Facebook is a broken system and I hate it, part III

I had written about Facebook woes last winter, here and here. Well, now my account has been permanently disabled. The last straw, for them, was a meme I posted two. years. ago. (And it didn’t violate community standards, then or now.)

They aren’t even letting me download all my info like they’re supposed to. This is an account I’ve had since like 2004. I’ve had it since back in the days when you had to be a college student to get an account.

I haven’t done anything wrong. It’s just the stupid moderation bots, as I discussed in the previous entries linked above, who don’t understand the difference between a historical meme educating someone about World War II, and a pro-Nazi meme.

I kind of knew this was coming. The same thing has been happening to a lot of people for a long time.

No, it’s not really possible to just make a new account. No, I can’t contact customer service. Facebook doesn’t really have customer service.

This is really quite catastrophic. Leaving aside the social consequences of suddenly being cut off from all my happy online friendships (and I miss them all horribly)… I need Facebook to run the Charley Project. SO MUCH missing persons stuff is on Facebook. This is a critical source of information, almost as big for me as something like Google is, that I’m suddenly cut off from. Without an account I can’t even search Facebook for anything.

[EDIT: And to all the people suggesting I simply make a new account, I’ve tried. It can’t be done. I’ve tried different names, email addresses, phone numbers. I’ve tried using a VPN to hide my IP address. I can’t start a new account; they all get suspended immediately.]

35 thoughts on “Facebook is a broken system and I hate it, part III

  1. T April 16, 2021 / 2:51 pm

    What can we do to help?

  2. JH April 16, 2021 / 3:55 pm

    You just need to start another account under another name, use another email and start over. Don’t post stuff that the bots moderate…….and just keep it simple. That way you can access it for the missing persons stuff.

    • Meaghan April 16, 2021 / 4:22 pm

      You don’t think I tried? It’s not as simple as that.

  3. Ellen April 16, 2021 / 3:56 pm

    So can you be Meaghan Ellen Johnson? . Good trouble, necessary trouble

    • Meaghan April 16, 2021 / 4:25 pm

      It’s against Facebook TOS to have a second account. Though many people break that rule, it’s damn near impossible to start another account after you’ve been banned from the first. I tried. Multiple times. Accounts were immediately suspended.

  4. Terri April 16, 2021 / 4:15 pm

    Let us know how we can help – maybe your husband could create a separate FB account for TCP and you could use it? Brainstorming here – we can think of a workaround 🥺

    • Meaghan April 16, 2021 / 8:33 pm

      You’re not allowed to have more than one account. I’m afraid even to use his on his computer because if they find out more than one person is using that account it’ll get Zucked too.

  5. Shari Salem-Kizziar April 16, 2021 / 4:17 pm

    Maybe try this you tube link

  6. Thomas Cole April 16, 2021 / 4:57 pm

    Meaghan,

    That stinks. Perhaps from the start they should have charged for FB and a lot of problems would have been solved in addition to customer service being nonexistent. I think I’ll download my FB stuff in case they do that to me. A wholesome anti-xenophobia cartoon I made was marked as hate speech and deleted. It contained a quote by certain politician and that’s what got it deleted. I hope you get your stuff back.

    Yours,

    Tom Cole

    • Meaghan April 16, 2021 / 5:00 pm

      Zuckerburg has more money than he has any right to; he could certainly afford to set up a customer service department and recruit more human moderators. But he has no incentive to, since Facebook doesn’t have much in the way of competition and thus no reason to improve things. Twitter and Reddit are very different platforms, Instagram is owned by Facebook and everything else is too small.

  7. Chris Mielke April 16, 2021 / 5:45 pm

    Hi Meaghan.
    Concerning facebook, may I suggest this for CP supporters.
    I phoned facebook HQ @ 650-853-1300;
    pressing 1 for facebook;
    pressing 2 for law enforcement.
    As you said, “No phone support”
    But if you are law enforcement with an “ imminent matter” you (we!) may email records@facebook.com, and enter imminent matter into the subject line, and someone will be in touch!
    I would suggest that all of us CP supporters, friends and family, email as suggested above, expressing our support for you, and our unhappiness with facebooks treatment of you.
    Maybe if enough of us harass someone there, they will do something.
    Maybe someone has a better contact idea?
    I will do this myself if you give me your OK to do so.
    Good luck! cam

    • Tracy April 16, 2021 / 6:28 pm

      I will email as well. If we come up with a form letter of sorts, and write en masse, if may get some attention. Meaghan, I know what you mean about MZ and his failings. I gave up trying to get FB to stop a group that had been formed to harass me. However, your situation is so very important – the work you do is extraordinarily important – if we all band together, we may be able to get enough attention that someone actually does something. It will be bigger than a single person trying on their own.

