I have fun on Facebook, usually. I post fun stuff on my own Wall/Timeline/Whatever-the-fuck-they-call-it-this-week, I hang out in fun groups which are invitation-only where like-minded people create small communities and share conversation and pictures that might not be acceptable in the greater “Facebook Community” but are certainly within the guidelines of our groups.
I also “Like” a lot of pages, especially now that I’ve started from scratch after having a previous account deleted within the last month or so; I’m trying to get back to where I once was… I lost so much when that account got nuked.
A few minutes ago, I posted something fun in one of the groups I mentioned above. Then I found myself faced with the very clear sign that something was wrong: “You are not logged in,” Facebook warns me, which means that they’ve logged me out to scold me. Sure enough, I was faced with a statement that one of my pictures had been removed for “violating community standards,” and had to click a box that says “yeah, I know, I know, Facebook is a place for sunshine and bunnies and cute things that are safe for every single child everywhere, and I solemnly swear I will be a completely boring prude forever and ever more.” Something like that, anyway — that’s the general idea at least.
Then I got the following screen:
After clicking “Continue,” I was presented with tagged photos of my Facebook friends, and required to correctly identify enough of them to prove I’m a really-real person instead of an automated script. Thing is, I don’t know every last one of the people I’m connected to on Facebook! I know that statement is nearly blasphemy, because the only sanctioned use for the service is to
rate the attractiveness of the girls on your college campus keep in touch with people you already know from someplace besides Facebook (sorry, I forgot for a moment that I’m not Zuckerberg…) and I failed the test the first time around. The second time I tried, I accidentally clicked “Skip” instead of “Next” on a set of photos I could identify, which counted as a strike against me, and the next set of photos wasn’t even of a person… just various pictures they or their friends had tagged themselves in, as people do with that. Except, of course, that can’t possibly happen, because the only sanctioned use of “tagging” a photo is to expand the database of facial recognition data to hand over to the NSA identify your friends in the photos you share, not to play “tagging games.”
Sometime after an hour or so has passed, I may be allowed to try again. I’d love to use my cellphone to verify my identity, but I never could get Facebook’s system to communicate with my mobile number, no matter how many times I told it to “resend code.” I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get my account back, and I really don’t know if I can deal with attempting to start over again. I need the support and the coping tools and the connection, but if this is the constant cost of that — being fucked over again and again unless I become someone entirely different than myself, unless I front for everyone I care about most — then I don’t think I can do it.