I am legit wondering if I’m ever going to get out of Facebook Jail

Remember how I said Facebook had said they would let me out of jail on January 23 but this was their third date change and I doubted it was going to happen? Well, it didn’t. They changed the date. Now it’s February 8. And remember, I should have been out in December.

This is obviously some kind of glitch, one that might get fixed in an instant by some customer service person. Except Facebook doesn’t have customer service. So I am still locked out of the Charley Project’s Facebook page.

I’m trying not to get all upset about it because there’s nothing I can do. This isn’t even a huge honking social media catastrophe, by Facebook standards. There are people I’ve read about who have run businesses through Facebook, investing gobs of money, only to lose said businesses overnight when Facebook canceled their accounts without warning. And they have no more recourse than I do.

Tiktok girl, searching through ponds and other stories

Honestly… it’s been ten days and it’s still very hard for me to take my mind off of the situation or to get much of anything done. I really wish I would not live through any more major historical events; I think I’ve endured more than my share already. But I’m trying, guys. I really am.

Oh, and an update on my Facebook woes: my release date from Facebook Jail has been moved from early February to late January. 6:26 a.m. on January 23 to be precise. I have no idea why and I’m not sure Facebook will honor this release date, since they didn’t last time.

Arizona: They’re still looking for Elizabeth Emma Breck, a 46-year-old teacher who disappeared from the Sierra Tucson behavioral health center in Saddlebrooke in January 2019. She had just arrived a few days earlier for a thirty-day treatment program for PTSD. Nothing significant to report regarding her disappearance, just that the anniversary was this week.

Arkansas: There has been much talk over the last couple of days that a dark-haired girl with bruised eyes in a viral Tiktok video was Cassie Kay Compton, who disappeared from Stuttgart in 2014, at age 15. The FBI says they’ve identified and spoken to the Tiktok girl and it’s not Cassie. They haven’t released her name, but she has been identified elsewhere as Haley Grace Phillips, a Los Angeles woman.

California: They’re looking to see if David Emery Misch, the man recently charged in the 1988 murder of nine-year-old Michaela Joy Garecht, who was kidnapped from a Hayward supermarket and never found, was also responsible for the disappearance of thirteen-year-old Ilene Beth Misheloff from Dublin in 1989.

Connecticut: They’re released an age-progressed image of Vanessa Morales, a two-year-old girl who was last seen in from Ansonia on November 29, 2019. The cops found Vanessa’s mother murdered at home on December 2, with no sign of Vanessa. I’ll add her to Charley soon.

Florida: They’re still looking for Mary Opitz, a seventeen-year-old girl who disappeared from Fort Myers back in 1981. They’re also still trying to solve the murder of Mary Hare, whose abduction and killing may have had the same perpetrator as in Opitz’s case.

Illinois: They’re still looking for Steven Robert Asplund, a 32-year-old tool and die worker who disappeared from Moline on January 9, 1994. The 27th anniversary of his disappearance was a week ago but there’s nothing new to report.

Iowa: They’ve finally canceled the Amber Alert for Breasia Terrell, a ten-year-old girl who disappeared from Davenport in July. She is still missing.

Michigan: Brad Cournaya, the longtime suspect in 34-year-old Krista Robin Lueth‘s 2008 disappearance from Lansing, has been charged with her murder. Her body has never been found.

Mississippi: They’re still trying to identify a little boy whose skull was found in a drainage canal in Sharkey County in 2014. No other remains were located. He was estimated to be between 5 and 7 at the time of his death, which may have occurred up to several years before he found. Preliminary DNA results indicate the boy was black, and probably has relatives from Sharkey County and the surrounding area.

Kansas: Some divers from an Oregon-based organization searched two ponds in Leavenworth County for Randy Wayne Leach and his mom’s car, which have both been missing since 1988. They didn’t find them.

Maryland: They’re still looking for Andre Thompson, a sixteen-year-old who disappeared from Baltimore on June 23. He may be in the Glen Burnie area.

Michigan: They have located fifteen-year-old Gloria Alvarado, who was missing from Taylor for 75 days. She is alive and well, and had run away with a seventeen-year-old boy because her parents would not allow her to date. She has returned home.

New York: They’re still looking for Joseph David Helt, a seventeen-year-old boy who disappeared from Ellenville on January 17, 1987, thirty-four years ago tomorrow.

Nevada: They’re still looking for Cassandra Ayon, a 27-year-old woman who disappeared from Loyal back in October. In particular, the police are asking for public help for info on a red or maroon SUV that may have been on one of the residential side streets near Unity Trailer Court, which is where Cassandra was last seen.

