Is Syfy Trying to Block the Save Stargate Universe Campaign?

Syfail strikes again?

Well, this is interesting. A little bird told me to check out the routing on the various Syfy pages based on nationality…the page for http://syfy.co.uk, for example. Go ahead, go check out the link. It’s a pretty standard page and looks a lot like the US page (with the exception of having several shows running that we do not, but we’ll go into that at another time). Go down to the bottom of the page and take a look at the right-hand side. Social links, right? Now look at the Facebook link. Hover over it so you can see the link destination in your status bar. It should say:

http://www.facebook.com/SyfyUK

Okay, now that you noted that, go ahead and click it. Where did you end up? Well, if you were logged into Facebook and you are in North America, you are probably at your main feed, with a URL of http://facebook.com/home.php, and if you’re logged out, you should be on the main page, Facebook.com. If you’re not, please let me know in the comments. I would really like to see what is going on here.

Now, there are a few theories as to what is going on here. The most obvious is that Syfy wants their traffic segmented by nationality (or perhaps language), so they redirect attempts to go to other pages. However, this makes little sense, because why would Syfy want to steer its fans to their own feed, or to the Facebook main page?

Another theory is that it is an old redirection, from the days when we could use a lot more HTML on our fan-pages, and that now it’s simply broken due to changes in the Facebook code. I took a look at some of the code from a cached version of the page, but could find nothing particularly special. There are refresh redirects in the page, but they seem to be for the different sections of a given page.

So what’s going on here? Is it just a poorly maintained page? Is Syfy trying to segment its fans into nationalities, but the changes in the FB code are now rendering their efforts moot? Or are they working with Facebook and trying to keep the Save Stargate Universe Campaign, which is a multinational organization, Β from flooding their boards? It seems there is little way to know unless some Facebook or Syfy employee will come forward and tell us (hint, hint). There is a mystery afoot, dear readers, and I wish to understand it.

Readers from outside the United States of America, please read this:

If you are from outside the US, we would really like to know if you can reach the main Syfy page:

http://facebook.com/syfy

Does anyone have any ideas on what could be happening? I am normally not a conspiracy theorist; I think conspiracies require two things out of people that humans are really bad at: secrecy and working together. However, I note that the result of this is that the entire SaveSGU memberships simply can’t go to either of the main pages. With our numbers at this point (well over 50, 000 members and growing), we could actually raise quite a stink if we want to, and this odd little redirect keeps us from doing so quite effectively.

What do you think? And remember, if you haven’t already, to join SaveSGU on Facebook.

Update!

Thanks to the efforts of many of my Faithful Readers and our Fearless Leader, we have nailed down how, exactly, this was done. It appears that locale separation and redirection is built into the depths of the page preferences page:

Country Restrictions for Facebook Pages

This is the culprit.

It also appears that it is very uneven. Canada can get to both pages, while France can’t get to either (that one leaves me scratching my head). So now we know the how, the question remains as to the why. We have roughly 50,000 people on the SaveSGU page, and plenty of them have been involved in slamming the Syfy pages. If they were doing this all along, we would have known it months, or at least weeks, ago. So it seems safe to say this is a newer change, which leads me to ask “why now?”

However, as I have been getting back to in the comments, it doesn’t really matter what the “why” is; whether it is about us or not, the result is the same…our forces are split, and one of our primary modes of being heard has been, if not silenced, at least stifled. My suggestion to our Fearless Leader, as it has been for weeks, is escalation. What form that escalation takes and how you can be involved remains to be seen…stay tuned here, on the Facebook page, and on the SaveSGU tumblog. Please remember to like and reblog posts from these sources (especially the Tumblr site…it needs some love) and, as always, Faithful Readers…thanks for being here and reading!

61 thoughts on “Is Syfy Trying to Block the Save Stargate Universe Campaign?

  1. Karen

    I’m in the UK, so, when I click on the UK Facebook link I get the UK page, but if I click on the other I get my main page when I’m logged in to Facebook.

    As you mention this could all be to do with location and maybe they think that by keeping UK viewers to the UK page and other parts of the world to the other page, it may help them keep the fans segregated πŸ˜‰

    What I find funny is the UK page on has around 6,000+ fans! Not a patch on the SaveSGU page πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  2. alex

    I think Syfy has blocked us from its FB page because we wrote many things about SGU on their wall,some of them bad

    Reply
  3. Kelley Hirst

    I clicked on the link. I was logged in and the link in your blog post took me to my own home page. It would not surprise me if this was deliberate. Look at all the times the time slot was changed without any promotion every time the numbers got a little momentum. How many times was the time changed in the final 10 episodes?

