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Is there any way to appeal Facebook's disabling of an account? (1 Viewer)

Thomas Newton

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Hi,

A couple of days ago, I created a FaceBook account. I put in my profile information, reposted an anti-bullying message from an old colleague/friend, and made a few positive, informative posts about the value of practicing enlightened (intelligent, creative, flexible, country-over-party, truth-based, try-to-make-everyone-win when you can) self-interest … both to the country, and as a way of getting more of what you want.

(When people in a large group engage in Daffy-Duck-style behavior, they waste much time fighting each other to a standstill or worse instead of solving their shared and individual problems. When they work constructively/cooperatively, we reach heights like defeating the Nazis, making the U.S. the richest country in the world, wiping out smallpox, and sending men to the Moon. We can and should be reaching for the sky like that more often. Practicing enlightened self-interest in large groups can be tricky and requires learning/practice (like reading/writing), but the payoff is well worth it. The more of us who "get it", the more valuable practicing the skill becomes to us all. And part of the glue that holds a democracy together is for most/all citizens to freely choose to act in this way … "a house divided against itself cannot long stand" (Lincoln); something that George Washington also understood and warned us about in his own way.)

Note that I am NOT promoting any particular political end here … but rather, a style of working that lets citizens more constructively/productively resolve their political and business differences, whatever those might happen to be.

FaceBook disabled my account, then reversed it. Then they disabled it again – only let me upload a photo of myself but not file any other appeal. Eventually I found a customer service number and called and they said that some people might have tried to get into my account from four other places, and that they would get back in touch with me within 24 hours (via cell phone or e-mail). I never gave my password to anyone or saw any evidence that hackers had succeeded in posting anything under my name.

Now when I try to log in, I get

Your Account Has Been Disabled

You can't use Facebook because your account, or activity on it, didn't follow our Community Standards.
We have already reviewed this decision and it can't be reversed.
To learn more about the reasons we disable accounts visit the Community Standards.

As far as I can tell, I have not violated their Community Standards, but they are locking me out of an explanation or an appeal anyway! I don't even know if I can force them to delete all the valuable personal info in my profile (my last choice). And they haven't called or e-mailed yet, although technically they have until this evening to keep their customer rep's 24 hour promise.

Long-time HTF readers will know that I can express strong opinions, but that I am NOT abusive.

Help!!!!!
 
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jcroy

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And they haven't called or e-mailed yet, although technically they have until this evening to keep their customer rep's 24 hour promise.

Unless FB is contractually or legally obligated to do this, in principle they don't have to reply.

Non-legally binding promises are worth absolutely nothing, if there is no severe penalty for violating such promises.
 

Thomas Newton

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Unfortunately, winning any kind of appeal with facebook or Big tech is unlikely. They can get away with stuff like this because as a private company, they dont necessarily have to observe rights granted under the first amendment

I don't think there is a legitimate problem with anything I entered or posted. The way their system is set up, once they cut you off, you don't have any good way to contact them to make a case! It was only by Google searching + blind luck that I found a support phone number; most of the appeals features described in their Help simply don't work once they disable your account – a classic Catch-22 if there ever was one! (E.g., use this form to send us your name + e-mail + a picture of a photo ID; but then the form won't let you send the data if you're not logged in; and if you're logged in, you can't access that form.)

Comments removed by Moderator: Please, referencing a current political figure is a slippery slope to a subject matter forbidden on this forum. We're not going there!
 

jcroy

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That seems like a basic ethical obligation even if it might not be a legal one.

Since Facebook is a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq, everything they say officially will likely be vetted through their legal department.

However you choose to define "ethical", everything has to be seen through the lens of legal liabilities and american securities laws (ie. the body of law which cover companies traded on the stock exchanges) for a company like Facebook.
 

Clinton McClure

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I stopped using Facebook several years ago after they were caught using apps appearing to be from other companies not related to Facebook (like a VPN and a women’s cycle tracking app) to gather personal, private (and sometimes protected medical) information from people and sell it to advertisers without their permission. I asked that my account be deleted which I have learned in the years since probably just means setting visibility to zero and my account info and any posts including pictures I uploaded are still sitting on a server somewhere because Facebook never really deletes anything.