North Carolina: They’re still looking for Ebonee Shanetta Spears, a 30-year-old woman who disappeared five years and one day ago. Nothing new has been reported though.

Also North Carolina: In Winston-Salem, they’re still looking for two missing adults: Lucinda Farris, who disappeared from in June, and Eliseo Ernesto Gomez-Martinez, who disappeared in November. There’s no indication the two cases are related.

Oregon: They’re still trying to identify a child whose body was found near a rest area in Lincoln County on December 10. The little girl had dark brown or black hair and was between six and a half and ten years of age at the time of her death, which occurred at least a month before she was found. Cops have ruled out several possibilities for the girl, including five-year-old Dulce Maria Alvarez, who was abducted from a New Jersey playground in September 2019.

Virginia: The police have reclassified the 2010 disappearance of 19-year-old Samantha Ann Clarke from a missing person to a kidnap/homicide. They have not said whether they have any current suspects in the case, but Randy Allen Taylor, who was found guilty of murder-without-a-body in the 2013 disappearance of seventeen-year-old Alexis Tiara Murphy, has been mentioned before.

Wisconsin: They’re still looking for Daajane Morgan, a sixteen-year-old girl who disappeared from Milwaukee on March 6.

Canada: They’re still looking for Alyssa Turnbull, a young woman who disappeared from Nipigon, Ontario in late March 2020.

Also Canada: Six patients went missing from the now-defunct North Bay Psychiatric Hospital in Toronto, Ontario between 1966 and 2010. They have never been found.

England: They’re still looking for Andrew Gosden, a fourteen-year-old schoolboy who disappeared from London in 2007. Andrew Gosden and another English missing person, Charles Horvath Allen, have both been featured recently on the podcast The Missing.

Trinidad: They’re still looking for Kelly Ann Seerattan, a 25-year-old kindergarten music teacher who disappeared from Princes Town in 2011. The article has some quotes from Kelly’s mom.

Re-read what I wrote. What I wrote does not mean what you think it means

I thought I made it pretty clear what was going on in my blog posts about my Facebook woes (here’s post one and post two for reference) but apparently I didn’t because a bunch of commenters have gotten the wrong impression. In fact I’ve had to delete some comments and block one guy from commenting altogether because he kept ranting, and I need to set the record straight:

The problems that have led to me being placed in Facebook jail have nothing to do with the Charley Project, or anything I have posted about missing persons. Nobody in particular is angry at me for any particular reason. No one is conspiring against me, particularly not any child traffickers or organized groups of pedophiles or anyone in government.

I have no idea why anybody got the idea that any of the above things were happening, but they are not. If you believed this, let me make it perfectly clear: you are mistaken.

My complaints about Facebook are entirely about their AI moderation being terrible and their customer service being nonexistent. I am being treated THE SAME AS EVERYBODY ELSE that uses Facebook, and THIS IS THE PROBLEM. Anyone who uses Facebook is liable to get into this kind of predicament, and unless the platform makes changes, that’s how it’s going to stay.

I do not intend to join any other platforms that have marketed themselves as alternatives to Facebook. Hopefully, in February, AI moderation will let me out of Facebook jail. Unless something else happens in the meantime, that’s all I have to say in the matter.

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

Hi all. As I mentioned earlier, I was in Facebook jail for a month due to a meme I posted that their AI moderator thought violated Facebook’s TOS, when in fact it didn’t.

The restriction was supposed to end this morning. I wake up to discover that Facebook has extended it till February.

This is, as far as I can tell, not even an actual decision on Facebook’s part but an error. They’d given me another strike, then like literally two seconds later they told me they’d made a mistake and removed it… supposedly. Except apparently they forgot to remove it. They only say they did.

Facebook’s mistake is making it impossible for me to run my Charley Project page on there (they won’t let me add stuff or make changes to my page), which is a pretty big problem for me. I tried to add another account as an editor to the Charley Project page, so someone could still post stuff. But it won’t let me cause it won’t let me run the page. So as far as the followers of that page are concerned, I’ve vanished without a word. Some of them have started to contact me on their own to ask if I’m all right. Many of them don’t even realize the Charley Project is also a separate entity outside Facebook.

No, there’s nothing I can do about this. I can’t talk to customer service. Facebook, as far as I can tell, literally has no customer service employees. And it has only 15,000 human moderators for a company that serves over a billion people. Almost all moderation is done by AI technology and it makes a lot of mistakes, which is why I’m in Facebook jail in the first place.

