NPF: THE SOCIAL NETWORK

Posted in No Politics Friday on November 20th, 2015 by Ed

So after a million or so Facebook users saw this post I got a bit of a surge of popularity on that ubiquitous social networking platform. One of the inviolable laws of the internet is that increased exposure brings trolls. Lots of trolls. And I've learned very quickly that motivated trolls are a big problem in that format.

To be brief, if someone reports your post on Facebook you get blocked from posting for something like 72 hours. As best I can tell there is no human involvement. Someone reports your post, a text recognition algorithm or something equally insipid "reviews" it and they send you an automated message banning you for some apparently randomly chosen amount of time. This would not be so frustrating except that Facebook literally has no customer support. I don't mean they have bad support; they have none. There is no chat, no email address, no phone number, nothing. They have a Help Center online and a few forms that, once filled out, result in a terribly helpful canned "Thank you for your feedback, we will continually improve our product" message.

It dawned on me that "customer service" may exist at Facebook, but we would never know. We're Users. The advertisers and the data harvesting industry are its customers. They probably have a hotline with real, helpful humans on the other end. For its billion users there is no interaction available whatsoever. Go ahead and Google it; you can find just about anything on the internet. Anything except a person who has successfully managed to contact Facebook by phone or even by email.

If I were more than a hobbyist – say I was a cartoonist or comedian and I relied on FB as an integral part of my means of supporting myself financially – this would be a killer. I don't understand how they manage to get away with having no support staff of any kind (although the fact that I've been on FB for about seven years and this is the first time I've ever had any need to contact them suggests that they're just playing the odds well).

It's not going to take any money out of my pocket, luckily. But regardless, that's why there won't be any updates there for a few days. If I manage to find the center of the Matrix I'll let you know.