As far as using Facebook to enlighten people to do things like defeating the Nazis, making the U.S. the richest country in the world, wiping out smallpox, and sending men to the moon, remember all of that was accomplished well before facebook’s existence.
 

Thomas Newton

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As far as using Facebook to enlighten people to do things like defeating the Nazis, making the U.S. the richest country in the world, wiping out smallpox, and sending men to the moon, remember all of that was accomplished well before facebook’s existence.

Yes, and we defeated the Nazis before we had the ARPAnet and the Internet. Now that we have the Internet (an invention comparable to the printing press), what's the problem with posting constructive messages instead of leaving it only to ([edited to avoid identifying any specific person/group] the people in this world who are spreading lies and/or hate)?

I harbor no illusions that posting one or two messages about the benefits of working in constructive, cooperative ways will transform the world overnight – but the difference in results (at both the individual and country levels) of practicing enlightened self-interest (over the Daffy Duck kind) is so potentially enormous that it would be irresponsible to be completely defeatist and not even try to let other people know what is at stake.

President Washington predicted that party / faction over country would enfeeble government's ability to serve the public good; would inflame passions and open the door to improper foreign influence; and would even spark occasional riots and insurrections. Sound familiar? And he predicted that more than 200 years ago! He also said that unity in the sense of putting country before faction (when resolving differences) was one of our most valuable achievements; something to be guarded carefully.

We have let this aspect of civics / rational debate slip for far too long – and although I do not want to get into specific political applications here, we have paid dearly for neglecting to teach / learn these generic skills that are so useful in producing better results in a variety of contexts (business, careers, and stability of our democracy).
 
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Thomas Newton

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We have let this aspect of civics / rational debate slip for far too long – and although I do not want to get into specific political applications here, we have paid dearly for neglecting to teach / learn these generic skills that are so useful in producing better results in a variety of contexts (business, careers, and stability of our democracy).
The idea that constructive, cooperative pursuit of self-interest beats the I-win-by-making you-lose kind is not so hard to understand once you think about it.

It's the practice that can get complicated and tricky, due to several interacting factors:
  • People's emotional/irrational nature, and fight-or-flight survival reflexes (which make change seem like it is only a threat, not an opportunity)
  • The misconception that "survival of the fittest" is all about dog-eat-dog competition, when Nature uses mixtures of anything (competition, cooperation, generalization, specialization, blind luck) that happens to work
  • The tendency to confuse brittle "requirements" phrased in terms of existing implementations with more abstract self-interests that leave more flexibility for reaching acceptable compromises and win/win solutions
  • Communications scalability issues inherent in large groups of people
  • Emergent and chaotic (butterfly effect) behavior inherent in large groups
  • The advantages of combining technical leverage, business leverage, and organizational leverage – and disadvantages of not being able to do so
  • The two-edged nature of infrastructure and entrenched business models in providing high leverage for small changes/tweaks to old technologies/models, while making transitions to inevitable new technologies/models seem less attractive (often until it is too late for the organization that failed/refused to adapt)
  • The tendency of employers to pigeonhole people based solely on what they have done for the last 10 years – not based on all of their competencies and interests
  • High school / college students picking careers based only on what interests them (without regards to what the world needs & will pay for & what they can do well); or conversely, picking careers in which they will be miserable just to put food on the table.
This creates a "perfect storm" where people think that constructive ways of working are naive and destructive ways of working are key to survival. Kind of like how naive swimmers caught in rip currents try to save themselves by swimming directly against the rip currents to shore … an "obvious" solution, but the one most likely to exhaust them and cause them to drown … a really "attractive" death trap!

The safe way to escape a rip current seems counter-intuitive, but is not hard to remember if you have been taught about it in advance. Likewise with all of the subtle traps that make people think that they can't work together constructively. Learning to evade the traps may be non-trivial, but it beats falling into them.
 
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Thomas Newton

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I've lived my entire life without a Facebook account. You'll survive.
---------------
I know that I'll survive without a Facebook account. That doesn't mean that I have to like what seems to be arbitrary treatment, compounded by lack of ways to contact them (even to ask them to delete their copies of my personal information). Imagine if you updated your Home Theater Forum profile and made an innocuous post and found yourself locked out with no recourse or explanation or contact methods. That doesn't happen here, but if it did, my guess is that it would annoy you for a day or two before you put it behind you.

