Thursday, 7 February 2013

My Facebook Fiasco

Elephantjournal.com



Earlier last month, I logged onto my Facebook account and was directed to a page that explained I wouldn't able to access my page until I downloaded a Government issued, picture ID.

HUH?!?!?!

I tried again several times, but it kept sending me to the same page. I even changed my password and jiggled the cable—my knowledge of computers is limited. After these failed (shockingly) to change the situation, I went into paranoia mode.

Had I been hacked? Had I been reported? Was someone pretending to be me and secretly posting bogus coupons?

I had no idea. There was nothing on my personal page or my Author page that would cause this to happen.

I must have been hacked!!!

My husband checked my account and all was well. No pictures of naked debauchery or extreme political slogans. And thank God, no links to Taylor Swift videos.

Still, I didn't like the idea of scanning my ID and just sending it away without more of an explanation—especially since my drivers licence looks like a kidnapped journalist being held for ransom.

No one I knew had ever had this issue, and when I searched on-line most of the comments were ranting 'down with Big Brother, I hate the governement'.

Hmm...there were no answers that would help me. The FAQ section of Facebook only said that because of security reasons they could not discuss my account until they could verify who I was.

Grrr...

After two weeks of not being able to post on my Author page, I finally caved. I took my drivers licence, covered up everything except my date of birth, scanned it, then uploaded (as instructed) by Facebook.

And then I waited. Would it take days? Weeks?

Holy cheese farts! Three hours later I received an e-mail from Gus, from Facebook.

Hi Bethany,

Thanks for verifying your identity.

After investigating this further, it looks like we suspended your account by mistake. I'm so sorry for the inconvenience. You should now be able to log in. If you have any issues getting back into your account, please let me know.

Thanks,

Gus
User Operations
Facebook


I sent Gus a reply thanking him and the Facebook team for such speedy service. Then I asked,

As an author who uses facebook to build my professional platform, this suspension was extremely frustrating. I'd like to know why my account was suspended. Is there anything I can do to prevent this mistake from happening again?
 
To which this was my reply,


Hi Bethany,

We review reports carefully in order to decide the appropriate course of action. If your profile is reported and doesn't violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, we will ignore the report. If we decide that something reported does violate our Standards, we may take action on your account.

Unfortunately, for technical and security reasons, we are unable to provide further details regarding this. We apologize for any inconvenience.

To learn more about our policies, review the Facebook Community Standards:
https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards.

Thanks,

Gus
User Operations
Facebook


I had in fact reviewed the Facebook Community Standards already when I was first trying to figure out why my account had been suspended...nothing applied to me.

I decided this was all the explanation I was going to get. My suspension wasn't due to an international identity theft ring, it was just a mistake.

How anticlimactic.

Hopefully this post will help someone else if they, like me, have done nothing to violate the "Community Standards" but find themselves faced with the quandary to send Government ID to Facebook.

In my case, my account was reinstated quickly. And as far as I know, no one is buying diamonds in Cuba under my name.
 

Although, I secretly wonder if Gus is doing an experiment to see how long it takes perfectly normal people to send away pieces of Government ID over the Internet.

Which category did I fall in Gus?




8 comments:

S.P. Bowers said...

Gah. I'm not a fan of facebook. I have an account that I use rarely. In fact the only reason I have it is so i can get information for a job. Otherwise I would still be one of the few facebook free Americans. That said. I understand the uses facebook can have for authors so I'm trying to get used to the idea of having an author page should I ever get published.

Donna Hosie said...

This actually made the news over here because it happened to thousands of people. I'm glad you've got it sorted but what a mess.

Kami McArthur said...

What a mess! Glad you got it sorted. I've never heard of this happening before.

Elise Fallson said...

Facebook can be a nightmare. I've heard similar stories of friends who all of a sudden couldn't gain access to their accounts for no apparent reason. Glad you got it sorted and hopefully you won't have to go through that again.

Michael Seese said...

It sounds like you've got the basis for a modern thriller. Facebook, in its effort to take over the world, is demanding everyone's ID. Those who object are handed over to Gus, the COO (Chief Obfuscation Officer), who deflects their concerns away from the truth. The ploy continues, until two intrepid authors (notice how I've suddenly made this a partnership??) uncover the mystery and thwart their plans.

Lexa Cain said...

That's HORRIBLE! Blogger suspended my blog about 4 months ago and wouldn't give it back to me until I gave them my phone number. I buckled 'cause I like my blog. I almost never use FB (hate the whole idea) -- but I can see the problem since it's your author page. Still, it's just insulting -- it's practically blackmail. :(

Laila N Mysis said...

Don't have a Facebook *fist pumps* Maybe they just wanted your ID because - if it's as bad as you say - they intend to emotionally blackmail you some day :O BEWARE!!

Lee Tyler said...

I'm with many who have commented; I understand the need for an Author Page but am not a fan of Facebook. Though you, it sounds, are not alone in this, I find it very suspicious that ANY social networking space would require a Government ID. Unless they are operating as a commerce site and accept checks ( and who would do that?) there is not call for Gov't ID's to be required in any social networking operation, no matter how great and mighty Facebook feels it is, you should not be required to send sensitive govt documents to them because of a mistake or their part. So sorry you went through this.

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