    Reply
  4. George

    I am a website developer. I would like to say that this is not a SyFy thing, but would be a Facebook thing. Anything facebook.com/xxxx is directed by Facebook, not SyFy. If you look up the SyFy UK page directly through the search on Facebook, you will see that the url is actually http://www.facebook.com/pages/Syfy-UK/326095676186. This means they have not applied for a custom page URL. That part is SyFy’s fault but they have no more control over who sees their page than any page owner.

    Reply
    1. Neal Jansons Post author

      1. Of course they would have to work with FB. I’m a dev, too and I know that this has to be going on somewhere up the chain, probably in .htaccess.
      2. That’s not really their page. We went through that last night before I wrote this to make sure. The fan count is all off and it doesn’t fit the link from http://syfy.co.uk.
      3. Karen, as she mentioned, just went to the UK page and it has around 6k fans, while the page you show has 279. Either it’s a fan page or something their dev made and then forgot about, but it is not the official UK Syfy page, because Karen can get to it at the right link and has the right (and far more likely) fan count.

      My theory is that there are some services, such as multiple redirects based on locale, which FB makes available to the large corporations. Ostensibly, as I said in the post, this could be done to segment one’s analytics (although you can simply exclude a locale, but whatever, maybe they are lazy). However, it is a recent complaint and the SaveSGU horde has been attacking en masse for months, so the idea that it has been going on for a while doesn’t parse, either, unless it was just that no one, out of 50k people, noticed it until recently. Possible, but unlikely. Regardless the purpose, it effectively breaks the effort of the campaign into parts and softens any blows we could land. This is why the founder in all his glory and I have been discussing…escalation. 3:)

      Reply
  5. Nathan Turner

    This:
    “I’m in the UK, so, when I click on the UK Facebook link I get the UK page, but if I click on the other I get my main page when I’m logged in to Facebook.”

    Though I doubt this is an effort to screw over the Save SGU campaign, more an effort by facebook to give users relevant information. I honestly doubt that facebook give a crap about some little campaign to save a TV show, certainly not enough to set up a content filter. The SyFy pages are probably just set up to filter based on nationality.

    Reply
  6. Andi

    from here i cannot see syfy or syfyuk page.
    from facebook syfyuk is ok. I have banned from us site long time ago.Greetings from Hungary, and Hungarian fans never give up on SGU!

    Reply
  7. jrcortez

    Clicked on the last link mentioned. Page does not completely load, so I guess I can’t get on. I gave it about two minutes to load.

    Reply
  8. Jeff

    In Canada here… tried both facebook.com/syfy and /syfuUK links, both took me back to my main feed. Even when I search for these pages they will not show up.

    Reply
  9. Ian Z.

    Hello, I feel like this is completely obvious but perhaps not. Go to your facebook homepage, then do a search for “syfyUK” or “Syfy Uk” the facebook fan page for Syfy UK shows up and you can click on it. No manipulation or conspiracy theory.

    Reply
    1. Neal Jansons Post author

      I can’t. Several others can’t. Not to get to the official page, anyway. I can get to the Syfy-UK version with 279 fans, but not the SyfyUK one with over 6k and is linked from their main site. Trust me, this wasn’t my idea…I had someone else come to me with this, and we have figured out how it was done and how it works…the only question now is why.

      Reply
  10. Justin Zimmer

    It seems they’ve segregated the UK and US crowd. I can still get to the Syfy Latin America (www.facebook.com/syfyla) and Syfy Asia (www.facebook.com/syfy.asia) even Syfy Russia (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Syfy-%D0%A0%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B8%D1%8F/116621085015036) but Syfy UK doesn’t even show up in facebook search (except for http://www.facebook.com/pages/Syfy-UK/326095676186 which I don’t believe is official and has way fewer fans than what Karen mentioned above.)

    When you edit your page on facebook, you can enter country restrictions, and I’m pretty sure that’s what they did here, to keep the two fan bases separate.

