With nearly 3 billion registered user accounts, Facebook doesn’t need me. Or you. Or any of us. We are, of course, commodities to Facebook that their systems sell to advertisers. But honestly I did my best to avoid seeing Facebook ads. They could have banned me years ago for not looking at their ads, but they didn’t.
Earlier today I woke up to find that my account has been suspended. Again.
I’ve had 2 personal Facebook accounts over the years. The first one still exists. I can’t log into it any more. Facebook’s security systems think I’m a hacker or something. I gave up trying to recover the account years ago. It’s still live, still not being used, so far as I know.
I lost the second account once before. I went through all the hoops several years ago to get it back. I never learned what Community Standards I supposedly violated. Facebook doesn’t tell you what rules you break. They just punish you. (So, too, do other popular social media platforms – you log in and see a message saying “You’ve been naughty – you’re done!”).
When I saw the message today it offered to let me appeal the suspension. The appeal process on these big platforms is simple. You click a button. The system takes care of the rest for you. It’s a bit like being in a badly written science fiction TV show where the Klingon empire has gone to great lengths to arrest you and put you on a show trial before they send you off to Rura Penthe, the deadliest, most inescapable penal colony in the galaxy (except for Star Fleet officers – but I digress).
Facebook’s appeal process graciously allowed me to upload a picture of my driver’s license to prove who I am. How they’re supposed to know that is beyond me (2-factor authentication and all these photo verification systems are easily tricked by real hackers – but I digress). So I uploaded the photo ID and quickly received an email saying:
Well, I tried.
I was never a Facebook fan. The interface is horribly designed, the advertising experience is worse than an AdSense-laden blog (and I run AdSense on a lot of sites – I know whereof I speak), and quite frankly I don’t want thousands of friends whom I don’t actually know.
I don’t mind social media followers. I follow some people on social media. But I generally only accepted “Friend” requests from people I thought I knew or might want to get to know.
And I don’t share a lot of photos. I’m not a Selfy Guy, so I don’t upload pictures of me. I don’t upload pictures of my family. I’m actually quite the anti-social person. So it’s ironic that I’ve ever invested time in social media (for things other than marketing).
I occasionally posted long rants to Facebook and people would occasionally comment on my rants. I enjoyed the comments. I will miss hearing from those people … like … um, well, that’s beside the point.
I also helped to moderate several Facebook groups. I appreciated being asked to help. I’m an insufferable know-it-all, so it kind of goes with the territory that you feel obligated to help people (even when they don’t want help – I’ve been working on that).
I can’t say that Facebook group moderation has been fun. It’s been taxing. There are many people on Facebook who either don’t bother to read the group rules or who just think, “What the heck – I’ll get banned from 1,000 groups but Facebook will never notice.” (Technically, it doesn’t seem to notice the spammers very much.)
I was once banned from a Facebook group myself. I asked a question that I felt was appropriate for that group about a feature on Twitter. One of the admins blasted me. She was quite rude and nasty. So I blocked her. She immediately banned me from the group. I had no regrets. You’re under no obligation to accept abuse from anyone on social media.
I left a few groups I grew tired of. And I left 1 group because I blocked an admin there (knowing that I was violating a group rule – so I saved them the trouble of removing my highly-offended ass from their presence). That admin is an asshole. I have no regrets.
Still, people will wonder what happened to me. Some people. For a minute.
I’m writing this blog post in case any of my Facebook friends decide to share it (I won’t hate you if you decide not to).
Did I violate some community guideline? Certainly not intentionally. The last actions I took on Facebook were to share YouTube videos from the BBC and the Telegraph about Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. It’s possible those videos (or my #slavaukraini tags) triggered some filter.
I scanned Twitter to see if other people had lost their Facebook accounts recently. Apparently quite a few have. Then again, Facebook has nearly 3 billion users. They probably shed thousands of accounts every day. I’m sure Mark Zuckerberg weeps crocodile tears for those of us who can no longer rant on his social media platform.
There appears to be an account recovery scam on Twitter. You complain about losing your Facebook account and suddenly many people start recommending some Instagram account that will help you get your Facebook account back. Yeah, sure. I’ll pass, guys.
If you were in one of those groups I helped to moderate and you wondered what happened to me, this blog post tells you everything you need to know.
I Won’t Be Going Back to Facebook
I think three strikes are enough for a social media platform I never wanted to join in the first place. I only joined Facebook because so many of my real-life friends and family and co-workers kept sending me invitations to join Facebook. Joining was the only way to put an end to the Facebook spam (either that or figure out how to filter the incoming emails – I probably should have done that).
Even if the muckety-mucks at Facebook realize they’ve screwed up and sent thousands of legitimate, good Facebookers packing, it’s too late for me. I really want a break from Facebook. Their latest UI changes were driving me nuts anyway.
If you see “me” on Facebook after reading this blog post, know that it’s not me. My profile could be replicated by any fake account. I can’t do anything about that.
I won’t pay any social media platforms for verification. So if you want to know whether a social media account is mine, check this Website. I’ll link to it (well, the ones I care about the most). Check the sidebar widget on this page (from the desktop – if you’re using a mobile device to read this article, scroll down).