Politician Suing Facebook Over Lost Primary

Dearborn, Michigan attorney Majed Moughni is suing Facebook but doesn’t want a single penny from the social network.

Instead, he wants answers: He believes that the social network may have unwittingly contributed to his losing the Republican primary against the longest-serving member of Congress, U.S. Representative John Dingell.

Moughni came in fourth place and had maybe 1,600 friends before Facebook shut down his page. He believes that Facebook shut down his site after he criticized his opponent’s desire to create a resolution together with Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Gallaraga over an umpire’s call denying the player what would have been a perfect game.

None of that comes close to the very logical explanation that the social network has given for shutting down Moughni’s account. A spokesperson for the social network told the Detroit News that Moughni’s page was pulled for suspicious or anomalous behavior, the most frequently cited reason for such actions by Facebook.

Facebook spokesperson Andrew Noyes told the newspaper, “This system always warns a user when they are nearing thresholds that will have features blocked or their account disabled. These warnings come as a pop-up that must be clicked through. The system is designed to prevent spammers and fakes from harassing our users and polluting the ecosystem.”

Moughni’s page was adding 20 to 100 new friends a day, while Dingell had about 6,000 fans on two different Facebook pages combined. Moughni’s page was taken down June 10, and Republican primary was in August 2010. He told the newspaper:

I had no chance without Facebook. They disorganized us in the middle of our campaign and we lost. Facebook took us off the market. They took us off the face of the earth. We don’t want a penny from Facebook. We just want Facebook to bring back our ability to communicate.

While we’ve seen politicians embrace Facebook more during the last major election than they ever have so far, no one involved in politics has attributed any win solely to the power of the social network. So it’s hard not to view Mougni’s complaint as a quest for an excuse. He had an uphill battle going against an inumbent like Dingell, and that seems the more logical explanation for the outcome of the race than anything that happened online.

The amount of time that elapsed between the lost race and the recent filing of the lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court makes us wonder whether the decision to sue was an afterthought — if he really believed Facebook was the reason he didn’t win, why did he wait more than six months to sue?

Readers, what do you think of Moughni’s lawsuit?

Related Stories
Mediabistro Course

Social Media Metrics

Social Media MetricsStarting September 4, work with a social media manager to monitor, measure and optimize your social media efforts! Danielle Brigida will teach you how to sift through web analytics, Facebook Insights, and Twitter mentions to develop a comprehensive reporting and tracking system for your brand. Register now!