Image by Terrie Schweitzer
I haven’t been able to login to Facebook for almost two weeks, since Nov. 27 or 28. Suddenly, my login just quit working. The first symptom I noticed was actually on 11/27, when I got an invitation to join Facebook from one of my friends. The notification said, "Already have an account? Add this email address to your account here." But it came to my usual email acccount. Weird, I thought. But I was still logged into facebook, until later that evening.
The bottom of the picture is the mail headers from one of the many notifications I’ve gotten from Facebook since this problem started. You can see that it’s sending to firstname.lastname@example.org. I think this makes it clear that there’s some kind of problem with my account at Facebook; perhaps my account settings are corrupted.
I’ve tried contacting Facebook support, of course, but they just told me that the email address was not associated with any accounts and ignored my reply with the email headers (as well as every subsequent email I’ve sent them). I even reported the account as being hacked.
The account isn’t disabled; I have my Twitter account connected to my Facebook account, and I can continue to post updates on Facebook that way. But I can’t respond to any of my friends there, or view their updates, or participate in any way. And I’ve even confirmed that my friends can see my email address in my profile.
A couple of days before this problem started, I changed my address and phone number settings in my profile. I can only guess that maybe something went wrong when making that change, and I didn’t notice it until my login expired and I had to try to login again. But that’s just a guess.
It’s made me realize the danger of allowing my online presence to be under the control of a company who has essentially no customer service. I’m glad I don’t use Facebook for my photos, otherwise I’d have no access to them. I pay flicker a year as an online photo service; I’d be happy to pay that much (not more) to Facebook for the option of having some level of customer service. Lately, many of my friends send messages to me through Facebook rather than through email. I wonder how dependent they’re becoming on it?
I wonder about the legalities of a company offering this "free" service (make no mistake…they’re making money out of us using it) to develop a profile and then not having the customer service to help you regain access to your account. I’m fortunate that I trust the people I’ve friended on Facebook. Because they could post anything on my wall and I am helpless to do anything about it.
Beyond the frustration, this all plays into my feelings the past few weeks of being in exile. But it may not be a completely bad thing. I’d been wondering about underlying motivations for what I do online and whether it’s really how I want to spend my life. With Facebook at least, I have a built-in way to stop and think about that. Because, like so much else right now, there’s no THERE there.