This is actually starting to cut into my income as well since I think a lot of donors were Facebook followers. Oh, well.

I’m not in the best of moods.

The missing persons articles I would’ve shared on Facebook if I could have

Yeah, for the uninitiated, Facebook is mainly where I share missing persons related news. But as I addressed in my previous entry, that’s not an option right now. So I’m sharing them here:

From Joliet, Illinois: 17 Missing In Will County: One Joliet Case Dates To 1957. Includes a photo of Sarah Elizabeth Avon which I hadn’t previously seen; I have added it.

From Rice County, Kansas: Five years after she disappeared, the search for Megan continues. The Megan here is Megan Renee Foglesong.

From Tarboro, North Carolina: Cold case investigators offer $15K reward in case of missing Edgecombe County man. The missing man, Stephen Frederick MacGray, has been missing for nearly a year — not quite long enough to be eligible for listing on the Charley Project.

From San Luis Obispo, California: This coach last saw his mother in Woodland in 1979; his DNA helped find her body. About the Dolores Wulff case; she disappeared in 1979 and was identified recently.

From Texas: Congressmen introduce bipartisan missing persons bill.

From Valdosta, Georgia: Valdosta police still seek missing mother, son. This is the disappearance of three-year-old Brandon Lee Wade and his mom, Paula, eighteen years ago.

From Mobile, Alabama: Cold Case Mystery: Mobile mother missing for 20 years. That’s Lisa Ann Pierce, who went missing in 2000.

From Battle Creek, Michigan: Amber Griffin remains missing after months of failed searches around Battle Creek. She’s been missing since June.

From Montana: Officials discuss missing persons cases in Montana national parks.

From San Luis Obispo, California: Can new info help solve the case of missing college student Kristin Smart? Also: Was the beeping in a backyard coming from Kristin Smart’s watch? Kristin disappeared in 1996; it’s one of those cases where it’s pretty obvious what must have happened but the cops are having a hard time proving it.

From the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana: BIA, FBI Seeking Missing Child Mildred Old Crow. I added her the other day.

From Sonora, Mexico: Sonora mayor’s gift to mothers of missing persons: shovels and buckets.

Facebook is such a broken system and I hate it

Yeah, so I seem to be on Facebook’s naughty list lately and it’s interfering with a lot of things. I’m seriously concerned about my account, which I’ve had since around 2005. I’ve never actually violated Facebook’s TOS but they keep axing me and handing out suspensions.

It’s not just me, they’re doing this to everybody. Probably in response to all the (justified) alarm about social media being weaponized to spread misinformation and interfere with the democratic process and make it more difficult to fight the pandemic. I’m just collateral damage.

I ran a history memes group on there for two years. The responsibility for it got dumped on me, without me being asked or wanting it, but it was either run the group myself or let it die, so I decided to run it. I found some people to help moderate, worked my butt off on that group and eventually it got up to over 40,000 members. Then in September, Facebook axed it for no apparent reason. All that hard work, all those memes, vanished overnight. I was quite distressed about this. I appealed, of course. Five minutes later my appeal was denied. Again, no reason specified.

It’s not human beings that are deciding who violates the TOS; it’s bots. There’s a severe shortage of human moderators at Facebook and has been for some time. And unfortunately bots are sometimes just not very good at moderating.

Facebook has violated me for posting a photo of a Venus of Willendorf figure on the grounds that the artistic sculpture, which the ancients probably used in fertility rituals, was against their terms of service about “nudity.” They’ve violated me for historical memes about Croatia that had a scene from Spongebob. Etc.

So I got violated again yesterday and got a 24-hour ban on any kind of Facebook activity, and a 30-day ban on posting things in groups and posting anything on pages I run. That includes the Charley Project page. So I’m afraid the Charley Project page is going to be inactive for a month and there’s nothing I can do about that.

I hate Facebook as a corporate entity. But unfortunately I can’t afford to leave it. For one, it’s a major source of information on missing persons and a great way to connect with people who view the Charley Project. For another, it’s my primary means of socializing with people, particularly during the pandemic. I have loads of friends that I could not communicate with any other way.

It’s sucks but that’s the way it is.

I just hope that people who view the Charley Project page on Facebook are also aware of this blog, and don’t assume I’ve abandoned the Facebook page.

I’ll see them in a month.

Annnnd Facebook hates me again (and other news)

I guess Facebook tweaked their algorithms once more, because despite 16,708 likes and 16,911 follows (as of this writing) on Charley’s Facebook page, the post reach is minimal.

