Some might have already noticed it, my whole Facebook presence vanished from one second to the next. With that I mean, my actual account and my page for this blog.
What happened? I actually don’t really know. All was normal until Saturday and I didn’t hit the disable button myself, in fact I didn’t even notice something was wrong. That was until one of my fellow admins of our beloved Versailles Group sent me a message saying something was wrong with the group header. I went to have a look and found myself logged out of Facebook, which was quite odd to me. It usually logs me straight in, when I hit he FB button, because I have ‘remember me’ ticked. I thus tried to log back in and saw that Facebook disabled my account. Without warning, of course. They do not to that.
Why had it been disabled? I had no clue. I didn’t click anything funny, didn’t post anything controversial, didn’t offend anyone, didn’t share anything. I was just minding my own business and posted the usual history stuff. That history stuff being the very reason I had a Facebook account at all, to see what other Historians and writers are up to and to share what I do with people who find it of interest. If you were friends with me on FB, you probably saw that. I used to roam the realms of Facebook in the past already, but deleted my account after a while. Then made a new one a bit later, with the purpose of connecting with fellow history lovers. I met some awesome people on there and many of my Twitter friends, especially those of the Versailles Family, are on FB too. I made a page for my blog and created said Versailles fan group. Had much fun there.
As it turned out, posting or sharing wasn’t the issue. It was/is my name. Yes, Facebook, or someone there, does not like my name. My perfectly German name. Thus my account, and everything connected to it, was disabled. The header on our group page vanished with it, because it was I who uploaded it.
I was quite shocked and of course I had no clue what could possibly be wrong with my name. Still have. In the meanwhile, I did some googling and turns out this problem of FB deactivation for name reasons is quite common. It actually could happen to anyone. Yeps. And it is not something that actually must come from Facebook itself. Nups. Any random Facebook user can report the profile of someone else to have a ‘fake name’. You read that right. Mr. Smith, who you do not know, can stumble over profile and think your name sounds a bit funny. Mr. Smith can then report it and your account will be disabled. Now, if that is actually happening for a proper reason, as in the account is called Aldolfus Hitlar or something, it isn’t a bad thing… but if you, like me, have a perfectly fine name, it is something very different. The random Mr. Smith could also be someone who does not like you for whatever reason, someone who has some sort of problem with you. It could be your new boy or girlfriend’s ex. A co-worker, which doesn’t like that the boss treats you better. A rival. Your sister or brother. It could be anyone. Even your grandma, because she annoyed you are on your phone all the time. If that happens and your account gets disabled, you find yourself were I am now, in Facebook purgatory.
Facebook purgatory is pretty much as it sounds. What I have to do to get my account back, seems quite simple…. on first glance. To prove FB that this is my, as they say, every day name and this account is actually mine, I have to upload some sort of ID. Here is where it gets complicated.
The name, which I have on FB and all other forms of social media and interwebs stuff, is a nom de plume, a pen name. It is not the name that is on my ID or any other government issued documents. But it is the name under which I am known. The name under which I write, translate, edit, blog, work. The name under which 90% of people who I know, know me. It just don’t happens to be on my ID yet and there is even a reason why that is so. Altering your ID costs money. Since mine is going to expire soon, I meant to save that money for when I have to get a new ID anyway.
Now, Facebook does not require you to use the name that is on your birth certificate, the name they want you to use is described by them as your ‘every day’ name, the name under which people know you. As in your pen name. The complicated thing about that, if you are like me a writer that uses one, is to prove to FB that this is the name people know you by. Why do I use one at all? Although I am pretty open about my private self in most matters, otherwise I wouldn’t write this right now, there is some stuff I do not want to be known by the general public. Some things that I do not want to show up on the internet. There are some ‘RL’ people who I do not want to know this is my pen name and some people who I do not want to know my real name for reasons of ‘every day’ privacy.
So, to get my FB presence back I now have to prove FB that my pen name is my every day name. You could easily confirm that, since all of you know me under this name, but Facebook requires papers. As I said, I go not have any government issued papers saying Aurora von Goeth, but I do not necessarily need them. Things as a health card, library card, bus card, magazine subscription apparently work too….. but who has their pen name on those? I do not know anyone. Other options are things as mail, which at times has my pen name on it, but usually ends in the trash after a while. So, there is no mail to prove my identity in my hands right now. What I have and what they say they accept, is a business card with an Aurora von Goeth written in bold letters on it, and a letter of employment with my name and birth date on it. Yep, they want something that says when you were born. A picture too. Another problem here. The picture I use on Facebook, and everywhere else, is a painting of Mademoiselle d’Armagnac. Charlotte de Lorraine-Armagnac, daughter of Louis de Lorraine, a niece of the Chevalier de Lorraine. Obviously, I do not have any document with my name and that picture on it…. but then, who on earth has their FB profile picture on any form of ID?
I sent them both, letter of employment and business card, just to receive a bot reply saying what I sent them has not the needed information on it. Seriously. Someone must be blind, because birth date and name are both on it. Even the email address I use for my Facebook account is on it. Fancy that. I thus sent it again with the note that both is on it. No reply yet, but I keep you updated on Twitter… which runs under my pen name as well. How shocking.
Whether I actually get my FB account back or not, is totally up to them. Worst case they permanently delete it and everything that was on it and connected to it, like the page for this blog. I have read about people who actually handed their ID in and did not get theirs back. Facebook did not accept it and closed the case and account. If my account remains closed… I’m not quite sure yet if I will return to Facebook with a different account. For one, FB is not something I enjoy to use too much and then after this random decision to disable my account and all the trouble caused by it…. not sure. I find it a little hard to understand why I get disabled due to my name, when they are people roaming FB that do nothing else but to spread hate all day and nothing is done about them. I encountered people with names as Daisy Duck and Mickey Mouse. People that have titles in their names, which FB does not allow. I guess I could go by my title too. Since I actually have one. But hey, it is not allowed, and since I do not fancy trouble with anyone, I do not do that…. Yep, I am a decent person that means no harm to anyone…. and get disabled for that.
Feel free to share your outrage with me.
Mademoiselle la Princesse 😉
Facebook purgatory update: The docs I sent them were once again not enough for them. I received the same bot reply saying my birth date and name are not on them, although they are. I give up. Adieu, FB account. This is not just ridiculous, it is also a waste of time and energy and I have better things to do. Pretty much the only reason why I tried to get the account back at all, was the page for this blog, which had quite a few likes. (Maybe I will make a new one. I do not know yet.)
Facebook purgatory update two: Created a new account and requested the old to be deleted, if I can not get it back. Their reply was the standard “We can’t do so, because we can not confirm your identity. Here’s what we need….” …..shall I show them the finger? I think I should. I have in the meanwhile decided to spent some money to get my pen name added to my ID. Just in case.