The Two Kingdoms (A Cautionary Tale)

Once upon a time, in a land far away to the west, there lived a Geneablogger who lived in a small but peaceful kingdom on the shore of a beautiful bay. One day, while walking through a green, green meadow on the outskirts of the kingdom, a little bird named Auntialias flew up to the geneablogger’s ear and twittered, “Geneablogger! Geneablogger! Did you know that the rulers of the kingdom of Facebook think your blog is abusive? When I tried to follow a link on Facebook to your site, I received this message!”

With that, Auntialias dropped a file into the Geneablogger’s hands and then gingerly alit on his shoulder, waiting to see how he would react to the message. The Geneablogger, enormously perplexed, gingerly opened the letter, and this is what he saw:

First Message on Facebook

“Egad!” exclaimed the Geneablogger in astonishment. “How can this be? I must posthaste log onto my Facebook account and try to discover what is going on!”

With lightning speed, the Geneablogger opened a browser window, typed in the URL for Facebook, and entered his login credentials. But, alas! Facebook returned a message that his Email/Password combination was incorrect! The Geneablogger, sweat now dripping from his brow, clicked on the link to reset his password but, to his dismay, his efforts were rewarded with an even more disheartening message:

Second Facebook Message

The little bird, still on the Geneablogger’s shoulder, gasped in horror! “Oh my! Oh my! Whatever will you do? Your honor has been challenged! You must do all you can to restore your reputation, Geneablogger!” And with that, the little bird flew away, still chattering to herself, “Oh my! Oh my!”

The Geneablogger, clearly shaken by this sudden turn of events, immediately followed the instructions in the message to contact info@facebook.com and ask why his domain was reported as abusive. All he could do then was wait for the rulers of Facebook to help him. But no help came.

The Geneablogger wrote to the rulers of Facebook again and again, but the rulers of Facebook never responded.

Six long weeks passed. Still unable to log into his Facebook account, the Geneablogger grew more and more concerned. He was still receiving friend requests, invitations to events, and even personal email messages through Facebook, but he was unable to log into his account to respond to any of them.

Finally, he decided to call the rulers of Facebook by telephone. But, woe and more woe, the Facebook phone number lead him only to a voice message that said that Facebook did not provide customer support by telephone.

“But lo!” exclaimed the Geneablogger. “The Facebook castle is just down the road from here! I can ride my trusty steed to speak to the Facebook rulers in person.” And so he did.

Upon arriving at the Facebook castle, the Geneablogger was stopped by three young guards at the castle gate. None of the three appeared to be old enough to be out of their parents’ care, much less guarding the gates of the castle. Nevertheless, the Geneablogger approached the guards, explaining his predicament and entreating the guards to help him.

The only response of the guards, however, was that he should complete a form and describe his grievance.

After returning to his home by the beautiful bay, the Geneablogger waited and waited for help from the Facebook rulers. But, still, no help came.

Two months after he first wrote to the Facebook rulers, the Geneablogger decided to ride to the Facebook castle once again. Upon approaching the castle gate, the Geneablogger noticed that the three guards he saw on his first visit were no longer there, and he recoiled in terror at the thought of what horrible fate must have befallen the three who had previously guarded the castle gate.

Three new guards stood at the castle gate, and the Geneablogger begged these new guards for assistance. He asked if he could see someone in person who might be able to help, but he was told that there was no customer service at that castle. The Geneablogger asked if there was another castle in the realm where he might be able to speak to customer service, but he was told there was not. The Geneablogger asked if there was a phone number or an email address to a real person who might be able to help him but, once again, he was told there was not.

The Geneablogger rode away from the castle of Facebook, dejected and defeated. The faceless rulers of Facebook didn’t seem to care about their users.

Soon after returning home, the Geneablogger decided to check his blog for new comments. To his horror, after entering the URL for his blog, a red box appeared with the following message from McAfee Site Advisor:

McAfee-Red

“Even McAfee Site Advisor is warning people away from my blog! Will this horror never end?” the Geneablogger wailed. Now, with a new challenge to his blog’s reputation, he sent an email message to McAfee Site Advisor, appealing to the rulers of the Kingdom of McAfee for aid.

The very next day, a representative from the Kingdom of McAfee answered the Geneablogger’s entreaty, stating that “SiteAdvisor engineers will look into your issue, and will issue a change if it is deemed appropriate.” And the message was signed by a real person, not just a faceless nonentity!

To the Geneablogger’s further amazement, just two days after his original supplication for aid, the rulers of McAfee wrote to him again, stating that “SiteAdvisor senior engineers have cleared this domain for a green Web safety rating switch.”

McAfee-Green

The Geneablogger sighed with relief. In just two days, the rulers of the Kingdom of McAfee had solved his problem with McAfee Site Advisor, and had sent him two messages signed by a real person.

“If only the faceless rulers of Facebook cared about their users as much as the rulers of McAfee do,” mused the Geneablogger. “Perhaps, in the future, I should associate with those rulers and kingdoms who care about the well-being of their subjects and avoid those who who do not.”

