Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Slightly Annoyed, And Missing In Action

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.


  1. Well, I hope you had a nice birthday anyway!

  2. First, I didn't know it was your birthday ?
    Second, I just joined facebook but it is a pain in the butt and hearing what you just wrote makes me want to sign off ! Which I will do after I figure out how to send then a finger in the e-mail.
    pissed off parsnip

  3. Oh wow! I agree it can be so frustrating William, take a deep breath and walk away from the aggravation.. it suredly can't be worth it :(

  4. Hate Facebook..they let my estranged brother have an account...enough said.
    Jane x
    PS Belated wishes for a happy birthday.

  5. This needs to be shared all over the internet. I'll start.

    Maybe I can post a link on Mark Zuckerberg's page....

  6. I just did. I may be joining you in Facebook Jail soon....

  7. @Linda: it was okay. Getting together with friends for awhile. I don't like a big fuss made over my birthday.

    @Parsnip: I thought of adding a middle finger to a Facebook image in this post, but I decided against it. Still, that's how I feel about them right about now.

    @Grace: it's not.

    @Jane and Chris: thanks!

    @Norma: we shall see if you end up in Facebook Jail! As of this morning, I'm still locked out.

  8. Here's the weird part: I needed to change the name on my Facebook Author page because I was getting queries for "Beishir Books" from would-be authors. The instructions say it can take two weeks. It didn't even take ten minutes...but your seven-day suspension still hasn't been lifted.

  9. Ugh. Another reason not to like FB. But everyone is on it...

  10. Happy Birthday and I'm sorry about this mess. Hopefully, though, he gets properly blocks and you don't have to read him anymore. Why waste good energy on such rubbish.

  11. So sorry, William. A shame there isn't an alternative. Although it may not be long before some of the maverick sites grow large enough to challenge the mammoth FB, esp when it keeps acting like this!

  12. "99% of all guys named Scott in the world are total assholes". Oh no. That only leaves 1% for Scots. You know, the people in Scotland.

    Okay, that was a little light joke because now I'm also angry. I'm angry at how FB works, at how freedom of speach works, at how PC works... I'm angry that on FB you get no response when in your situation while allsorts of dangerous individuals seem to thrive there (and I mean perverts, Jihad lovers etc.)

    I do, however, also think that it isn't worth it. Some of these geezers are trolls whose sole purpose in life seem to be upsetting or infuriating others and end up landing you in this kind of situation. That's why I don't bother anymore and even try to avoid reading the comments because some of them are so horrific...

  13. FB: a neat idea. Alas, it was founded with much skullduggery. That they run the joint like thugchildren was sadly predictable. I know that doesn't make you feel better William. Still, Happy Birthday.

  14. I had a newspaper editor named Scott once....

  15. @Norma: at this point, it would surprise me if it is active again before the weekend.

    @Halcyon: if Facebook were on fire and I had a glass of water, I'd drink it.

    @Whisk: good energy shouldn't be wasted on trolls. I've blocked my share of them already.

    @Cheryl: unfortunately those mavericks will no doubt end up doing the same.

    @Ciel: I can think of one person I blocked who seems to spend eighteen hours a day picking fights with anyone who wasn't a Conservative. There's no point fighting with someone like that, though as a writer I can make use of such a person and have them meet a very bad end.

    @Lynn: thank you.

    @Eve: did he contribute to the theory, or was he the occasional exception?

  16. I've seen Facebook kicking people off their own pages a lot lately. What on earth is going on? This is why I'm hoping Tsu takes over as the new platform.

  17. Trying to get anything achieved with the powers that be on FB seems like entering a downward spiral of hopelessness. I hope you're returned to normal service soon William. And I hope the powers that be properly investigate your complaints about the other party.

  18. Belated Happy Birthday wishes, William and do we share the same birthday as mine is 2/3?
    After reading this post it reaffirms WHY I am not a participant on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media other than our F&P blog. Getting suspended for comments? It smacks of being in grade school and getting your hand slapped. Really, there should be other ways to handle such matters.

  19. A totally bizarre situation. Does he pay someone on Facebook? Of course, I wished you a Happy Birthday! Interaction wasn't necessary. Tweeted.

  20. @Whisk: thanks!

    @Kelly: as of right now, I'm still suspended.

