• Bent Petersen

Facebook re-activated my account as if nothing has happened, but a lot happened in the past 36 hours

Yesterday my Facebook account was suddenly without notice deactivated without any reason given. In fact, I didn't even receive an email, it was just complete radio silence from Facebook.


After logging on to Twitter I realised that I was not the only user, in fact, a hashtag appeared:

https://twitter.com/hashtag/facebookdisabledme

with many users reporting the same scenario.


After approximately 36 hours, my account is now back online. No reason was given, no message waiting explaining why they deactivated my account and no email received. Everything is as if nothing has happened. But a lot happened in the last 36 hours.


So what happened?

  1. Did I miss Facebook?

  2. Well, first of all, 36 hours is not a long time. So if I did indeed miss Facebook, then it would be a good sign that I need a break from social media. Luckily the answer is NO, I did not miss Facebook.

  3. I realized just how stupid Facebook login is

  4. Facebook login for developers is presented as "A convenient way for Facebook’s billions of global users to log into your app or website.". While that might be true, it is also a HIGHLY INCONVENIENT way for people to get locked out of non-Facebook apps or websites, if an incident like this happens again. I know that many people would never use Facebook login to other apps, but yes, I admit it, I have used it for some.

  5. While I might have used Facebook login for some apps, this will now be in the past. I will do everything I can to find every single app and website where I used it and get rid of it.

  6. The old physical phone book worked !!

  7. Before cell-phones, we used an old-time notebook to write a contact in. When mobile phones came to the market, I miss my old Nokia 2110i which never broke!!, we typed them into an address book. Whenever we changed phone number, a text message would be sent to the entire contact list and the number would be updated.

  8. Today we don't really do that. For close friends and colleagues, the phone number is updated in the address book, but for distant relatives and friends, we rely on services like Facebook to keep us in contact with them. We contact them via messager and not necessarily via text messages. Meaning, that we will no have their updated phone numbers. So what happens when Facebook blocks you out? You simply loose all that information.

  9. Facebook is big and the think they can do what they want

  10. Well, actually they don't *think* they can do what they want, they do EXACTLY what they want. When my account was deactivated no explanation was given. I had no way to contact them, and still, after being re-activated, there is not a single message from them explaining what happened in the last 36 hours.

  11. Was it hackers taking over some servers? Was my account involved in a data breach? In cases like that, I would understand, but I would want an explanation and warning so I could secure my data.

  12. Facebook is not free

  13. You might think that it is, but it's not. We pay with our time, our data and our attention to ads, news and their sponsors. Facebook got us wrapped around their fingers and unless we quit, there is nothing to do about it, and in the meantime, they earn hundreds of millions of dollars on us.

  14. What will I do now?

  15. Change my password. As I use a password manager, https://1password.com/, my Facebook password is fortunately unique, but it is still good to change it after something like this.

  16. I will locate and remove all Facebook Login apps and websites.

  17. I will slowly remove as much personal information as I can.

  18. Yes... I know... They already have it and they won't delete it.

  19. I will see if there is a way to save the contact information for all my contacts, just in case something like this would happen again. If you know of any method or safe app, please write it in the comments section.

I use Facebook to keep in contact with my family and friends but also with old students from all over the world for whom I help over Messenger. This is one thing but think about all the people who use Facebook as their business platform. Are they getting as little support as I and other users did?

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Contact

Bent Petersen

University of Copenhagen
GLOBE Institute
Section for Evolutionary Genomics
Øster Farimagsgade 5
1353 Copenhagen K
DENMARK

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