Persistence Pays Off — A Facebook Update

This post is old, so what you see here may not reflect my current opinion and mindset, certain information may be outdated, and links may be broken.

Regarding this situation where Facebook had disabled my account on the basis of using a fake name, I’ve more or less “won” this “battle”. See, what happened was that after I submitted that request, they sent me an email wanting me to verify that I’d submitted that request. I did that, and then they sent me this:

Hi,

Thanks for providing this information. At this time, we cannot verify the ownership of the account. Please reply to this email with a digital image of a government-issued ID (e.g., driver’s license, passport). If possible, save the file in JPEG format. Make sure the following information is clear:

– Full name
– Date of birth
– Photo

You may black out any personal information that is not needed to verify your identity (e.g., social security number). Rest assured that we will permanently delete your ID from our servers once we have used it to verify the authenticity of your account. Note that we will not be able to process your request unless you send in proper identification. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Thanks,

A.
User Operations
Facebook

Well, I certainly wasn’t going to submit anything like that to them to verify my identity. At least not until I was given a good reason why. And “We think it’s fake” was not a good enough reason, as you can see below.

After I’d done gawking at that email, this was what I sent them:

To whom it may concern,

Thank you for your response. Before I verify my identity, I would like to know why I am considered fake. I just do not understand why I am suddenly considered fake when I’d been using Facebook diligently for over 4 years. And please, I will not be satisfied with the answer “We think it’s fake”. That would make no sense to me since it seems illogical to be considered fake four years after my registration.

Thank you.

Their response:

Hi,

We believe that the name listed on your account is a fake name, and would like to verify its validity.

Thanks,

A.
User Operations
Facebook

Again, that was NOT good enough for me. By this point, I was stewing in my little own world, and I composed this lengthy reply:

Hi,

Could you please give me the rationale behind what makes you believe it is fake? Was I reported? Was it because I look Asian and have an un-Asian sounding name? I can’t help but be under the assumption that I am a victim of racial profiling. I don’t see any other logical reasons except for those two.

Like I said before, why now? Why are you asking me to verify after four years I started using your services. Why did you disable my account without even contacting me about this in the first place? If you wanted a verification, why did you not look into my profile more? Why did you not see that I’ve got relatives who share the same last name as me? Why did you not read the posts on my wall? I had people leaving me messages — like relatives — who wrote using my real name. Why couldn’t you have contacted them and ask first. Better yet, and again I repeat, why was I not contacted personally?

I truly believe I am being singled out for no reason. I know plenty of people who violates your Terms of Service by using fake names or have multiple accounts, and those are something I’ve never done, so I’ve done nothing wrong. I’ve been using my real name this entire time, and I’ve been using only one account. I repeat, you should have contacted me before disabling my account, have given me some sort of a warning, but you didn’t do that. You just did it without any advance notices.

I have to say, I am really upset by this. If you are going to be this strict about people using their real names or not, then maybe you should just make it required that everyone who signs up or who are already on your services verify their identity by sending private documents. Also, I’m aware you have the Terms of Service, but it was never mentioned there I’d have to resort to this sort of method to prove my identity, nor was it ever mentioned in the FAQ.

I would like another option to fix this. I’d preferred if I talk to somebody in Facebook management about this. Could you please give me a number to contact the head manager or supervisor or anyone in charge of this fake name issue?

Please, I really want a better response than your one-line explanation of “We believe that the name listed on your account is a fake name, and would like to verify its validity.” You guys have claimed I am doing something that goes against your Terms of Service. Well, I’d like a much better explanation since I’m being accused of absolutely nothing. As a long-time user of Facebook, I feel like I’m being punished when all I’ve done was use your services properly.

Thank you.

Finally, they sent me this:

Hi Tara,

I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced. Your account was disabled in error. Your account has been reactivated and you will now be able to log in.

Thanks for contacting Facebook,

M.
User Operations
Facebook

So hurrah! I have my account back, but what on earth do they mean it was disabled in error after their several emails of claiming my name was fake?! Fail, Facebook, fail. And also fishy.

Guh, I’m glad I won this battle, but boy was it stressful and exhausting!

Comments

  1. You know what “it was disabled in error” means? They’re trying to cover up the fact they’ve screwed up, and they want to blame some unnamed person/sector/general ‘other’.

    Also, their apology was stupid.

    Why is there not more on the internet about this, protests or complaints? I can’t find anything…

  2. Glad you got your account back! I actually think it’s a good thing they didn’t (or didn’t openly… or didn’t get caught for it) poke through users’ private pictures and information. But yeah, they still didn’t let you know exactly why they think you had a fake name!

  3. Yay you got your account back, congrats!

  4. How upsetting!! Such a battle over a facebook account. If it were any other service, we would all have just left already. But since it dominates the internet, it’s hard to find any good alternative. You should really save this and try to email Mark Zuckerberg to complain about this. However, I can’t seem to find his email anywhere…unlike Steve Jobs of Apple whose email is on public display.

  5. Well good for you for not giving up and sending such well thought out messages. I bet “deleted in error” means they realized how they were a bunch of jerks who were most likely racially profiling. I am still so angry about this. I hope everything was restored back to normal and you didn’t lose anything. How ridiculous.

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