    Reply
    1. Neal Jansons Post author

      Those might very well be old versions of the fan pages, however, that doesn’t explain what people in the UK and US are experiencing at all. On top of that, when we got the vanity URLs, that didn’t create new pages, it put a new alias on the old pages. The numbers you see are the social graph API objects of those pages. The UK page you gave, when run through the API via https://graph.facebook.com/326095676186 returns:
      {
      “id”: “326095676186”,
      “name”: “Syfy UK”,
      “picture”: “http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/41611_326095676186_2490_s.jpg”,
      “link”: “https://www.facebook.com/pages/Syfy-UK/326095676186”,
      “likes”: 282,
      “category”: “Website”,
      “website”: “www.syfy.co.uk”,
      “founded”: “Rebirth: April 2010”,
      “company_overview”: “Syfy is the UK home of V, Human Target, Sanctuary, Warehouse 13 and Eureka. At Syfy.co.uk you’ll find exclusive interviews, competitions, games, videos and all the latest news and blogs.”,
      “mission”: “Imagine Greater”
      }

      The second one, at https://graph.facebook.com/108086055893002, returns:

      {
      “id”: “108086055893002”,
      “name”: “SCI FI”,
      “picture”: “http://external.ak.fbcdn.net/safe_image.php?d=6069a4729f8bc967ff371abf2ce69934&w=100&h=300&url=httpu00253Au00252Fu00252Fupload.wikimedia.orgu00252Fwikipediau00252Fenu00252Fcu00252Fc9u00252FSyfy.png”,
      “link”: “https://www.facebook.com/pages/SCI-FI/108086055893002”,
      “likes”: 24748,
      “category”: “Tv network”,
      “is_community_page”: true,
      “description”: “u003cp>u003cb>Syfyu003c/b>, formerly known as the u003cb>Sci-Fi Channelu003c/b> and u003cb>SCI FIu003c/b>, is an American u003ca href=”/pages/w/113328332014488″>cable televisionu003c/a> channel featuring u003ca href=”/pages/w/108157509212483″>science fictionu003c/a>, u003ca href=”/pages/w/109558222395150″>fantasyu003c/a>, u003ca href=”/pages/w/108143065873065″>horroru003c/a>, u003ca href=”/pages/w/112537808757506″>supernaturalu003c/a>, u003ca href=”/pages/w/114245748591183″>paranormalu003c/a> and u003ca href=”/pages/w/109485562411827″>realityu003c/a> programming. Launched on September 24, 1992, it is part of the entertainment u003ca href=”/pages/w/105543436146546″>conglomerateu003c/a> u003ca href=”/pages/w/202567819767057″>NBCUniversalu003c/a>, a subsidiary of u003ca href=”/pages/w/105523912813955″>Comcastu003c/a> and u003ca href=”/pages/w/108364689184945″>General Electricu003c/a>. The name Syfy was officially adopted on July 7, 2009.u003c/p>u003ch2>Historyu003c/h2>u003cp>The Sci-Fi Channel was devised in 1991 by Mitchell Rubenstein and Laurie Silvers, two entrepreneurs from Boca Raton, who currently own HomeTown Cable in South Florida. In March 1992 the concept was picked up by u003ca href=”/pages/w/103128143061407″>USA Networksu003c/a>, then a joint venture between u003ca href=”/pages/w/108327129189603″>Paramount Picturesu003c/a> and u003ca href=”/pages/w/109285989089808″>Universal Studiosu003c/a>. The channel was seen as a natural fit with classic film and television series that both studios had in their vaults, including Rod Serling’s u003ci>u003ca href=”/pages/w/111913285492268″>Night Galleryu003c/a>u003c/i> (from Universal TV) and Paramount’s u003ci>u003ca href=”/pages/w/103741532998341″>Star Treku003c/a>u003c/i> and classic Universal horror films such as u003ci>u003ca href=”/pages/w/107833365906480″>Draculau003c/a>u003c/i> and u003ci>u003ca href=”/pages/w/108245362529363″>Frankensteinu003c/a>u003c/i>. u003ci>Star Treku003c/i> creator u003ca href=”/pages/w/112116778804238″>Gene Roddenberryu003c/a> and author u003ca href=”/pages/w/113217322025188″>Isaac Asimovu003c/a> were among those on the advisory board.u003c/p>”
      }

      Now, the interesting thing, and the thing that makes me think your theory is off (though well-thought) is that the founding date in the UK page is 2010…which is a year after we got the vanity URLs. So it doesn’t really make sense that they are old pages from before the vanity URLs, even if for some unknown reason they made new pages for their’s rather than simply wrote an alias onto the old one. As you can see from how the API works, the name in the URL means almost nothing at all, it’s the number that’s important, and that can be hidden.

      Thanks for looking though! Now we know that Canada is only partially affected. Add that to my data, Karen’s data, and Jeremy’s data, and it all seems to be about splitting the US and UK. Now, I would have to dig deep into the fan base on the page, but what would you like to bet me that the largest two contingents among the SaveSGU campaign are from the UK and US?

