In all my years uploading to bulletin board (BBS’s), instant messaging through AOL (AIM), posting comments and articles, I have never been blocked or reported as an abuser. That’s over 35 years. Not a single problem.
I don’t post derogatory things. I don’t use foul language and don’t post epithets. I’m in the minority because I try to post intelligent comments despite surrounded by nastiness, name calling and nonsense.
And now, in 2016, I find myself blocked. To make matters worse, I don’t know why I was blocked, I don’t know who reported me and I don’t know when this block will be lifted, if ever.
To be clear, this is not devastating. It’s merely irritating. I can avoid sites that use the Facebook Social Widget for commenting. What was really an eye-opener for me is what little recourse I have and how well Facebook, Inc. has done in blocking your ability at contacting anyone at their organization.
This block is not uncommon. A quick Google search yields that a number of people have been blocked this way. Some have fruitlessly posted on Facebook’s Support Page (as have I) only to receive a nondescript automatic response and no way to appeal or speak to anyone about the details.
If all this is confusing, let’s start with the basics and the actual message:
This is an excerpt from an NFL.com page comment section. You’ll note the ridiculous comments because the article is about the Patriots and Tom Brady. All I typed was “test” and clicked post. I am not allowed to post a comment. That’s all the message tells me. I was not aware until at some point I went and posted somewhere other than Facebook that uses this widget and this message started popping up.
Facebook has a Support function where you can search their knowledge base or post your own questions. Searching their knowledge base led me to find others with the same problem. Some dated from years ago. None had an answer from Facebook.
Here’s a screenshot from the support inbox showing my repeated posts for assistance. No response.
I even went as far as finding Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook account and sending him messages.
… and guess what? No response. Not surprised much by that. I figure Mark isn’t really my bud.
So next I figured I’d call Facebook’s help line. For such a large organization there must be some way to contact Facebook, no? So I searched and came up with:
That’s the phone number. But it’s all automated attendant. No matter what option you use, you cannot reach anyone and cannot leave a message.
Well so….how about LinkedIn? Yes yes! I searched LinkedIn and found the following:
Finally! A human who works at Facebook. There were others, but her kind face spoke to me. Oh Usha!
And I reached out to Usha for a connection, and…..
Wow, I thought, this is going to to do it! I’ll message her politely and ask for assistance and hopefully will retain her as a connection. So I sent her:
See how nice I was? I just need some assistance – some guidance, Usha. Please?
Well, that was 6 days ago with no response. Oh Usha.
Facebook has been able to make itself completely inaccessible for any assistance. You cannot speak to a person. They will not allow it. And they reserve the right to block you without any explanation. It is their platform, after all.
Now, this could be because of some obscure security setting I’ve setup. But the fact that others have had this same issues points to something else.
The only reason I’m on Facebook is that I have a hobby band (called Wills and the Ways, if you want to do me a solid and Like that page!) and honestly Facebook is the best way to share information with fans, friends and family.
The closest competitor, Google, has a support phone number. Every other platform I reviewed had a support number. Not Facebook.
Other organizations reply to support questions posted in their “support center”. Not Facebook.
I’ve contacted other organizations, including ones as large as BMW, via LinkedIn in order to find a contact. BMW responded. Not Facebook.
I’ve read some suggestions that I could create another Facebook account using a different email, but that’s a heck of a lot of trouble. I’d have to relink my band page to it, upload new content itself.
A classic Hobson’s choice: create a new page and lose everything or lose the ability to post comments on third party sites.
For now I’ll wait – and will post any progress I make.