incident. You can't have good without bad, so with any good special treatment, there comes some bad special treatment as well. It's only fair. After all, being "Chosen" isn't supposed to be easy.

Jens said...


I don't intend to discuss politics here --my concern was your so far unsourced allegations of China Miéville being an anti-semite-- so this will be my last post in this matter.

If the article "Israel, human decency, common humanity" (SteveF's second link) make indeed your point so I cannot agree.
It lists other countries whose deeds are more grave than Israel's claiming that these countries are not accused of these crimes but Israel is pointed at for their misbehavior.
It is not true that the mentioned misdeeds of various countries go unmentioned. But even if they were, refering to the crimes of others as if this would somehow excuse for the own "misconducts" is distasteful.

The article closes with accusing people to hate Israel.
Opposing a country's policies, even strongly opposing it, does not equal hate.

machinery said...

grenn - huh ?
are you talking about king david himself ? or the king david hotel ?
either way, you sound .... strange .

jens -
you are selective in your reading of that article, the link shows that israel is accused of crimes, while in fact those "crimes" are not even a fraction of other nation's misdeeds, and yet these authors are silent.
it's called hippocricy.

m.q.zed said...

bloody hell... quite a discussion you have here. Regardless of China Mieville's views or if you like him or not... doesn't this letter just makes you want to create 5 more fake facebook profiles?

Anonymous said...

Blah, this argument about China Mieville's "antisemitism" is just as boring, asinine, and off-topic as it was the first time around. By the way, machinery, it's "hypocrisy."

machinery said...

anonymous - your opinion on THIS matter is not important to me.
live with it.
i stand corrected on this word, on the rest, again, learn from this.
he is antisemitic.