A lot of people rely on Facebook to keep in touch these days. They think that it’s a safe way to keep in touch with family and friends even when they are far apart.
I want to tell you my story as a cautionary tale, because Facebook is full of arbitrary rules that mean you can get blocked or banned just because a group of people decide to start attacking you. And if that happens, you may lose your account forever. Here’s my story.
I joined Facebook in 2009 after having had a Myspace page when I was younger. As the platform has become more monetized, I have been less and less enthusiastic about it. But, since I live overseas, I kept the account as a way to keep in touch with people that I was geographically separated from. After all, when I lived in Korea it would have cost a fortune to keep in touch with people back home by phone or in-person. And that is still true in Guam.
The first time it was a problem was in 2015. I was on a military spouse page and everyone was talking about how the locals were thieves and would steal your stuff if you left it alone for even a moment. They were also claiming that the locals will break into your house and that they are all criminals.
I said this wasn’t true, and that I left my sandals and towel on the beach all the time when I went snorkeling and never had a problem.
That little comment lead to a torrent of harassment and bullying from several people who called me a lot of very bad names that I won’t repeat here. In addition to the awful names they called me, they said that I was lying, that I was disloyal, and that I deserved to get robbed and killed. Then they started reporting everything on my account to Facebook, and I was locked out.
That is when I discovered that there is no appeal process. If you are locked out of your account, there is no one that you can protest to. You cannot explain that you were just being bullied and haven’t done anything wrong. In fact, you have no recourse at all.
There is not even a phone number or an e-mail address. If you get banned for an arbitrary thing, Facebook’s policy is: Fuck you.
So, that scared me, since I am far away from people and I don’t like to feel isolated.
After the 30 day ban was up, I contacted my friends and reminded them about this blog, my YouTube Channel, and my second Facebook page as J.D. DeLemont for promoting The Jamie Johnson Trilogy, (a series of romance novels that I wrote.)
I hoped that everyone would save my contact information, since I had discovered that I could not trust Facebook. They are bias, and often let the victims of bullies be attacked while they do nothing. I had been bullied by racist military spouses, and they let it happen because there were more of them than me, and I didn’t report them first so obviously I was wrong.
My second encounter with Facebook being bias was just last month, in July of 2018. I had seen a video attacking FLDS Mormons for being a cult. As a person who grew up in Arizona around Mormons, I have seen a lot of sad stories of children being abused and women being kept from having any freedom or hope.
I simply said: “Don’t separate the FLDS out. I have never met a nice Mormon of any description.”
That is true, and I stand by it. I have had to help too many women out of abusive situations and help raise too many kids. I have seen what it does to teach women that they are inferior and deserve to be abused, and I don’t agree with it. I will not be shamed for that opinion.
A Mormon saw my comment, and it turns out that they are bullies just like military spouses. They reported it as “hate speech” and got all their friends to do the same. They also went to my page and started reporting every photo, post, and video. I will probably never be able to get back onto that Facebook page because of it.
And again, there is no appeal process.
However, I assumed that my friends would find me on my other page which I use to promote my romance novels, since I had posted a lot about it.
They did not.
Then, I thought I would try to add them with the new page that I made to promote my latest book, The New Testament of The Flying Spaghetti Monster; Dinner 2.0. (which you should definitely by because I am a starving artist.) It’s under a different name because I thought starting a religion under my real name might be a bit much, so I used the pen name “Violet Johnson.”
However, most of them denied the friend request and some even blocked me, in spite of my posting since April 2018 about my new book and the pen name I wrote it under.
(By the way, the page I made to promote the new book is here. Please “like” it. )
Will I ever talk to the people who did not follow me from my old account again?
I don’t have any way to get in touch with them. I gave everyone my contact information, but no one gave me theirs. It is possible that we’ll just never be in touch again. It would be a shame if that were the case, but you can’t say I don’t put myself out there. I am all over the internet, and you only need to search my name to find me. It’s not like I worry about my digital footprint being too big.
I would like to point out though (for the record) that neither my defense of the Chamorro people of Guam or my dislike of Mormons should be against Facebook’s “community standards.” Their policy of banning you if enough people report you is ludicrous, and it makes me wonder how all that racist and sexist stuff stays up. Clearly people support that stuff while reporting far less awful things.
It is worth noting that I have had plenty of people attack my Unitarian Church of Pasta page and say horrible things. I reported them to Facebook, but it does not violate their “community standards” to call Pastafarians “ignorant cunts” or “dumbshit libtards.” So you should all know where you stand. You can get banned forever if you say that you never met a nice Mormon, but if you say something bad about Pastafarians you’re fine. Apparently it’s only hate speech if it is against people who want to take away women’s rights and move society back 200 years.
Anyway, my e-mail is still email@example.com and you can still always reach me on Skype on any of my social media for The Unitarian Church of Pasta. The Unitarian Church of Pasta which is, you’ll note, not protected under Facebook’s “community standards.”