      I’m also willing to back up my emails with mail to FB. Yeah, I know, archaic, but sometimes archaic gets attention. Hang in there.

      • Meaghan April 16, 2021 / 8:32 pm

        Thank you so much.

    • Meaghan April 16, 2021 / 8:32 pm

      I do appreciate the gesture. By all means do it. It can’t hurt, might help.

      • Tracy April 18, 2021 / 5:21 pm

        See my other response re: emailing records@facebook.com. Short story: sent to second email at FB. Will also print out what I wrote and mail it to members of Congress who may be concerned. And to FB HQ. Will let you know if I hear anything at all. I encouraged them to contact you directly.
        Stay well, Meaghan.

    • Tracy April 18, 2021 / 5:20 pm

      So, I sent an email to records@facebook.com, and received an auto response telling me that this email address will soon be “deprecated”. Uh huh. However, they provided other contact information, which I then sent the email to. I sent it to records@records.facebook.com.

      Just an FYI.

  8. Chris Mielke April 16, 2021 / 9:02 pm

    And as Tracy mentioned, real letters, snail mail, is good too.
    Another thought….who are your federal Congress and Senate people? Let them know what facebook is doing to you. After all, they have constituents who are missing, and families missing their loved ones. And I will phone my federal reps Monday, asking if they know about CP. After all, there are several hundred missing people in their districts, Have they heard of Rachael Anderson, missing since 2010? Brian Ritchie, missing since 1999? Lynette Culver, missing since 1975?! CP is used by both law enforcement and web sleuths. Facebook is interfering with all that and more. (and these reps currently have no fondness for facebook.) If just 10% of your CP supporters did something like this, who knows?
    All the best.

    • Meaghan April 16, 2021 / 9:03 pm

      Unfortunately politicians don’t have much power to interfere with how a private company like Facebook does its business.

  9. missingmysteries April 16, 2021 / 10:03 pm

    Can we utilize the press to push FB to bring you back? You do have some press connections, I’d think, and maybe we can put together a media release about how CP has: helped locate missing persons; helped bring attention to cases; has never bashed or abused the press; and how the shuttering of the CP FB page doesn’t help anyone or anything and can only hurt. We’d have to do it as a grassroots thing, but it can be done; the adage that the squeaky wheel gets the grease fits well here and I think we can use it. Maybe you can start by reaching out to your many connections (esp those with recognizable history in missing persons cases) and asking each one to email you with a paragraph about how your site has helped them and their causes. Then we broaden the circle and reach out to others past that. And we culminate with a big social media push. We can do this, Meaghan! We can! I can donate some funds if they’ll be of help; let me know.

    • Chris Mielke April 17, 2021 / 2:04 am

      MISSINGMYSTERIES sounds like she/he knows what she/he is talking about. Let’s do this!

    • Adelhaide April 17, 2021 / 9:57 am

      I’m so sorry you are going through this Megan!

      I agree that extensive media coverage of how Facebook is harming the search for missing people by shutting down access for the Charley Project might be able to pressure Facebook into addressing the issue.

      I know you have done a lot of interviews over the years, perhaps you could contact the various the journalists and media outlets you have previously worked with?

      It’s a huge corporate injustice that should be exposed.

  10. Applesauce April 17, 2021 / 7:19 am

    Failbook is absolute trash. I hate what the internet is turning into. They will delete innocent accounts for the dumbest ish but then leave up violent white supremacist organization pages despite them violating their TOS. I ragequit twitter for the same reason. You can get permabanned there for some really silly things, like not having a profile pic, but somehow someone posting racebait or advertising CP is okay.

