Five ways to get banned from Facebook

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For users who struggle to spend more than a few hours away from Facebook, a lifetime ban from the social network might seem like a harsh measure, but it may surprise you to learn that many of us are already sailing close to the wind, by unknowingly flouting some of the site's most important rules.

Here are five ways that you could get banned from Facebook.

Using a false name
A quick scan through your Facebook "friends list" is bound to reveal at least one alter ego or alias. But while adding a little color to your name may seem rather innocuous, it could potentially cause your account to be banned or even deleted completely.

According to the Facebook community standards, a user claiming to be another person, creating multiple accounts, or falsely representing an organization is in violation of Facebook's terms of use. So, while a small name change may not automatically result in a ban, posting the wrong alias could have serious consequences.

Posting copyrighted content
Facebook states its users are prohibited from posting copyrighted or trademarked content on the site without prior permission. That said, many users post copyrighted content on their Facebook pages every day without ever drawing the ire of the site's administrators.

Currently this remains something of a grey area for the site's users, says Robert Siciliano, online security evangelist for McAfee.

Siciliano says Facebook and just about every other website are always under pressure from media companies to scrub their sites of copywritten content.

"These companies rely on users or the media companies to complain and bring attention to it," Siciliano says, adding that there are different regulations set by different countries.

Despite these uncertainties, it's important to keep in mind that uploading a song, YouTube video or other copyrighted material onto your Facebook page could potentially result in a lifetime ban.

Adding too many friends                                                
Sending out scores of friend requests might seem fairly normal. After all, the object of Facebook is to build a network of online connections by adding "friends" to your account. However, overzealous users might find themselves with a ban if they send out too many friend requests over a short period.

This serial friend requesting is a classic sign of a spammer, and so can potentially send up a red flag to the site's administrator, compelling them to pull the plug on your Facebook account.

Uploading obscene material
It may seem like a no-brainer, but all too often, users have been expelled from Facebook for uploading lewd or inappropriate photos and videos to their page. Whether it's embedding an unsavory video on your wall or uploading obscene material to a photo album, breaking Facebook's strict policies about unsuitable content will likely lead to a lifetime ban.

Unwelcome promotion
At some point, we've all been the victim of extensive promotion campaigns from a friend or organization plugging their latest event or product. While it probably won't apply to the average user, businesses or agencies that use Facebook as a marketing tool can easily find themselves banned for breaking the site's guidelines on promotions.

Although promoting to "friends" or "followers" is usually considered acceptable, the site's community standards page specifies that users should not be contacted for commercial purposes without their consent.