      Reply
  11. radix

    Hungary, main facebook syfy site is redirecting me,, syfyuk the same, if i’m logged in. If I am logged out, then it is facebook main page

    Reply
  12. yakulto

    errr.. it’s a page setting for facebook where they restrict the access of a specific page to a country, in this case either US or UK. That’s why users outside are not seeing the page.

    Try creating a page on your own and restrict it to a country to see.

    Reply
    1. yakulto

      Country Restrictions

      Entering one or more countries means that only people located in those countries listed will be able to view your Page. This also means that logged out users will not be able to see your Page. If no countries are listed, your Page will be visible to people located in all countries. You understand that you are responsible for setting the proper country restrictions to ensure that the content of your Page is appropriate for the country or countries where you allow it to be visible.

      Reply
      1. Neal Jansons Post author

        And there we see the method. We only started getting reports of this recently, so they must have changed it relatively recently. While it may be a coincidence, and I am still going to suspend judgment, the result is the same regardless of their reason…our forces are split.

        Reply
        1. Justin Zimmer

          Then we’ll just have to rely on tissue boxes and communication stones. Those will make have of an impact anyways, and Craig Engler can’t call that Spam. Aside from the US site and the UK site, the Asia site has 11k likes, but isn’t restricted. This could be something as simple as separation on the basis of conflicting programming, so I don’t personally think it’s an affront to the movement. It was done recently though, as I was on the real UK page only a few weeks ago. The “syfy-UK” page might be a cover. I’d be interested to see if http://www.facebook.com/pages/Syfy-UK/326095676186 is visible in the UK.

          Reply
  13. julie

    Neither link works in Australia either and there are a LOT of unhappy fans in Australia too. We might not be quite as big in population as the UK and US, but we are avid sci fi consumers – we actually don’t even have a syfy channel here. We have a SciFi channel and it actually shows science fiction – my understanding is they are not linked to syfy (thank goodness for that!)

    Reply
  14. zeighy

    I can’t open up BOTH the USA and UK SyFy page at all… and I used to was able to open the USA page previously, but now I can’t… hmmmmmm

    Reply
  15. Mr. try this

    If you know how to set your browser up to proxy, route it through a UK i.p. and you will be able to access the UK site. Facebook does have different sections for different parts of the world…detected by ip origin.

    So much for bringing the world together eh?

    Reply
    1. Justin Zimmer

      I think they actually use something else. I routed through a proxy out of Europe and the pages were still blocked/visible in the same way they were then I logged in from the US.

      I’ve searched a bit on this and this page is the best I’ve found:
      http://forum.developers.facebook.net/viewtopic.php?pid=349234

      I tried setting my language to “English (UK)” to no avail. I even set my current location to “London, United Kingdom” (even though it was previously blank) with no success. Facebook must be storing this as a history of some sort. I cleared my cache, my cookies, used a proxy, in every case it somehow knew, or at least falsely remembered that I’m connecting from the US. Either way, it’s way more complicated than an IP lookup, and kinda scary when you think about it!

      Reply
  16. Heather

    The interesting thing is that you can access is manually with no problem, so it’s not that it’s restricted by country at all. I searched for it, found it, and ‘liked’ the page, but the link here and on the syfy.co.uk site still takes me to my homepage rather than the Syfy UK page. Something is definitely afoot.

    Reply
  17. David

    Please look up the words theory and hypothesis. Stargate misuses the words all the time. Anybody that writes an article and misuses these words is just dumb.

    Reply
    1. Justin Zimmer

      Hmmm, theory has many definitions:

      a : a hypothesis assumed for the sake of argument or investigation
      b : an unproved assumption : conjecture
      (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/theory)

      Seems to me they were used just fine in this article. Perhaps you should take your own advice, lest you come off sounding “dumb”? Though the two terms have very specific contextual applications in the field of science, they can be interchangeable most of the time in purely rhetorical contexts.

      Reply
    2. Neal Jansons Post author

      Anyone who isn’t comfortable enough with themselves intellectually to speak in common colloquialisms when they’re appropriate to the context is just pretentious. See how those blanket statements work? :p

      I don’t need to look them up. I TAed philosophy of science. I just don’t care and use the words as they are commonly used. If that’s the kind of thing you have to add to the discussion, perhaps you would be more comfortable correcting the grammar and spelling on Digg?

      However, just to be absolutely correct and exacting…last night, when I got the phone call about this, Fearless Leader and the people who contacted him had made an OBSERVATION. He and I then formed a HYPOTHESIS and began to gather data to test that hypothesis. Once we had enough evidence that was commensurate with the hypothesis and showed that it was EMPIRICALLY ADEQUATE, it became a THEORY.

