I realize this is one of those long, talky posts but please bear with me; this has consumed most of my time and energy since early yesterday.
As many of you know, I cannot use my real name online any more. I had a stalker a while ago that came way too close, going so far as to send me a Google Map of my neighborhood. Since then, I only use the name GottaLaff on the radio shows I do, in my writing, in every venue, on Twitter, everywhere. I've also done what I can to scrub my real name on old accounts, and requested that my friends refrain from using my real name on Facebook, Twitter, or any other public site.
I take all threats very seriously, and I know for a fact that many on the right have it out for me and have threatened to hack and/or try to steal my identity. One "liberal" who has harassed me for years has also threatened to hack our site in order to disable it. As a result, I bend over backwards to stay as anonymous as possible.
My Facebook name is Gotta L. Aff. Yesterday I was refused access to my account unless I jumped through impossible hoops. (I'm guessing one of two things happened: Either trolls massively accused me of having a fake account or suddenly FB didn't like my user name.)
Those hoops included reproducing a Captcha word, which I did correctly at least ten different times. Why so many? Because each time I did that, a message popped up saying it was an incorrect match. Wrong.
I rebooted, and finally Captcha worked. The next hoop was to identify at least 3 "friends" from Facebook out of five sets of three images each presented to me. The photos appeared to be from each user's photo collection. Someone, anyone, please tell me how to I.D. a friend when:
1. I have 2000 or so "friends," most of whom I don't know by name, nor could I possibly remember their names; most are Twitter pals who connected with me on Facebook, so I know them by their Twitter handles. I don't use Facebook to socialize, only to answer comments on posts, rarely to chat, and very rarely communicate with family in emergencies. So remembering or identifying people who follow me/I follow is laughable. By the way, when I finally did remember 3 names, up came a message telling me I took too long to respond, so time to start all over again with new sets of fuzzy photos.
2. The images that were sent to me included a set of three news photos of President Obama, several cartoons, and a couple of pics similar to this one:
How's that for laughable?
3. Other photos were grainy images of family vacations, gatherings, parties, action shots that nobody would be able to I.D. Here's one of the five "challenges" they sent. Challenges indeed. I wish I'd screen-grabbed the others, but by the time I thought of it and finally remembered one of the names I'd forgotten, they switched to different photo sets:
4. Each photo in the set of three was a different person. Three different people. Who was I supposed to I.D.?
So yes, someone, anyone, please tell me how to I.D. a friend when those are the options Facebook gives you.
Did I mention I faithfully use Facebook all day, every day to share The Political Carnival posts, that many of our readers depend on those, and, oh yes, that I pay money daily for ad promos for our The Political Carnival page? I've spent hundreds of dollars of my own money to expand our readership.
Facebook has no customer service to speak of. I tried to fill out a form to appeal, but a window popped up saying I couldn't do that because that option was only for suspended accounts and mine was still active. There were no "contact us" links.
So I tweeted Facebook repeatedly, and my Twitter friends piled on. No reply.
Finally one of my best Twitter friends connected me with a contact in the "product" department who said he'd forward my complaint to "support" [sic]. That was yesterday. I haven't heard back yet, and I still can't get on.
I changed my password in case I was hacked, but now I can't do that again either, even though Facebook insists repeatedly that I do it again. It won't go through nor will Facebook accept the temporary numerical password they emailed me.
Whether this is about Facebook's ineptitude and deplorable customer service practices or whether my account was hacked, the point remains the same: I am a "paying" customer who is getting no response from Facebook and no access to my account nor a service representative who can help clear this up.
We should be able to have direct customer service contact considering everything I've mentioned here. Yet they still take my money, but refuse me entrance and the courtesy of any kind of assistance.
To those of you who wonder why I still have an account there, I say this: I'd love to delete mine, but I need it to access a number of Progressive groups as well as people I can't reach in any other social media outlet. And I need to access our TPC page, since I'm an administrator.
Once I figure out how to get around all that, I will gladly end my "friendship" with Facebook, because if this is how they treat their "friends," who needs enemies?