This Content is Not for You…
published by Holger Bartel on :: reading time: ~2 minutes
This is one of the things that I really dislike about Facebook and a good example of how the web was never intended to work. A client sent me a video and I clicked the link. Rather unsurprisingly, it took me to Facebook. Unfortunately it didn’t take me to the video or a page containing the video, but instead I was presented with the below, “I really am not sure what to think of this”-message.
Ok, I do get the message and what's happening here. Sort of. What I don't like about it is: Obviously the page I was trying to reach isn't there anymore. Ok, this is sad news, but as we all know, stuff like this happens all too often. The actual message though, leaves me quite confused:
“This content isn’t available right now” Ok, I can see that, but what does that mean? If so, it should result in a 404 status code. Is it gone forever? In this case I’d appreciate a 410 status code. The way it reads it sounds like it’s gonna be back soon. Holidays? Unlikely. Is it a technical problem that hasn’t been fixed yet? That’s another possibility, but again, I don’t know for sure.
“The link you followed may have expired” On my internet, links usually don’t expire. Ok, nitpicking aside, the only links that I know do expire are things like password resets, invitations and some other selected ones that have a session attached to them.
The page may only be visible to an audience you’re not in Judging by the latest patent application on determining a user’s social status, this doesn’t seem too far fetched. But: If I don’t have access to this content for whatever reason, I would really like to see a correct status code, which should either be a 403 if I don’t have the permission to view the content for whichever reason. The message I’m seeing is vague and written with psychology in mind, likely with the only purpose to make me find other things right away or come back soon, so I can re-validate my self-worth.
For the future I hope that these practices (as I assume this is not an accident, but a rather intentional way of writing) will be called out and hopefully disappear. Until then, I will likely click less and less on links like this one and I hope that other people will do the same, to regain some of what has been lost of what the internet was originally meant to be.