    I am really sorry, I wish I could tell you that something can be done; realistically, you can’t do anything. Once they ban you they put link a kind of tracer to your devices. And they’ve always blocked VPNs to stop spam. It is actually kind of sad, because Facebook used to be quite fun in the early days. I remember using it as a teen and enjoying it, now I don’t even recognize it anymore. But society worships people like Zuck and Dorsey because they’re rich men in the tech industry, so nothing will change anytime soon.

    • Meaghan April 17, 2021 / 7:51 am

      Yeah, Facebook is a super evil company and democracies the world round have fallen in part because of it. And as you mentioned innocent accounts like mine get in trouble while I see white supremacist accounts, actual Nazism (not World War II history), health misinformation, spam etc. running rampant.

      But so many of my friends are there and I miss them a lot and feel absolutely wretched.

      The only thing I can think of to do is use my husband’s account on his computer for research and laboriously transfer the images back and forth on a thumb drive.

      • Ashley April 17, 2021 / 11:03 am

        I’d delete/edit this comment cuz FB will go looking for that sorta stuff and could ban him as well. I have friends who were banned for the duration of the 2016 election cycle for posting in support of Bernie (account was unlocked once the election was over). People banned/jailed for phrases like “white trash” or “whale” (gaming term for someone who buys a lot of micro transactions) but actual slurs and KKK sorta stuff is still JUST FINE. I mostly use FB now for marketplace, groups, and ambiguously updating friends – I use other platforms to actually interact with my friends. Less info FB has about me, the better!

  11. J. Leon April 17, 2021 / 5:45 pm

    “Unfortunately politicians don’t have much power to interfere with how a private company like Facebook does its business.”

    Thank God there were some guys around back in 1787 who weren’t totally on board with that assessment, expressing their reservations thusly:

    “The Congress shall have Power…to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes…”

    And to save everyone’s Google fingers, that’s from Article I, Section VIII of the Constitution.

    Last I heard, Facebook didn’t just operate in one state. And the din rising over whether a certain Mr. Zuckerberg is getting a bit big for his britches doesn’t seem to be subsiding. Antitrust hearings, anyone?

    “Mr. Chairman, the next witness appearing before the Committee will be Meaghan Good, operator of the well-known missing persons website The Charley Project, who will provide the Committee with evidence of the difficulties inflicted upon her efforts to assist the publc and law enforcement by the anticompetitive activites of…”

    Hey, it could come to that. It may need to. Sometimes, as the late Rep. John Lewis reminded us, trouble is unavoidable. Sometimes you have to make “good trouble.”

  12. g2-505714d38a414a778f1569bd5a650752 April 17, 2021 / 7:10 pm

    It might sound dumb but there were cases when people called them out using Twitter and the ban was miracullously lifted after a few angry Twitter posts. Might worth a try.

    • Meaghan April 17, 2021 / 7:11 pm

      I have called them out on Twitter. Multiple times.

  13. dawn April 17, 2021 / 10:28 pm

    Congress is paid off by Zuckerberg. Just sayin’.

    • Meaghan April 17, 2021 / 10:28 pm

      Certainly he has enough money to buy all of them.

    • Tracy April 18, 2021 / 4:55 pm

      Congress doesn’t have enough money to make it worth his while.

  14. Zed April 19, 2021 / 2:26 am

    Argh, that totally sucks. I expect this sort of thing is happening to a lot of people, so hopefully some more user-friendly platform will gain enough traction replace it, but I know that will take a while. What’s the best way to keep in touch with you?

    • Meaghan April 19, 2021 / 6:26 am

      I’m on Twitter and Instagram as meggy_head

  15. Larus April 21, 2021 / 5:51 pm

    In very extreme circumstances you could take drastic measures, by buying a new computer (although that might be a bit extreme) and get a new internet service provider. Then go online and make a new email account and use that to sign up on Facebook.

    Also, I noticed Jarrod Duke Johnston isn’t listed on CharleyProject, but there’s probably a huge backlog. Thanks for all you do.

    • Meaghan April 21, 2021 / 6:56 pm

      I mean my computer is pretty old and should probably be replaced at some point, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

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