A Voice in The Wilderness: Blocked From Social Media, Blocked From Life in The Days of Pandemic

So last month I decided to take a break from social media. Dave Rubin does this once a year and he was announcing his annual departure from social media and I thought, “yeah…I could probably use a break, too.”

I was having some issues with my wife for some reason not seeing my content on Facebook anyway, so I figured a 30 day break, along with a clean purge from Facebook and starting my profile over might be the full reset I needed. I have been growing ever resentful of the power and influence of social media over our lives over the past few years, and even a small part of my mind even felt like maybe this would be a permanent separation from the social media sphere. Little did I know how much of a departure it would actually become…

I got through the thirty days without much of an issue. I was kept abreast of the important family and social things going on through my wife and others, but was blissfully free of the scrolling dopamine fix that takes up hours of our daily lives. But after a while I decided there was some utilitarian needs for Facebook that I needed to have access to like pages for blogs, group access for my community and sales pages, etc. So my plan was to create a mostly blank profile to accomplish these goals. I was going to sign back up with a new email address and move on from there.

To my surprise I was blocked for violating community guidelines immediately after submitting the first page of information. There was no elaboration, let alone an explanation. Of course there is no way to contact Facebook directly and no public facing tech support without having an account to access through. I decided “Okay, maybe they think I am someone trying to impersonate me”, so I re- applied for an account using my original information Facebook had for me from my original account. Same email address, same password, same everything. I was able to sign up and access the security settings where I began limiting access to my profile as much as possible and turning on 2FA (Two Factor Authentication) for extra security. I then went to go add my wife as a friend and BOOM. Ban hammer strikes again, for violating community standards. This time there was a button “Options”.

So I uploaded a picture of myself. A day went by and on the second day I tried to login again and I was then informed I was fully banned again after review and this cannot be appealed or reversed. I have now tried resetting my 2FA attached to the account and got a similar option to verify identity so I uploaded a picture of my driver’s license. Will this be enough to prove I  am me? Is me proving I am me really what is keeping me from signing back up? Or do they have a secret list of users they cannot terminate without violating their own rules? Am I on a “Pro-Trump” list that is banned until after the election? What remains on Facebook after I “delete” my account? Doesn’t this make Facebook more of a social passport than just a social media site?

What about the effects to people who have a majority of their family across the country and Facebook was the only way they could regularly communicate and feel “closer” too? Through social media, we have become interconnected in a way never before thought imaginable. I have a community online that I cannot have anywhere else. It is highly diverse, mostly politically agnostic, even (I leave my political ranting for Twitter mostly). Dr. Disrespect, a popular gaming influencer formerly on Twitch, suffered deeply because of his forced disconnect from his community online. And now, I am honestly ashamed to say, I am feeling cut out from society, from my people…even…trapped in reality where I am beginning to see a greater percentage of our life is no longer being spent.

Now, especially during the pandemic, I am restricted to phone calls and texts, which is still more than anyone had thirty years ago, sure, but because why? My political affiliation? My opinions? I have never even been so much as timed out while I was active on Facebook. But now it is harder for me to get on Facebook than it is for fraudsters to get a fake ID. In fact…come to think of it…they are making it harder for me to sign back up to Facebook than they want it to be for people to vote for your President…!

Hollywood shows us this dystopian future where the main stream society is disjointed from the low-tech, forgotten remains of society, often living beyond high walls or under lofty cloud cities in the filth of the Earth. Well, folks…I think we may already be there!

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