Edited on 1/17/2018 to add:

A big THANK YOU to Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, VP of AR\VR at Facebook. This man has a significant position at Facebook and probably has a lot more to focus on that individual customer service, but after seeing I was having problems getting my account back (via Twitter), he took the time to make sure that someone looked at my account. 1.5 days later, I got my account back. This man is a role model for a every Support person at Facebook. I truly appreciate the time he took to resolve this issue. No word on what exactly caused it, but I’m back in!

Additionally, I’ve tweaked my security and log-in settings to match what I did on my second account that has not been locked since. So, fingers crossed this is the end of it. I’ll be back updating my author Facebook page very soon!

My day job is a mishmash of responsibilities, the largest being the management of my real estate team’s social media accounts. I also do a bit of side work managing a handful of other accounts to financially make up for what Mr. Awesome is unable to contribute while going to school full time. Then, there’s the little bit I do for myself as an author. Put it all together and social media is a big part of my life. About 50 percent of that is Facebook and that scares me.

If you use Facebook, there is one thing you need to understand right now: Facebook does NOT care for its users. A single user is 1 in 2 billion. When Facebook became popular, its users became statistics. Even if you’re spending money on ads, you are not a customer. Do not expect to be treated any better. Mark Zuckerberg made that abundantly clear when he replaced Facebook support with a bunch of feedback forms.

The normal day-to-day user never expects to have any issues with Facebook. They post pictures of their family and random daily encounters, comment some “ha-has” and “he-hes” on friends’ posts, and read a few news articles or posts from their favorite pages. What could possibly cause them to end up in Facebook jail?

That’s what I thought too…until I was randomly locked out of my account for “Suspicious Activity” and asked to upload a clear picture of my face. At first, I thought it was a hoax. I Googled it to make sure it wasn’t Malware of some sort. Nope, this was a brand new type of security check by Facebook. So I did it. That was followed by a message saying they would be in touch after they reviewed it and were logging me out of my account for security reasons. But how long was that going to take? After all, the nonprofit whose Facebook page I manage was just gearing up for its big annual fundraiser and Christmas was right around the corner.

I started looking for other people who went through this same security checkpoint. It wasn’t looking good. I was seeing it taking weeks. Actually, people were reporting that their accounts were still locked after weeks with no response from Facebook.

Panic was beginning to set in. I tweeted at Facebook on Twitter and asked how long it would take. After all,  I had done nothing wrong. I was locked out while scheduling posts. Nothing out of the ordinary.

They actually responded.

The mysterious “EB” said “a few hours or days”. So I tested my account daily, just in case they weren’t able to reach me by email. One user said his mysteriously came back after a few hours with no response, so it was possible.

When it didn’t come back after two days, I created a new account. I needed to continue doing my job. My employers readded me to the pages and all was good for a day.

Then, I was locked out of my second account, so I again uploaded a picture of my face. The profile had worked fine while I was at home, but shortly after signing in at work, it locked me out. That’s when I remembered that there were other pages acting a little hyper-security-sensitive the day I was blocked from Facebook. So I talked to some other people in the office, they too noticed some weirdness, not with Facebook but other websites.

Just in case, I made sure to scan my computer and reset my connection. However, my office has a bunch of people working behind a handful of IP addresses. If someone is doing something naughty and triggers Facebook’s security algorithm, it could affect more than one person.

To test my theory, I created a third account at home and didn’t log in on it from the network at work. I had no problems with it at all. Whatever Facebook didn’t like was somehow linked to my office’s network.

Meanwhile, I got my second account back. Lost it. And then got it back again. Each time, I didn’t hear from Facebook. It just reappeared. This made me furious. Why? Because it was now almost two weeks later and no one had looked at my main account. I had missed out on seeing updates and communicating with friends and family over Christmas and New Year’s. I spent the holidays in fear that I was going to lose my job, because I could no longer do it as expected. That practically ruined this special time of year.

“EB”, you lied. It wasn’t a few hours or a few days. We were now into WEEKS.
By suggestion of one of the real estate brokerage’s IT staff, the next time I got access back to my second account, I made sure to clear out all the login sessions and turn on my notifications for new logins. I did this from my phone and then logged in on my computer. I received an email notifying me of the login. Through that email, I clicked a button telling Facebook it was me.

Since then, I’ve had no issues. It’s clear that I NOW KNOW HOW TO FIX THE ISSUE! But  I need access to do it and guess what – I still can’t access my main account, the one with all my kids pictures, videos, friends, and my author Facebook page (that’s why I haven’t updated it in weeks).

Throughout the process, I’ve submitted multiple bug reports and Help Center questions, but no one has responded. No one is even working the Help Center anymore. It’s pages and pages of unanswered questions. The top questions were answered a year ago. That’s how much Facebook cares about their users.

I can’t even appeal the actions by Facebook, because my account is not technically disabled so the related form will not recognize my account email and let me submit. Of course, there is no other way to reach a Facebook staff member that can actually do something. No emails. No Zendesk. No chat.

Hey, Mark, want to fix Facebook? How about starting with reinstating your Support department!

What really makes me feel terrible is that I use Social Book to create a scrapbook with comments from friends and family for each of my kids. I can’t do that now. All the pictures and comments are locked in that account, and I had put it off because I was too poor to afford it at the time. I missed my chance and I feel like a failure. Saving pictures and memories for my kids is important to me, because I don’t have much of that from my childhood. I want them to remember the people who have touched their lives. I think it will make them better for it.

As I head into the fourth week of Facebook jail, I’m heartbroken by my losses and angry at the same time. I hate to think about how much I rely on that website to support my family. It’s clear from all I’ve read and experienced through this that Facebook does not care about its users. There are tweets, Help Center questions, blog comments, and articles all saying the same thing – Facebook has a brick wall and no one’s getting a real personal response, just automated emails. Even if you get a response via one of their social media accounts, it always a redirect to one of the many feedback forms. Yes, there are near 2 billion Facebook users (not all real or active users), but this is a multi-billion dollar company and it can afford to employ more Support staff. While people, like myself, are being randomly locked out, the people who are being harassed, hacked, and bullied are not getting responses and the people who should be in Facebook jail are having a Field Day.

But what does my opinion matter? I’m just 1 in 2 billion.