I know Facebook wants me to pay them money to “boost” my page, but I refuse. They already have all my data, after all, and have probably sold it to Russia many times over.

Anyone who follows the Charley Project on Facebook, you should probably select “see first” or you might not see anything at all. Mind you, “see first” only guarantees the first five posts each day showing up on your feed, and I often post more than five articles a day, so…

In other news, in light of Michael’s recent CHF diagnosis, he had a procedure done where they looked at his heart with a tiny camera to see if he needed a stent. He did not! His arteries are clear! It’s excellent news.

The computer is, of course, still in the shop. Because it was last in the shop less than 30 days ago, this considered a “warranty repair” so the $50-just-to-look-at-it fee is waived. I just have to cover whatever it is they do to fix it.

I miss updating but I’m doing well.

The Facebook gods smile upon me again

So a week or so ago the Charley Project’s Facebook page inexplicably tanked and all the sudden no one was seeing the posts, no one was liking or sharing or commenting on any of my posts. Now, equally inexplicably, the page’s reach has returned to normal. Shrug. I am glad of it, anyway.

I have no idea how online algorithms and analytics and whatnot work. Sometimes I wish I did. I was reading about the guy behind the hugely popular Twitter account that rates dogs, and he makes a six-figure annual income just from that account, like from selling ad space and merch. Which isn’t to say he isn’t doing anything. He pays very close attention to the analytics and, out of hundreds of dog pictures submitted for consideration every day, he selects the one he thinks will get the most likes and shares, and then after posting a tweet he keeps an eye on it for like fifteen minutes and if it’s not getting an acceptable number of likes and shares, he deletes it and tries again with another dog, another tweet.

So anyway. The most popular story on Charley’s Facebook at present is this one about Shawn Hornbeck’s family. Sadly, Shawn’s stepfather has passed away from cancer at only 57. He had help raise Shawn from infancy and Shawn and his siblings thought of him as their father. Another really popular story is this one, about a Chinese man who was found alive and well, eighteen years after his abduction at the age of three.

The story I would recommend, which hasn’t gotten much attention since I posted it during the time Facebook was ignoring me: this one. The headline basically says it all: “A Girl, 15, Reported a Sexual Assault, Then the Detective Abused Her, Too.”

I’m sure he had other victims as well.

Dunno what’s going on with the Charley Project’s Facebook page

Several days ago, literally overnight, my post reach on the Charley Project’s Facebook page went from hundreds or thousands of people per post to, like, five people per post. This on a page with over 16,000 likes, and after my FreeThink video.

No comments on the posts anymore either. I miss interacting with my Facebook viewers.

I’m not happy but I have no idea what to do about this. I mean, besides buy Facebook ads to encourage new people to come. I don’t want to do that. I already paid actual money for a graphics person to make new graphics for the Facebook page so it could finally catch up with last spring’s site redesign.

I’m hoping the Facebook algorithms are just messed up and my viewers haven’t all made a mass exodus. I barely even know what an algorithm is, never mind how they work.

In the process of poking around on Facebook, however, I did discover someone set up a Charley Project Facebook group that I was unaware of. The group is actually five years old by now and doesn’t seem to be very active (0 posts in the last month) but I thought I’d just say here that I did not give permission for it, never mind endorse it, and don’t even know the person who started it.

A minor puzzlement with an MP’s social media

Yeah, so if a missing persons case is reasonably recent (like within the last ten or twelve years or so) I check and see if they have accounts with Facebook or MySpace or whatever. Those accounts are a great source of MP photos, and sometimes I’ll get pics of their tattoos, scars, whatever as well.

Last night I had a missing persons case from a year ago. I looked for her on Facebook and found three accounts of varying age, the oldest one from back around ten years ago, and the newest going all the way up to her disappearance. (Her last Facebook post was made the very day she went missing, saying she was no longer with some guy and that he had thrown her out.)

In the oldest account, several photos of her showed the outline of a heart on her forearm. However, the MP’s NamUs page didn’t mention a heart and said she had a tattoo of a “small Chinese symbol” on her forearm.

I thought there were three possible explanations:

  1. NamUs was wrong about the tattoo information.
  2. At some time in the years after she got the heart tattoo, the woman got a coverup tattoo changing the heart into a Chinese symbol.
  3. She had both tattoos, a heart on one forearm and a Chinese symbol on the other forearm.

Not knowing for sure what was going on there, I said on her casefile that she had a Chinese symbol OR a heart tattoo on her forearm.