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Facebook Threaten Lawsuit Against Elliot Isles' WhileFacebookWasDown.com

Who knew Facebook couldn't take a joke?

screenshot - whilefacebookwasdown.com 

I am certain you will all remember that infamous day back on September 28th when Facebook went down for a full two hours and the online world went berserk. Unable to find a real-world activity to engage in while the site was down, they simply turned to another social network, namely Twitter, to complain about being unable to access the former. Apparently I'm not the only one to find humour in this, as Sydney student Elliot Isles proved with his response - WhileFacebookWasDown.com.
Twitter - @ElliotIsles

The premise of Isles' site was a simple one. Operating on one page, you are initially greeted with the line "While Facebook was down..." followed by submissions from other visitors, one at a time, that you can like or dislike before moving onto the next, and some of them are comedy gold. Answers ranged from "I remembered what my wife looked like" to "Actually did some work I was paid to do", as well as masses of inappropriate responses that I can't repeat here. Those wanting to get more involved could scroll down to post their own completed sentence and it all seemed like a bit of light-hearted, innocent fun. Facebook, apparently, see it rather differently.

On October 21st, Isles received an email from Facebook's legal department, insisting that he take the site down due to his use of the Facebook trademark. Citing the Lanham Act, Facebook asserted that the registration of the whilefacebookwasdown.com domain was a violation of the act due to being "likely to dilute a trademark" and has the potential to "confuse consumers as to the affiliation, sponsorship or endorsement of the third party's services". It seems highly unrealistic to me to think that anyone would perceive the site as an official Facebook product, and it is equally as unlikely to cause any harm even if they did. Unfortunately, Facebook have the law on their side and are seeing this as a serious infringement.

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Isles insists the the website is simply a fun coding experiment and has been baffled that Facebook would take it so seriously. As such, he has chosen to stand his ground and is refusing to remove the site, despite Facebook's objections. Going head-to-head with a legal team like the one employed at Facebook is always going to be an uphill struggle, but I for one hope that Isles is up to the task. For now, the site remains live, but for how long? Only time will tell.



Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF


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Facebook Threaten Lawsuit Against Elliot Isles' WhileFacebookWasDown.com Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 Rating: 5

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