Copyright © 2010 by Stephen J. Danko

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34 Responses to The Two Kingdoms (A Cautionary Tale)

  1. Touche! And a very sad thing that the facebook people have been totally unresponsive. Based on other horror stories I have heard, I’m not surprised. About Facebook.

    It doesn’t make your facebook limbo situation any less daunting, though.

    One hint. You cannot storm the castle yourself, or approaching it carefully, with stealth. But what of the power of the press? The newspaper? The magazine? The journalists who cover facebook?

  2. Steve says:

    I agree with you Susan, I cannot storm the castle on my own. ABC news has a feature called “7 on Your Side” out here in San Francisco. I’m sure they would find the situation interesting!

    Steve

  3. Sheri Fenley says:

    I agree with Susan. Stick it to them Steve. Where it may not bring the dragon down it would surely knock a few scales off him.

  4. Steve says:

    Thanks for the support, Sheri! I have the feeling that the folks at Facebook think that they are invulnerable. After all, if they don’t want to deal with problems encountered by their (non-paying) users, who is going to force them?

    Steve

  5. Michelle says:

    Wow, what the heck did you write in order for someone to find it abusive? Lol, that’s just crazy.

  6. Steve says:

    Hi Michelle,

    There’s no indication that I wrote anything abusive. In fact, Facebook won’t say who reported that I was abusive or provide a reason I was reported.

    Steve

  7. Jasia says:

    While your tale of woe is a sad one indeed, your presentation was delightful! I’m sure I’ve never read a better “rant”. It was quite clever of you Steve!

    If I were you, I’d give up on your FB page and just create a new one under a pseudonym or using your initials and last name. If you ever get your original page back you can drop the new one but in the mean time you can come back and socialize on FB.

  8. Steve says:

    Hi Jasia!

    Yes, if I’m going to rant, I might as well have a good time while doing it. I’m glad you enjoyed it, too.

    As for setting up a new Facebook account – nope, I decided not to do that. I’ll just fight it out with Facebook until they restore my account.

    Steve

  9. Apple says:

    An amazingly enjoyable rant! Has this now been magically cleared up by the powers at FB? I can see your page and the link to let me follow your blog with networked blogs worked for me. In any case, the fact that they refused to reply to your emails is ridiculous!

  10. Steve says:

    Hi Apple,

    Thanks for your smiling face and kind words! I wish I could see what on Facebook is working and what isn’t. I know Donna tried to post a link to this article but Facebook wouldn’t let her. She succeeded only by using a tiny URL instead of the full URL.

    Steve

  11. Randy Seaver says:

    There is a Facebook blog at http://blog.facebook.com where you could drop your FB-bomb… and maybe get condolences or even a response!

    Nice post — Randy

  12. Steve says:

    Hi Randy, and thanks for the link. I went to the Facebook blog and found three posts regarding abuse. Judging from the comments to those posts, I’m certainly not the only one blocked from my Facebook account. It’s also clear from the comments that I’m not the only one whose emails are ignored by Facebook.

    Steve

  13. Donna says:

    Steve,

    I’m sorry for your woe, but oh, what a story. A lesson for the ages, a myth for our time. ;-) I do hope you get this resolved. For I, personally, have never, ever, ever been offended by your writing. In fact, I am more offended by those that do not possess your talent and wit. Alas, I shall help you storm the castle, Geneablogger!

    And geez, now I know why I never see you on FB anymore….

    Donna

  14. Steve says:

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for posting a link to this article on Facebook (and for figuring out how to do it when Facebook rejected a link with my domain name in it)! Thanks also for your friendship and support!

    Steve

  15. I enjoyed the tale, but not the eventual outcome. I would not encourage using a name other than your own.

    I sit in anticipation of being removed from facebook for footnoteMaven not being my real name and the fact that fM is not a real person. I would of course argue that point. I am trademarking footnoteMaven, so I should be as welcome as Coca Cola or Bart Simpson, but then they only occupy fan pages.

    Have you tried to Tweet the Twits?

    fM

  16. Steve says:

    Hi fM,

    Thanks for your comments. I agree with you about the trademarking issue – many of us have some form of branding that we need to protect. In my case, my brand is my name, and so I’m committed to getting back on Facebook with my own name.

    Tweeting has occurred to me!

    Steve

  17. I love the humor and the story line! You couldn’t have done any better! This was great!

  18. Steve says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the tale. I hope everyone caught all the metaphors I wove into the story!

    Steve

  19. Hi, Steve – a great tale. Susan Kitchens is correct. The San Jose paper/silicon valley publications might find this an interesting piece. Do contact them. Power to the Press! Twitter is also a good idea!

    Remember way back when Blogger labeled thousands of genealogy and other blogs as abusive or some such, and it took weeks to get them unlocked? At least Blogger admitted that was a mistake.

    Keep us updated.

  20. Steve says:

    Hi Schelly,

    Yes, I agree about contacting the press. I was hoping that Facebook would lend an ear and provide a solution to my dilemma without me having to go to the press, but it really doesn’t look like Facebook has any intention of responding to my requests.