      However, due to the typical Kuhnian/Quinean problems of there existing at least two incommensurate but empirically adequate theories, there is no way to choose between the two (it is related to the SaveSGU group vs. it is a way of segmenting their fans for analytics or some other purpose) and we are left with simply reacting to the results.

      There, happy?

      Reply
        1. Neal Jansons Post author

          Don’t feel dumb, bro. I have two degrees in philosophy, and my program’s focus (before I quit to do this) was logic and philosophy of science. I have specialized training to talk in such ways. Not knowing jargon is not the same as being “dumb”, but truly dumb people often think it is. And you wouldn’t believe how much the mathematical and formal logic helps with SEO…I’m actually using my philosophy degrees in my professional work! Take that, business and finance departments at UCSC! Sorry…I have baggage. :p

          Reply
  18. Khan

    I’m from America and I can get to SyFY USA, SyFy Asia, and SyFy Latin America, but not SyFy UK. Why else would this be except that it’s a deliberate attempt to segregate the US and UK fans?

    Reply
    1. Neal Jansons Post author

      Yeah, if you look at that bit of code I posted from the headers, there is a refresh redirect going on, but I have no clue what “0” equates to in their DB.

      Reply
  19. Trudy

    I’m in the UK and I can access the US and the UK Syfy pages on Facebook. I was blocked on my main Facebook page, but I have a second account which allows me access no problem. I also went to the actual Syfy.com page and again it allowed access no problem. It is indeed very strange that some people seem to gain access while others can’t! However, seeing as how I can gain access, I would assume that it is not a deliberate attempt to stop people accessing their page, but some kind of fault in the facebook link. I know its the real Syfy page I am accessing as well because of the posts on the wall and it reads as having 317,458 fans. Anyone else able to access without any problems?

    Reply
    1. Trudy

      Ok just tried to access the Syfy UK facebook page through their website and got re-directed to my own facebook wall.

      I reckon its just a dud link. Has nobody thought about the fact that Syfy UK is not a massively popular channel in the UK and that they haven’t bothered updating the link?

      I love Sci-fi, but I never or at least very rarely watch Syfy UK because I don’t need to, Sky shows an awful lot of their programming as do a lot of the more popular channels here in the UK. Syfy UK doesn’t even show any of the Stargate franchise as Sky owns the airing rights in the UK, Sky also owns the rights to air BSG and Caprica! And seen as how if you have the syfy channel it means you have access to sky 1, why would you bother watching Syfail?

      Reply
  20. Yopop

    What the hell are you talking about? It s always been like that, you just never checked it before. A lot lot of networks are doing that. I m belgian and i don t have access to any of them, i can t even access french networks. Beside it doesn t prevent people from accessing sgu page.

    Reply
  21. Shayne

    great article but Im in Ontario Canada and cannot access any SYFY pages at all with any computer and even while using my android phone with a seperate account

    Reply
    1. Neal Jansons Post author

      Okay, so now it’s regional? Most reports were saying Canada had access. At this point I have to wonder if they are still fiddling with these settings on the other end. Not to mess with us, but because it seems like it was something they just started doing.

      Reply
  22. Dave

    You are right about the FB links, they don’t work at all in Germany. Seems it is a new strategy to try and get rid of us!

    Reply
    1. Neal Jansons Post author

      No problem, sir. Everyone, here we have the illustrious Andy Bailey, creator of CommentLuv, the neat little plugin that lets you link your last blog post to me (and I set all comment links to do-follow to pass the love around).

      Notice, Faithful Readers, that if you register, you can choose from between your last 10 blog posts. I’m just saying. πŸ˜‰

      Reply
      1. Justin Zimmer

        Thank you Andy, now I’m actually registered! Watching your video made me realize I was just “Subscribed” and not actually “Registered”!

        Reply
        1. Neal Jansons Post author

          See there? We learn something new every day. Great boon to the Syfail/SaveSGU movement as well. Got the logo nice and centered, along with the headline. Thanks again, Andy!

          Reply
  23. Maureen Murray

    Then again im UK. and you will be able to access the UK site. 1. Of course they would have to work with FB. If you search on your facebook page for either the US or UK sy fy page you can link to them then.

    Reply
  24. Mike

    I clicked the Facebook icon and it took me to the homepage. I tried writing the URL in the address bar but again homepage. I think the page doesn’t exist on Facebook.

    Reply

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