“While many users are abandoning Facebook, fed up with what seems like a never-ending series of privacy violations, a small cohort find themselves in the opposite position,” reports New York Times enterprise reporter Kashmir Hill. [Alternate source here.] “They’ve been kicked off the platform, and no matter how hard they try — and they try really, really hard — they can’t get back on…”
In Facebook’s version of a justice system, users are told only that their accounts have been disabled for “suspicious activity.” If they appeal — via a terse form that will accept only a name, contact information and an image of an ID — a mysterious review process begins. The wait can be endless, and the inability to contact a Facebook employee maddening. Increasingly agitated, Facebook castaways turn for help to Twitter, Reddit, Quora, message boards and, well, me. Because I have a history of writing about (and sometimes solving) people’s troubles with the platform, profoundly addicted Facebook users have found their way to my inbox, emailing multiple times a day for updates about their cases, which I do not have…
With more than 2 billion active members, Facebook has long been criticized for allowing bad actors to proliferate on its platform, from violent extremists to identity thieves. In May, the company announced that it disabled more than 3 billion “fake accounts” over a six-month period. “Our intent is simple: find and remove as many as we can while removing as few authentic accounts as possible,” wrote Alex Schultz, Facebook’s vice president for analytics, in an accompanying post… But the number of people complaining about disabled Facebook accounts has been going up for years, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission, which tracked three such complaints in 2015, 12 in 2016, and more than 50 in each of the last two years.
Once Facebook disables an account, Mr. Schultz wrote, it keeps the person behind it from rejoining by deploying “advanced detection systems” that look for “patterns of using suspicious email addresses, suspicious actions, or other signals previously associated with other fake accounts we’ve removed….” When Facebook reviewed 14 disabled accounts belonging to users contacted by The New York Times, the company said that just five had been banned with cause. Facebook suggested that the others should simply go through the appeals process again; most did, but none of their accounts have been reactivated so far.
According to the article, Facebook’s voicemail system tells callers to press one for phone support — then plays a recording saying “Thank you for calling Facebook user operations. Unfortunately, we do not offer phone support at this time.” Then it hangs up.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Source: Slashdot – The Facebook Users Who Can’t Get Their Accounts Back