NORTH POLE, Alaska — Facebook reinstated Santa Claus’ account this week after suspending his access and demanding proof of identity on Christmas Day.
The North Pole City councilman, who legally goes by the name Santa Claus, said he has held the account for eight years. He has more than 300,000 likes.
The social media company was contacted Tuesday about blocking Claus’ access. A spokeswoman said by email that the account was suspended by mistake, and the company released this statement: “We’re very sorry about this mistake. The account was removed in error and restored as soon as we were able to investigate. Our team processes millions of reports each week, and we sometimes get things wrong.”
Claus said he was never given a reason for being blocked and was asked to verify his identity multiple times.
“They just don’t believe my name is Santa Claus or I live in North Pole,” he said in an interview hours before his access was restored.
Claus said he sent multiple forms of proof of identity, including copies of his passport, Alaska driver’s license and his letter of appointment to the North Pole City Council. Claus also provided Facebook a letter of appointment to the Alaska Public Broadcasting Commission signed by Gov. Bill Walker.
He felt singled out because others on Facebook claim to be St. Nick.
Claus said he is the only Santa Claus on Facebook who actually lives in North Pole and legally goes by that name.
“I just can’t believe somebody, particularly on Christmas, would take me to task,” he said.
He goes on Facebook just about every day, he said, posting comments and memes with messages such as “The magic of Christmas is not the presents, but in His presence” and “That breath that you just took ... that’s a gift.”
“I try and get nice quotes,” said Claus, adding that he enjoys interacting with people in the comments.
He thought about switching to Twitter or some other social media platform, but said he preferred to maintain his Facebook page because he’s built up a large following.
Claus said he has been contacted by Facebook before and asked to prove his identity.
He wrote this Facebook post after his access was reinstated: “ ... I realize and am grateful that Facebook has afforded me a ‘free’ platform to express and share my views for more than eight years. Thanks to local news media, KTVF and the Fairbanks News-Miner, Facebook eventually relented and admitted it had made a mistake.
“I am blessed to live in a relatively small community and have friends and neighbors and hundreds of thousands of folks who like my page who are willing to help right wrongs, perceived and real. My Facebook page is a labor of love, and I would never intentionally abandon you. Thank you for your understanding.”
Contact staff writer Amanda Bohman at 459-7587. Follow her on Twitter:@FDNMborough.