Apple Store bans Facebook?

Have you noticed how every Apple retail store is always packed with teenagers who are hogging all the demo machines? They’re obviously not going to buy Macs, so what are they doing? The answer is, apparently, FaceBooking. But,

In an effort to thwart off time-theft and loiterers, Apple has decided to add Facebook to the list of banned websites at retail locations nationwide. When I asked some of the genius’ today whether or not anyone noticed the change, they all said that Facebook stopped working sometime in the past week. One of the genius’ said “Apple Stores have become a regular Internet Cafe, so placing the most popular time-killer [Facebook] of them all on the banned-list will certainly help everyone get a chance to test out the computers”.


LATER: Dave Hill passes on a link which casts doubts on this:

Or is, just possibly, not true?

I know from experience that some Apple stores put limits on where on the Web you can take their demo machines — sometimes restricting Safari to Apple’s promotional pages.

And it’s certainly possible that individual stores have blocked Facebook — as MySpace has been blocked since May 2007 — because some of its members were hogging the machines.

Indeed, Ars Technica quotes an unnamed Apple employee who says his store has been blocking Facebook for about a month.

“It’s just trying to find a balance between letting people try out the computers, but not tying them up so others can try them as well,” he told Ars. (link)

But a person at Apple headquarters in a position to know assures me that there is no nationwide ban on Facebook in effect — permanent or otherwise.

I’m headed to the nearest Apple store to check it out. If you’re in one now, let us know in the comment stream where you are and whether the demo machine you’re using will let you get to your Facebook page.

UPDATE: CNET’s Caroline McCarthy beat me to it, did the legwork, and confirmed that Facebook is accessible at all three Manhattan Apple Stores, although as suspected there are individual machines in those stores that will redirect you to an Apple Store page.