Full disclosure here: I have been a huge fan of social networking through the evolution of AOL chat rooms, BBS, Usenet, Friendster, MySpace, and eventually Facebook. Even through all of the negatives around their security policies and on-the-fly changes over the past couple of years, Facebook has been my favorite. I’ve always backed them with friends, and shown friends how to set those settings properly, and make them aware of just what they’re showing on the Internet.
Facebook became my personal online “hub.” All of my pictures that are, for the most part, not stored elsewhere, as they were direct mobile uploads, as well as trade shows for work, big mod projects on various cars, holidays and vacations with friends, all stored on Facebook.
Facebook reconnected me with high school and college friends, and long-lost friends from various towns I had thought were gone for good. All-you, Facebook!
About a week ago, I went to login and noticed something…. odd. I received a warning page that you get when you type your password wrong…
Hmm. That’s weird. Wonder why my account got disabled. I bet someone tried to hack into my account. GOOD FOR YOU FACEBOOK! Thanks for recognizing that and locking it down! So I went to the FAQ and here’s what I saw:
Put in my email address, full name as it’s listed on the account (Nick Howell), and entered my DOB. I put a “To whom it may concern” comment in the additional info, requesting more information about why my account was disabled, and what steps neededto be taken to get it back online. Hit Send, and went on about my day, not really too concerned.
This is where the proverbial shit hit the fan. At this point, I hadn’t gotten too wound up about this. Accounts get disabled all the time, not a big deal, I’m sure something triggered some sort of automated filter, and I’ve never had any problems before, gotten no warnings about friending too many people (I only had ~100 on this account).
About an hour after I sent in the response, I got this back:
HA! No, seriously, my initial response was a gut laugh. Obviously someone made some kind of error (I’m in my mid-30’s) and this is all fixable.
And then I read the last sentence a little more closely….
This decision is final and cannot be appealed.
Umm. Yea, not laughing anymore. It would be easy to write this off as tangible and disposable. If they didn’t have the ransom of YEARS of photos, communications via Messages, and friendships/relationships exclusively maintained through Facebook, I’d walk away laughing, and go update my Google+ page. Or even start a new one.
I sent in another notice via the same method, notifying them that they have made a mistake, and that if they took 30 seconds to actually look at my page, they would notice that most 12 years olds don’t have two cars, a job at a Fortune 500, and parents in their 60’s.
Guess what I got back? Same canned automated response.
So I went BACK to the disabled user page, and found the “appeals” page that allows you to upload a picture of a PhotoID, and uploaded and clear copy of my driver’s license. This was done on April 3rd, 2012.
Today is April 9th, and as of 16:53 EDT, I have yet to receive any sort of response.
I’m hoping that this all gets cleared up. I’m hoping I get my account back. I’m hoping that someone from Facebook actually reads this and can escalate it. At a minimum, I’m hoping they’ll at least send me a zip file with all my photos and messages in it, and I’ll go on my merry way.
I’m also hoping that as soon as you read this post, you’ll go into your Facebook Account Settings, and used the “DOWNLOAD” link to make a downloaded copy of all pictures, messages, and wall posts for yourself.
Because at any moment, unbeknownst to you, you could lose it all.
UPDATE! Today, April 16, my account was restored. Between this post below, several internal and external emails, I was able to garner the right group’s attention to look into my case, and all was resolved with a very personal and apologetic email. Glad they were able to do the right thing.