Strange reversal by Facebook restores my account to normal

Before going to sleep last night I saw this message from Facebook.

I checked the acknowledgment and continued. After that, I saw I could again post in all the groups I was unable to before.

They never once said what the initial problem was. Or if they didn’t like my United News Reports page and unpublished it why that had the side effect of initially disabling my entire account for over a week, and then after letting me back in blocking me from making new posts (but not comments) in more than half my groups – but not all my groups. There was no pattern to it at all.

Anyway, things are back to the way they were now. Still, I don’t trust Facebook and have revived multiple alternate venues of communication including this blog, the social network software made by my company (great for private-labeled social networks for places like schools, churches, non-profits, clubs, etc., who want control over content and design and features), and also Reddit, which has very supportive diet and health groups I’ve been using since the Facebook troubles started.

I’ll continue to use Facebook, but just not rely on it being there. There is no user support (not even bad user support – there literally is none), and it is obvious we are their product and not their customers.

At any rate, things suddenly returned to “normal” (as normal is defined in the Facebook world).

Facebook has no support – think what that means

There is no user support in Facebook. Think about that. No user support to contact.

If you go to what is listed as support the best you can do is leave feedback and are told that personal replies are not possible.

One-third of the population of Earth are members. But there is no support. No humans to contact.

Are we crazy for using Facebook or what? I am feeling like a sheep that is part of a herd being experimented on.

I’m having real reservations lately.

Facebook re-enabled, looking things over, thinking about what to do going forward

My disabled Facebook account appears to be enabled again. There was no notification, I just happened to notice. I’m looking it over to see if everything’s there and if there is any indication of what happened.

It may have been restored naturally. Or maybe some emails I sent to suggested Facebook addresses, or a tweet to a known Facebook employee suggested to me helped. Or maybe my email to Mark Zuckerberg helped. It remains a mystery.

I looked things over though, and tried, without success, to find a way to inquire about what happened.

Support Inbox

In the Support Inbox there is no information about what happened. There is a dialog from April 2017 where they took down a post of mine. I objected, they apologized and said it was a mistake and restored the post. It was a link to a Washington Post article about Trump.

There was another post of mine from October 2020 where I made a joke about different election days for Democrats and Republicans. They asked me to take it down. I did at the time, but entered an objection. They just said thank you for your feedback. It was basically the same joke I posted in 2016 and 2012 about Republicans voting the day after Democrats to avoid crowds.

This is the entirety of my listed violations in over 10 years of being a member.

On the Support Inbox page it says I’m temporarily restricted from creating Pages until May 3 at 2:03 am. But it doesn’t say why except, “Our security systems are currently blocking you from doing something on Facebook, such as posting or sharing. This block is temporary. The length of a block depends on the severity of the violation and your history on Facebook.”

There is a link to appeal if I feel like it. I hadn’t planned on adding any new pages any time soon so I don’t know if it’s worth the trouble. I clicked the link to appeal out of curiosity though and it just said they could not process it at this time.

Groups I Manage

All the groups I manage are still there.

Pages I Manage

The pages I manage all appear to be there via the Desktop. However via the Facebook app on my iPhone is saying that United News Reports (my news page linked to a blog I post to) and Elliptics Domains (my company is a GoDaddy Reseller so I apparently created a page for that once, but forgot about it) are not visible.

If I look at the Elliptics Domains page it is just asking me to add more information, but not giving me any warnings. I must have not finished completing that page.

If I look at United News Reports reports it says it has been unpublished because it goes against their Community Standards. That happened the day before I got blocked.

If I look at the Community Standards all it mentions are graphic violence, hate speech, harassment, bullying, nudity, sexual activity and sexual exploitation. None of those were any part of that Page. If anything, it was the mildest Page of all. It just reported news I thought was interesting. I have a blog linked to it at https://unitednewsreports.com and I was wondering whether to continue it now that the election is over.

I clicked on Disagree with Decision but apparently all that will do is “use my feedback to make improvements on future decisions.”

I can still see the contents, and it really is quite harmless. The last entry is just an auto-post from my blog congratulating Biden.

My Trump Fact Book and my company Elliptics, Ltd. pages are there as usual. In fact just one minute ago I received a $5 offer towards boosting a post on Trump Fact Book. Weird.

I think it must be all bots doing this.

What to do going forward

I’m not going to up and quit Facebook. But I feel very different about it now. I don’t feel good about it. I don’t feel like sharing jokes and cute articles much. I probably will post more on my blog at https://lerner.net and maybe link those posts to my feed.

I’m also hesitant about using Instagram (owned by Facebook) any more. I think I’ll just post photos and videos to my blog. People who subscribe can see them, and I’ll post links to Facebook sometime. The point here is controlling my content and not having it suddenly taken away from me. I don’t want to be held hostage by Facebook again.

I’m also fixing up a social network I actually own, that my company created and hosts. It’s typically used by organizations like schools, non-profits, educational services, and private companies who want a private-labeled social network, where they completely control the membership and content and privacy, and can customize appearance and script it to add more features as they like. I have a demo site for it, and just renamed it lifemind.com today. Feel free to visit it and sign up if you like. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of Facebook, but it has some features that Facebook doesn’t, including personal blogs. You can create and join groups there, and make friend connections as well. I know very few people are going to bother joining yet another general social network though.

As for Messenger, I am not going to use that anymore. It would be too risky to suddenly lose contact with people again, and have them wonder what happened to me. I will take this chance I have to reach out to my contacts there and give them alternate ways of contacting me.

I want to thank everybody who was concerned about me going missing and making attempts to contact me during this time.

Life after Facebook (update, and photos)

I’m thinking at this point it might be hopeless to get back into Facebook. I read this report from somebody in what sounds like a similar situation, and he’s been waiting over a year to regain access. I also have not been contacted by a Facebook team member, even though I sent in confirming ID. When I access it just says my ID was received and to wait.

Right now I’m considering alternatives. But as I wrote in my previous post, it’s difficult to get people to join other places since Facebook has become such a monopoly. It’s hard enough to get people to subscribe to this blog. Please feel free to share this post and ask people to subscribe though, if they are interested in keeping in touch. People can subscribe here. You can post comments at my blog and see replies as well. And I may set up my own social network site and see who joins.

While I still have access to my Instagram account (owned by Facebook) I am loathe to use it. I just don’t trust them anymore. The same goes with WhatsApp.

In the meantime, unshared photos have been piling up, so I thought I would start showing them off!

Here are some seagulls along the Nakagawa while taking a walk with Pao. Click on the video to watch them fly.
Pre-dawn from my 3rd floor veranda.
Pao relaxing on my office floor. A first! I’m trying to get him acclimated so he can hang out more with me in here without destroying things.
Pao relaxing on a cushion (from his original bed) under the dining room table. I was thinking maybe a dog bed under there might give him an extra place to hang out comfortably.

Anyway, things are going on as usual. It’s a bit lonelier not being able to easily see what’s going on with my Facebook friends. But to be honest, letting a monopoly like Facebook take over a huge center of my life is probably not healthy.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve been sharing in forums for decades – since way before Facebook. I have always loved newsgroups, bulletin board services, forums, and places like that. I will probably set up one of my own and while I won’t expect everybody to join, maybe some will.

In the meantime, I’ll keep in touch here.