Facebook sent me an email to tell me someone had requested my password be reset. If I hadn’t made this request, they wanted me to let them know.
So, I clicked the “Let Us Know” button and was slammed with a notice my account was suspended and I had 30 days to contest, or it would be permanently disabled.
The notice was upsetting, but it also felt mildly threatening. They gave me no reason for the suspension but said I had to send them a copy of my driver’s license. Have you ever looked at your driver's license to see what is actually there?
I immediately did an internet search because this felt like a scam. Why would Facebook need my driver’s license to prove an account I hadn’t needed identification to open? And what reason did they have?
The last post I made on my personal page was about the death of a friend. The one prior to that was about my mother’s birthday. Mom would have been 110 years old this year.
Not very threatening, certainly not political, and definitely not criticizing anyone’s identity.
The One Time I Messed Up
A few years ago, Facebook reprimanded me for a post. One time in more than a dozen years. I shared someone’s video of a netful of tennis balls falling from a ceiling and someone’s ball-crazy dog going nuts to catch them all. I labeled it “Pennies from Heaven.”
Facebook removed the video, saying it was inappropriate.
I contested, and of course, met a dead end.
More at Stake
This time, I was a little more stressed. I had book proposals out with three companies whom I’d spent hours researching and then more hours personalizing the proposals for each company.
With the emphasis the publishing industry places on platform, I knew having my account on Facebook and Instagram (by association) suspended would not look good at all.
What to Do
I hesitated at sending a copy of my driver’s license to the morons who suspended my account without giving me a reason.
Then I considered the ways I used my accounts and weakened.
- Facebook and Instagram were the only contacts I had with some family members I’d not seen in a very long time.
- I had business pages connected to my accounts.
- The need for platform in publishing.
- Over twelve years of posting and connecting with people.
- Hundreds of memes I’d made.
- Almost 3,000 connections.
- Videos and reels.
- And the ability to visit with friends easily.
It felt weird.
What I Did
I'd received a dozen emails from Facebook about my account. One even told me the location of the computer trying to access my account and the software used. It seemed obvious I was not at fault.
Add to this, hours of research and days of stressing over the unknown, and I felt like I’d fallen into Alice’s rabbit hole.
So, I sent a copy of my license with my license number redacted.
Facebook wouldn’t accept a digitally enhanced ID. They sent me their policy of what they would accept. It clearly said they would accept an ID with unnecessary information covered on the original.
I used Washi tape on the original and covered my driver’s license number again.
I sent my license a second time.
What Facebook Did
Then I received the following email.
We’ve determined that you are ineligible to use Facebook. To learn more about Facebook’s policies, please review the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities:
Unfortunately, for safety and security reasons, we can't provide additional information as to why your account was disabled. We appreciate your understanding, as this decision is final.
I was kind of astounded, but not really. I’ve known others who had the same experience.
My personal page is gone but at the time I am writing this blog post, my professional pages remain. The Riding Instructor, Barbara Ellin Fox Author, Homeschool Horsemanship in Kansas City, U.S. Horsemanship, and a few more, have not been deleted, but I can’t access them at all. And I won’t ask anyone to access them for me because I don’t want to risk someone else’s account.
For a few days, I had a new source of stress. What would I do about marketing my books and courses when the time comes?
After a day or two, my spirit eased. I would learn another way to market, and it would be more stable than Facebook.
I realized the ability to contact people was the only use I had for Facebook. Beyond that, I felt FB was a huge waste of time.
Waste. Of. Time.
So why a huge waste of time?
I hated the horrible bickering, bullying, and unfiltered comments people made, especially during elections or when Covid was rampant. I disliked the way people made their lives seem perfect. At the same time, I was embarrassed for those who spilled their guts to the Facebook community as if they were visiting with a close friend.
Using FB distorts people’s filters. In some cases, there are no filters at all.
I Resent, but It's Okay if I Do
I resent a company begun by a single individual, having the power to affect the course of my life. Or yours. It’s no secret Facebook throttles user accounts by limiting an individual’s reach. If you think about how many friends you have on Facebook and how many of those friends actually see your posts, the small number is laughable.
And I resent my photos, things I created and posted, and the responses I received being owned by Facebook. When they shut me down, they took it all and didn’t give me the courtesy to save anything. Rude.
In case you think I’m trying to gain sympathy, don’t. I knew this about Facebook from the beginning. It’s why I have websites and newsletters. I am guilty of letting my newsletters and blogs slip in favor of other social media, but I still have them and intend to put more heart into the things I can control.
We All Know This, but it Feels Good to Say. . .
You (myself included in the past) are content creators for Facebook and Instagram. Mark Zuckerberg would not have the huge amount of money he has if it were not for the posts you and your friends (and others like you) have written. Zuckerberg made a fortune off Facebook. You and I have supplied the content that allows Facebook and Instagram to exist and grow. Without people like us, there would be no need for advertisers. Without content creators, there would be no Facebook.
In my opinion, Zuckerberg feeds off people who want to have a community and share with each other. Without content creators, Facebook and Instagram have nothing.
It’s a good business model for Zuckerberg, but a bad one for you. You’re not even treated well. You work for free for the company. It’s worse than the old relationships between serfs and lords, because all you get for your effort is a place where you can work for them more.
Also in my opinion, there would be no Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg would not be rich if it wasn’t for the free labor of content creators. If you are on Facebook and have made even a few minor posts, you are a content creator for Facebook.
Do This One Thing
I don’t intend to try to convince you to leave Facebook. I’d rather convince you to begin a newsletter and encourage all your Facebook friends to join you. Build your community away from Facebook. Give followers and friends quality content once a month (or more if you can) with a direct newsletter. Keep ownership of your work and own your email list.
It’s the best way to go forward.
Because We All Know (or -maybe it will never happen to you)
Facebook can dump you in a blink of an eye.
Be happy and put your trust in the right hands,
Barbara Ellin Fox
[…] just an aside, if you want to know how I really feel about Facebook, hop over to the blog on my author page at BarbaraEllinFox.com for a […]