    Steve

  21. Gwynn says:

    I sayith fellow bloggitier sounds like a predicament you foundeth thy self in. My friend had a similar problem with the sickness of virus that infected her book of face account. It took a few weeks to get resolved. I pray ye that ye hath no more issues with the book of face!
    Happy searching!

  22. Steve says:

    Methinks that neither noble nor knave couldest have saideth it more eloquently than thee, Gwynn!

  23. Kenny Hedgpeth says:

    Steve – I personally feel your anger … My own FB profile was shut down TWICE :( the first time was only for a few days, reason was for sending too many copies of basically same text message individually while befriending fellow alumni from my former High School within an unspecified time frame ? ? ? That time I did get two replies to my queries as to what the heck was going on … their replies came across as if this was some sort of 9/11 security issue or that I was trying to assembly a group to revolt !! LOL … they could never tell me how many people I could contact nor what the time frame was in contacting X number of people … all they said was SLOW DOWN !! I was the alumni contact person for my High Schools 50th anniversary celebration aka “the town crier” of sorts :)

    the second time was for basically the same reason “I assume” but this time it was in helping set up a surname/family group of ALL the H*D*P*TH’s in facebook-land … that time they never responded to my queries and I was shut down for well over a week :(

    there was even a fan page set up to request Restoral of my FB account … just like there is one for YOU now :)

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=275674988457

  24. Steve says:

    Thanks so much, Kenny! I really appreciate everyone’s support and assistance with this!

    Steve

  25. Carolyn Steinberg says:

    Steve, this is just awful. I would like to suggest contacting Michael Finney at 7on Your Side. This would be a new and interesting problem for the ABC News. They have the exposure and clout to get a response from anybody. Hope you get this cleared up soon.

  26. Bill West says:

    Steve-
    This is absurd. I’ve joined the group to get you back on Fb and
    let me know when you decide to storm the castle. I’ll shake my cane
    vigorously at them for you!

  27. Tom McFarland says:

    Steve,
    The lack of response from FB is incredible, and I find it very disturbing that FB indiscriminatley censored a user. You have a right to a reply within a reasonable time explaining the company’s reasoning for terminating an account. Perhaps the lack of a reason accounts for the silence at the palace.

  28. Tom McFarland says:

    Steve,
    The lack of response from FB is incredible, and I find it very disturbing that FB indiscriminatley censored a user. You have a right to a reply within a reasonable time explaining the company’s reasoning for terminating an account. Perhaps the lack of a reason accounts for the silence at the palace.

  29. Mark Tucker says:

    What a great tale of woe thou hast told, brave Steve. The wizards at the book of face hath disgraced thy honor. Mightest the joust fall in thy favor grand Geneablogger.

  30. Barbara Schenck says:

    Steve,
    Excellent post. I’ve joined your “group” to get your page reinstated. It seems there should be some sort of ‘due process’ and clearly there is nothing ‘due’ or ‘process’ about this. I wish I could say I can’t believe they are this obdurate, but sadly I can. It reminded me of a tale of “customer service” I heard a year or so ago that reminded people in the industry that “It isn’t customer SERVICE until you pick up the phone!” Best of luck with the Powers That Be.

  31. It has been my disgusting and annoying experience that entities these days — be they commercial or governmental — just cannot be bothered to answer legitimate questions sent by e-mail. It is so insufferably rude, it irritates the pure living [expletive deleted] out of me.

    Send a registered letter marked “Personal and Confidential” to the head honcho of Facebook, explaining your problem. In fact, if you have an attorney friend, have him or her send it as a Letter of Demand. In it, let them know that they have so many days to answer your question and explain, citing the exact and specific section of their terms of service that they think you have violated, or they will be further contacted by your attorney. Be nice, but be firm, and let them know that you feel they have damaged your reputation. It may be that the head honcho is unaware of all this.

    You have the right to know the specific portion of their TOS that they think you have violated, and the right to defend yourself. So far, your rights have not been observed.

    Go get ‘em.

  32. Larry Boswell says:

    this situation was just mentioned on a rootsweb list. Facebook should have to tell you exactly who complained and what the nature of their complaint was. Have you any idea who complained? If Facebook was willing to listen to one side (the complainers) then they should be required to hear your views. Anyone could complain about something posted, justified or not. It’s ridiculous.

    I know of situations where people with a grudge against an individual have written to Facebook claiming the individual was a ‘fake’ or an imposter, and without checking further, Facebook simply shut down the account in question. It was eventually restored.

    I’ll be joining your group.

  33. Kathryn Lake says:

    Greetings Steve,
    You have handled this situation graciously. I don’t know if this would be of any help – it may be a long shot – but there are two bloggers who are well-known for their social media blogs and are well recognized in the social media community. They are Jason Falls at Social Media Explorer http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/ and Chris Brogan at http://www.chrisbrogan.com/ They might be interested in your story. I wish you success in this mess and am glad to see you are “sticking to your guns”.

    ~Kathryn

  34. Craig Manson says:

    This is the most outrageous thing FB has ever done! What happened to fairness, to say the least of responsiveness. You have been viciously slandered by FB–whatever I can do to help, I shall!

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