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Monday, 18 August 2014

FB – Face Bully?

In the scheme of things, it’s no big deal. I can live without Face Book. I mean, there are children being slaughtered throughout the world, notably in Ukraine, Gaza, Iraq and Libya. Why does the world’s media call the latest incarnation of deranged misfits, IS, the Islamic State? Because that’s what they call themselves? They’re not the true face of Islam. They should be labelled for what they are – Insane Scum, Insane Savages or something more truthful.

Still, I digress.

A couple of days ago, I posted an FB message to a friend on his birthday, and also sent an image of tapas – since he has lived in Spain, and would get the virtual party reference.
Tapas - Wikipedia commons
I immediately followed up this with another image, this time of glasses of Spanish wine, for his virtual party. (I wasn’t able to include more than one image per message). And to cap it off, I sent an image of some bottles of cava – Spanish equivalent of Champagne at a fraction of the price…
Cava - and glasses of wine - Wikipedia commons
And immediately I received a FB message telling me a security check was required to ensure I was who I was. Great, I thought. I only had one of those last week, and answered the question and received a clearance code on my mobile phone, no problem. So, here we go again. I duly read the capture code or whatever they call it – say, KsFgLi – and input this – and immediately I was informed that I’d failed the security check and would be temporarily blocked for 30 days. This means that I can post to my FB timeline, and share other posts on my timeline; I cannot send PMs and I cannot comment on my own posts or anyone else’s anywhere on FB. No court of appeal, no best of three attempts at the code. As far as they’re concerned, I’ve fallen foul of their rules. Yeah, right.

In retrospect, it’s obvious to me that I mis-read the code, which isn’t surprising since often they are quite indecipherable; the point is, I didn’t feel unsure about the code, so I input what I thought I read.

Why am I bothering to write this? I’ll just have to wait out the 30 days, surely. Yes, I suppose I will. I was going to attend some FB friends’ virtual book launches, but that’s not possible now. There were other FB contacts about blogs etc I was involved in, regarding sharing information etc; I’ll find a way round that, eventually.

What bugs me is the Draconian approach to the blockage. FB in bullying mode.

Clearly, the algorithm system is programmed to identify any posts that originate from one source and consecutively aim at another source; the limit is probably three; it may be as little as two but I type fast…! It may be linked to images rather than simple text posts. The automatic response is a security check process. In effect, it’s a robot checking to ensure that I’m not a robot.
I take issue with the imposition of the blockage after I failed only once at the security check hurdle. Banks’ ATMs allow at least three attempts at getting the PIN code right.

I take issue with the imposition of 30 days’ blockage. Why 30 days? A nice round number. What does that achieve, exactly? If I had been a spammer, then I’d have learned my lesson after a month, is that it? I’d have thought spammers would have multiple accounts anyway. Does 30 days allow me to go to Specsavers so I can get my eyes tested and then better decipher their awful codes? There’s no reason why it should be 30 days instead of 24 hours; in effect this ‘grounding’ is tantamount to treating users as recalcitrant children.
We’ve all been there. Authorities impose constraints or new laws because of the irresponsible or even criminal few so that the majority suffer – whether that’s speed-bumps, traffic calming, the confiscating of nail clippers at airports, or a 30-day temporary blockage on FB. It isn’t rational, but they’re the rules we’ve made. Yeah, right. No, at best, it’s lazy programming, at worst, it’s bullying.

So, dear FB friends, if you don’t see my half-witticism comments on your pages for a while, that’s why. (You may even breathe a sigh of relief!)

Tomorrow, I'll look at some fiction that extrapolates on the 'punishment' meted out to rule-breakers...

[Later (26 August): while temp blocked you usually can't see a comment or like so you can't click on them. However, yesterday, on one post there was a like offered so I clicked on it. A message came up, saying I was blocked as I 'might' have violated the rules... but I could contact via help, which I did, and stated my case succinctly, and today I received a response to the effect that I am now unblocked, back to normal.]


Charliann Roberts said...

I've heard of this mess happening to a few other people also. It's a mess and everyone I've spoken to on FB wishes someone would come up with a better place than FB to communicate. You can bet most people would change over to something better. I myself, am sick of FB asking questions that are none of their business and I tell them so. They'll probably cut me off for not letting them know how my day has been. We're all pretty fed up with them.

Ailsa Author said...

This is one of the reasons I am tempted to leave FB. I am sharing all your posts, Nik. People get away with dreadful behaviour but you are punished for not reading their stupid numbers correctly. Idiocy!

Neil Waring said...

Unbelievable, I think most of us have a love/hate relationship with facebook or in my case all social media. Sometimes I wish I could be banned for 30 days, it would save me some time each day.

Nik said...

I know how you feel, Neil! Thanks for sharing, Ailsa; a new blog will be out later today Tuesday. FB seems the 'only game in town' at present, Charliann. See my post later today for some views on extrapolating the faceless book people's algorithms... :)

David Robinson said...

I'm sorry to hear this, Nik. I have awful trouble with these idiot captcha codes, not just on FB, but everywhere because my eyesight isn't what it was (even with my Specsavers. There's one on your blog right under ths comment box ;)

FB's however, is one of the worst, but they used to give you three chances.

Like everyone else, if I could find a way of doing without FB, I would, but sadly (and I;m sure FB know this) it is one of the best platforms for getting the message out.

Nik said...

I agree, David; I've used other people's captcha codes without difficulty, but one strike and you're out seems a bit stiff to me... I'll continue to use FB, when I'm able to, but I won't hold it in such high regard as hitherto (not that they'll lose any sleep over that). I thought it was worth alerting people to the fact that three consecutive posts might send you into a security check loop. :)