    @Lorraine: I've sent off the other party's profile to a couple of other places- this is someone who needs to be watched closely, so as far as I was concerned, it was responsible to let them know.

    @Beatrrice: Oh, I'm a February 1st birthday boy.

    @Mari: I wonder if he's got some kind of connection.

  21. I agree with Ciel. Don't feed the trolls!

  22. I hope you had a happy birthday. Did you try getting yourself a new Google email address and a new Facebook page? Sometimes our only recourse when we're dealing with insanely unreasonable people is to walk away. A friend goes to Alanon (sp?) meetings. One of their mottos is the three S's: shut-up, step-back, and smile. I look forward to reading about your eventual resolution of this issue.

  23. First of all, happy birthday, William. Sorry I don't get to facebook much (I sometimes find it more annoying than ever these days)
    And I think you're right, it needs a "Hate" button. I've wanted to hate a few things myself.
    I tweeted this and, if it goes, I'll put it up on my facebook, and maybe elsewhere--just to show facebook who actually made them millionares--(effers)!

  24. I've been thinking about the Scotts I know ... you're right.

  25. Our governor is named Scott and he's one of the biggest assholes in this country!

    I hate Facebook. I've always hated Facebook. I see nothing good in Facebook. It causes a lot of trouble and the world would be much better off without Facebook. I will have nothing to do with it.

    Having said that, I can see why you'd be frustrated. But there's not much sense in beating your head against the wall. Do you really need Facebook? Maybe it's best to cut your losses and move in another direction.

    I don't think I knew you had a birthday so I'll just say "Happy Birthday" here.

    And I'll not even use Scott tissue anymore! :)

  26. William - hugs - I wish I could help more-- Cyn Bagley

  27. There were questions raised on TV this morning as to whether or not social media suspensions is a violation of free speech.

  28. So sorry about your situation:(. Hope everything is resolved soon.

  29. @Petrea: trolls thrive on that.

    @Christine: I remember blocking one of these guys very quickly. Something about his name was familiar, I looked it up, and this guy's been in a lot of trouble with the law for disrupting council meetings at a city in southern Ontario. To the point where restraining orders and charges were filed.

    @Lorelei: I hope this gets resolved at some point before the end of the month, but at this point, I doubt it.

    @Mark: there have to be some that aren't useless jackasses, but I haven't met a Scott yet who wasn't a waste of oxygen.

    @Lowell: I quite often see Governor Scott mercilessly lampooned by the editorial cartoonist Bill Day.

    @Cyn: thanks. I hope this gets sorted out soon.

    @Norma: I'll check the links out!

    @Maria: me too.

  30. I hope that you have a nice birthday, other that facebook being dumb. The website really can become such a cesspool and I'm sorry you were sucked into it--you clearly didn't deserve it!

  31. Happy thoughts first, Happy Birthday, William! *sending you a virtual cake with as many candles as you'd like -- and a bottle of champagne to pop*

    This FB situation is totally BIZARRE! (And totally stupid. I hate stupid stuff.) This was a conversational thread that was, well, just that and shouldn't have led to a suspension.

    I'm having second thoughts about moving my writer stuff to FB -- I actually know little about how FB works and only recently reactivated my long dead account --

    Anyway, have you thought about seeing an attorney about this??? You have rights, William!

  32. I was wondering what was going on and then I came here. I'm so sorry this happened William. I have had to bite my tongue more than a few times while reading comments and posts on FB. It's just not worth it because I've found I can't win an argument with an idiot. Oh and Lowell is so right about our governor. In the last couple of weeks, he has pissed off even members of his own party by forcing out a long time law enforcement official. I'm hoping he won't get out of this one so easily, but then again, I didn't think he would get re-elected. Silly me, I almost forgot I live in Florida!

  33. Politics abound, in government and many other institutions. Your suspension as described appears to be excessive and mismanaged. I really don't mind FB because I pick and choose what I read and write. I like to stay in touch with former students, friends, family, and others. So far, so good. My only advice is not to waste your energy on fools and foolish guidelines.

  34. I'm finAlly here to read this. I has a goofball following my posts just so he could ram me so to speak. Name calling was one of his gifts. Anyway, I blocked and deleted him. And I'm suspended for suspicious activity.

  35. I should create an app for you, Facebook Wars. :)


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