So, an interesting thing happened to me last week – Facebook decided to put me on a temporary 30 day ban!
I was there (on Facebook), minding my own business, posting my own ramblings as per usual, when it kept asking me to fill in a Captcha. I thought it was a bit odd, but thought perhaps it was a security error and something to do with the browser that I was using (Safari), which I don’t usually use. Chrome was acting up on my Macbook at this time.
Anyway, this captcha thing kept popping up every now and again, so I kept filling it in. At one point it asked me to prove I was who I said I was by showing me pictures of some of my Facebook friends and asking me to verify who they were. Which again, I did! Then once again, it asked me to fill in a Captcha, which was my fatal mistake – I then mistyped it (by accident, of course).
Before I knew it a pop up told me I had been placed on a temporary ban. No further information, THAT WAS IT.
It turns out the type of ban I am on means I can 1. log on, 2. view my newsfeed 3. post a status update, including a picture and 4. send messages to people on my friends list, but that is absolutely it.
I cannot post anywhere else, I cannot like groups, or comments, or even properly admin the groups that I am admin for. I can literally just sit there and stare at the world around me without being allowed to comment. It has turned me into THE most selfish social media user ever, and it is completely and utterly frustrating.
So many of my friends said ‘It’s outrageous, why don’t you just speak to Facebook?” Have you any idea how hard it is to get in touch with anybody there. No, I didn’t either! There is no phone number or email. There’s a button that you can click if you have bug issues, which I filled in (twice!) only to never hear back. It’s like being trapped in an empty room with no key/ and no way out – but knowing there ARE people on the other side who can help you who are choosing not to listen.
I also tried to download a copy of my data, nervous now that Facebook can and will sweep the social media rug from under my feet and I will lose everything, but that hasn’t downloaded as usual (I expect it is because of this ban).
What it has taught me though is how fragile the cyber world is, and especially when something is free – to absolutely not take it for granted. They owe you nothing. It has also taught my that when your chips are down and life is a bit difficult (which it is right now) that a lot of my friend/support network are on social media, without it it has been very hard. I am not naturally one to reach out/ask for help.
If I wasn’t so bloody cross about it, it would be a valuable lesson, I’m sure. Once Facebook has been re-instated full for my, my plan of attack it so:
1.Download my FB data bi-weekly.
2. Un-link my Facebook account with all the external website I had linked it to.
3. Try to spend more time maintaining friendships away from Facebook.
In the meantime, I have taken the decision to temporarily deactivated my account.
I am going to grab this challenge of ‘no Facebook for a 3 weeks’ (I need a catchier challenge name), as MY personal challenge to enjoy the extra time with my children, clear the house of some clutter and get us better organised.
So do check back, to see whether I am surviving!