Slightly annoyed might be an understatement. I have, since the New Year began, found myself suspended twice without cause from Facebook. In both cases, it was after an altercation with the same person, so I must assume he flagged me twice. The first time was a three day suspension, and when the time was up, I was back up and running. The second was a seven day suspension. It was supposed to end last Friday. As of this writing last evening, a few hours before this post went live, I was still suspended, only able to view pages, message people, and file reports that something is broken to Facebook. Not to mention send off numerous complaints about the situation to Facebook. Still, I remain suspended.
A little background. The altercation was at a newspaper page. The other person was one Scott Roberts (why not name him? After all, he's the one who started this) of North Bay, Ontario, a walking temper tantrum of seething rage, psychotic episodes, and a profound grudge where the Liberal Party of Canada in general and their leader, Justin Trudeau, in particular, are concerned. I have seen Scott's many posts in the past, often to be found in any article on federal politics in Canada. The man is irrational. His mind is way, way, way off the map. So when I say that in my personal opinion he's a sociopath, that's an opinion based on seeing an awful lot of his commentary. To be honest, this man is a shooting rampage just waiting to happen. It's not a matter of if, but when.
I have in the past, as others have, called him out for his endless rants, unrelated links from dubious sources, and his paranoid loathing of any opinion that doesn't fall in step with his own. His response to anyone who challenges him? Well, he calls us traitors to the country who ought to be kicked out. He calls us rapists. Child molesters. Terrorists. Terrorist sympathizers.
Read those words again. You can imagine why they would bother a person. He also applies this line of thought to anyone who happens to think that voting for anyone but Stephen Harper is a good idea. Everyone gets labelled the same way in Scott's deranged mind. He's used those vicious labels on me more than once. These are things that violate Facebook's terms of conduct. They cross way the hell over the line. They're slanderous. A court of law would see them as such. And yet, on those occasions when I have reported him, the automated response from Facebook is that in their opinion those remarks do not violate the terms of conduct.
So this suspension happened because I happened to say in a snarky way that Scott could benefit from a few decades in a place with padded walls. That's the remark that got me flagged and suspended. I believe Facebook was wrong. I didn't like the suspension, nor the fact that even the Help Community is cut off from someone in my situation. It's irritating that Facebook has a feature that says if you feel you've been wrongly suspended, you can go to the Help Center, and yet you can't actually ask a question there while you're under suspension. Nice catch-22 there, Facebook. It's also irritating when you're frustrated at the sight of the automatic "thank you for providing feedback" replies when you've just finished complaining in a comment box no one will actually see. And I really didn't like it that the suspension has continued now days after it was due to end.
I looked around at options, and found a few ways to contact Facebook. The following is the email I sent off on Monday evening to a Facebook contact email address I found. I have omitted one detail, as I had the hometown of the lunatic in question incorrect (side note: what did North Bay ever do to deserve a whackjob like Scott Roberts living there?).
I am hoping this email goes through to an actual person. I have sent it to another email, only to get an automated reply that Facebook does not support that email address. I cannot take this to a Help Center discussion, because the fact that I am suspended even extends to not allowing me to ask a question. I am copying and pasting the remainder of this as sent.
I have been wrongfully suspended by Facebook after being flagged for a remark made in a newspaper discussion thread. I do not believe I crossed the line in terms of conduct. The remark that had me flagged was an off hand comment about a man whose temper tantrums are routine, that he would benefit from time in a place with padded walls. Yes, it was snarky, but not crossing the line, particularly given what he has said to me and to others.
Nonetheless, that suspension was supposed to have been a seven day suspension, ending on Friday. It is now Monday evening, and to be frank, I have been frustrated by the fact that I am still under suspension. I have made multiple reports trying to get myself restored, but nothing. I am still under suspension, and I have received nothing but one or two automated replies that say absolutely nothing of consequence.
I find it particularly appalling that the individual in question who flagged me, Scott Roberts- I am quite certain the complaint came from him, given the single comment I was flagged for- has gotten away with saying far worse about me and others, and Facebook never removed those comments or suspended him. This man is a sociopath- I do not know him personally, but looking at his comment history, it is a fair assessment. This man is a walking temper tantrum with anger management issues just waiting to go off. He's a shooting rampage just waiting to happen, and it's not a matter of if, but when. This man has accused me and others of being traitors to the country, rapists, terrorists, terrorist sympathizers, or child molesters, all because we call him out on his political views. Making unfounded accusations like that certainly do cross every line for terms of conduct, but has Facebook ever acted on that? No. That is appalling.
The lack of communication, the fact that this situation remains ongoing, that I am suspended... it is incredibly frustrating to me. I am now ten days behind in Facebook, and I am missed by many. My birthday was yesterday, and thanks to your site refusing to lift this suspension, and refusing to acknowledge my concerns, I missed any interaction with those wishing me well. I will never be able to catch up, and frankly, at this point, an apology would be pointless. The damage is done. I will never forget being treated this badly by Facebook. I will never forget it, and I am at the point where walking away from this site forever sounds like a good idea.
I am done with Scott Roberts. I get the point. I will block the psychopath completely and let the chips fall where they will. And someday when that man is arrested after a shooting spree, I can say that I saw it coming.
And I'm back again. A reasonable sort of email, albeit one that expresses my frustration and disappointment with Facebook. I meant every word. I have sent off repeated reports to Facebook trying to get this resolved. I have tweeted repeatedly to Facebook, asking why they choose to take the side of a sociopath over someone who didn't do anything wrong. I have directly tweeted Facebook, even adding the company name in a hashtag. A number of my blog friends have taken this matter up on Twitter in the hopes of getting Facebook to resolve this under the hashtag #BringWilliamBack. It's become, in short, something of a strange circus of futility. Facebook absolutely refuses to communicate in this matter, to resolve it, and I have no idea how long it'll go on.
There's a phrase from Jane Austen and Pride & Prejudice that comes to mind. Mr. Darcy remarks, "my good opinion once lost is lost forever." That's what has happened here. I have been treated abominably by this site, and I will never forget that. They willingly have taken the side of someone who clearly shows himself to be a rampaging lunatic, refusing to remove remarks that flagrantly violate their own code of conduct, while tossing me out over nothing. No apology will ever make up for this. Not that I expect one from that vile heap of self absorbed bloody wankers called Facebook (hi, guys, I've just insulted you. Don't like that? I don't really care anymore).
Ending this on a side note, Scott Roberts has at least contributed to my ongoing theory that 99% of all guys named Scott in the world are total assholes.