It all started innocently enough. Facebook, the mega social media giant that controls virtually every aspect of internet life and, more importantly, advertising, decided that I needed protection.
It sounds so sweet on the surface, doesn’t it? Social media was just looking out for my best interests. Just makes you all warm and fuzzy all over, doesn’t it?
In the way of big companies having not a lick of sense, they rolled out this “protection” via an email link that looked like a scam. Yes, after admonishing us for years to never click on an unsolicited email link, Facebook dutifully rolled out a mandatory program — via an unsolicited email link.
This protection targeted journalists and others that Facebook deemed in need of “protection.” It’s protection in the way that the mob provided protection. There are a lot of strings attached, and if you cross them, you may go missing — or your profile will, at the very least.
What this protection actually did was lock many out of their accounts with no recourse to contact Facebook in any way. Facebook customer disservice consists primarily of links that don’t work and the suggestion that you crowdsource help from other equally confused users.
You heard that right. A business that makes billions (with a b) off of our collective data provides absolutely no way to actually contact them if things go awry. How is this legal? I know people who had to go buy new devices to access their accounts again.
In the meantime, I actually did risk it all to activate my “protection” before the deadline. What was my reward? Something in the metaverse threw me into a glitch that required me to face security challenges and change my password every single time I accessed Facebook — not just log in but actually create a whole new password.
Imagine having to create a wholly new password every time you accessed a tool that is crucial for your job.
For those wondering why I don’t just quit social media: As tempting as it is, I can’t. I work in public relations and promotions. One cannot simply “quit social media” if they hope to be seen in today’s climate.
Facebook and Google are two services that literally own the advertising planet these days. This is why it is unconscionable that they can make or break your business — with zero accountability or recourse.
When my issue started, I could find zero help. At most, I was invited to “report a bug.” They then assured me repeatedly that they had absolutely no intention of replying to or repairing my issue.
In fact, the response was “if we can fix your issue you may hear from us in the future.” “If.”
Mind you, as a “high reach” page administrator, I was provided with what is termed “concierge” level support. That meant that someone would tell me via email or telephone that they could not help me.
I also had one-on-one email and telephone support if I wanted to spend advertising dollars. At no time could — or would — any of those folks help me one bit with technical issues.
So to reiterate, social media can provide endless support for advertising (i.e. give us money). They have zero support for glitches like the password issue. Worse, the business side has no idea how to help.
There are businesses that have been irreparably harmed by Facebook or Google maps deciding they do not exist. Imagine trying to convince a nameless, faceless entity that your business should actually be listed on maps and directories.
In this day and age, Google listings have replaced the telephone book. If you aren’t listed, you won’t do business. Yet, there is no recourse or fine if a social media giant decides to do you or your business wrong.
I have now spent the better part of three weeks trying to make anti-social media act sociable.
I know that the World Wide Web is a necessary evil of modern business life. Nonetheless, I’m really starting to rethink pencil and paper, scroll and quill or perhaps a chisel and a rock.
I started my career using an electric typewriter. Sure it didn’t reach as many people as social media can. On the other hand, I was never once asked to prove to my typewriter that I really do exist.
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