Banned by eBay, This Guy's Holding a Real Life Auction for His Facebook Password

The account will now be sold at an auction in Brooklyn on Friday night.

May 15 2015, 6:35pm

A screengrab of the artist’s account, which will be auctioned off in Brooklyn today. Image: Nick Schmidt/Facebook

The Brooklyn artist auctioning off his Facebook profile has been forced to find a new venue for the project after eBay shut down his sale on Tuesday.

The account, which Nick Hugh Schmidt is auctioning off as a kind of social experiment, had gotten 35 bids over the course of the one week it was live before eBay shut it down. A representative from eBay told Motherboard by email the sale was terminated for violating the company's "mailing lists and personal information policy" which prohibits the sale of "social networking items, including but not limited to social networking profiles or accounts."

"It raised another question of, if these sites can sell your personal information, why can't we sell our own?" Schmidt told Motherboard. "That was kind of the focus of the project, but then I was scrambling to keep it going and keep it alive instead of just letting them take it down and ending it there."

At the time the sale was shut down on eBay, the highest bid was $165. Now, the account will be auctioned off at a venue in Brooklyn on Friday night starting at $0.99.

Schmidt said he has hired a professional auctioneer to come out to the event and auction it off. He is interested to see how someone whose job it is to sell items in auctions will show attendees the value of something as obscure as a Facebook page.

"This guy sells millions of dollars worth of art in auctions, so this should be a walk in the park for him, in a way," Schmidt said.

Like a traditional auction, they will begin with "warm-up items"––smaller items auctioned off before the main piece. In this case, they will start by selling various functions of the Facebook account. Before Schmidt passes it along to the winner, bidders have the opportunity to pay to do things like make the final post on this Facebook wall.

"We'll start the bidding off at a dollar for anyone who wants to message their ex or whatever so I'll go onto my account and send it off to them," he said.

Schmidt, who has done work in the past involving allowing strangers to take control of his private information, said eBay shutting down the sales has shifted the focus of his work in some ways.

"This will be cool because eBay is anonymous with auctioning, but this adds another element of it," he said. "Whoever buys it or bids on it we can see them, that will add an interesting component."

Schmidt said he has no rules or expectations in terms of what any potential winning bidder does with the account.

"That, to me is the fun part," he said. "I'm setting it all up, and then it's turned to them to see what they do to it. It's pretty open ended."

If you are in New York and interested in buying the account (or buying a final post to Schmidt's wall) bidding starts at 8 pm in Bushwick.