Nor am I condemning FaceBook as a whole. As always, other people's mileage may vary.
 

jcroy

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I know that I'll survive without a Facebook account. That doesn't mean that I have to like what seems to be arbitrary treatment, compounded by lack of ways to contact them (even to ask them to delete their copies of my personal information). Imagine if you updated your Home Theater Forum profile and made an innocuous post and found yourself locked out with no recourse or explanation or contact methods. That doesn't happen here, but if it did, my guess is that it would annoy you for a day or two before you put it behind you.

This has been my online life for a very long time on many forums in different/independent niches ! ;)

I get banned all the time for arbitrary or no reason at all that the admins are willing to disclose. Very frequently with no appeals.
 

Thomas Newton

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This has been my online life for a very long time on many forums in different/independent niches ! ;)

I get banned all the time for arbitrary or no reason at all that the admins are willing to disclose. Very frequently with no appeals.

Sorry to hear that … that hasn't been my general experience. There is one site that I visit that used to have an "Off Topic" forum but nuked it. Too many users were conducting extreme political and religious flame wars (not mere discussions) even after being asked and told to stop. When that forum went, so did many other threads (humor, cats, etc.) that were not causing problems, but that were too numerous to manually identify and save. But the moderators did manage to keep those particular flame wars from infecting the rest of the site.

At least we have our official cat thread!
 

ScottHM

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I know that I'll survive without a Facebook account. That doesn't mean that I have to like what seems to be arbitrary treatment, compounded by lack of ways to contact them (even to ask them to delete their copies of my personal information).
You don't have to like it but it's their playground and they apparently don't want you around. The best way to ease your frustration is to move on to some alternative.
---------------
 

Thomas Newton

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Update: No call back or e-mail from them by the supposed 24-hour deadline, assuming that the phone number was even theirs.

I found a disturbing article on NPR about a different phone number promoted as a FaceBook support number where the people were not associated with FaceBook, but answered "FaceBook", then proceeded with a classic "buy gift cards and give us the numbers over the phone, and only then can we do anything for you scam."


I didn't encounter anything like that (and wouldn't have fallen for it), but I did confirm my e-mail address, home address, and phone number.

Then I found this:
https://800notes.com/Phone.aspx/1-877-398-6240

Suggesting that this was a scam number too, even if the people at this number did not try that fraud on me. Maybe when I described my situation in detail, it flustered them enough to throw them off script.

Leaving contacting the real FaceBook as a Catch-22.
 
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jcroy

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I generally assume that if I cannot find a customer line phone number on any company's billing statements I get and/or on their official website, then most likely they do not have any customer service via telephone.

I never trusted phone numbers I see on non-official web sites.
 

jcroy

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I didn't encounter anything like that (and wouldn't have fallen for it), but I did confirm my e-mail address, home address, and phone number.

From the scammer's perspective, this is very easy to "play act" over the phone. The keystrokes one might hear over the phone, is the scammer entering the data into a file or database of stolen/pilfered data. It would "sound" almost identical to entering in data to do a legitimate database search.

Essentially it is "aural theater", for lack of a better description.

(Stolen/pilfered personal data can be also sold on black market forums on the "darknet").
 

jcroy

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(More generally).

This type of data is frequently not used by the actual scammers. They don't actually use stuff like: stolen credit card numbers, social security numbers, apple/google gift card numbers from conning victims to "pay up", etc ...

All this stolen/pilfered data is likely to be sold in large packages in online black markets on the "darkweb". The folks who actually buy such data packages, are the "experts" who are able to get as much cash transferred overseas before the american/european banks are able to catch on.

The few times where the actual scammers are likely to use stolen/pilfered "data", is if the victims are conned into "paying" something with bitcoin or other digital cryptocurrencies.
 

StarDestroyer52

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The thing is Facebook and other social networks can remove any account they want at their discretion and there's not really a lot you can do about it since you agree to their TOS when you register your account.
 

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