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The Emotional Journey of Losing Your Online Business

Updated: Dec 2, 2020


Ohhhhh ... my dearest friends and clients. I have been through quite the emotional rollercoaster the past month. If you've been looking for me, I sure hope it didn't take you long to find me. My Facebook account was "permanently disabled" by Facebook in the last week of October 2020. They said I "violated Community Standards."


I thought for sure that this was obviously a mistake. So like most of my friends have suggested, "just call them," "or just write them an e-mail." Well, let me tell you. I tried everything. First, I tried to fill out the form in their Help Center that states you can file an appeal if you think it was a mistake. So I filled out the form and entered my driver's license as they ask. As soon as I hit the enter button, there is an automatic pop-up stating, "This account has been permanently disabled and is irreversible." So this tells me that there is no appeal process at all. It was an instant automation. Next, I tried the e-mail address approach. Every single account I wrote to at Facebook was returned with the message of "This mailbox is full and is no longer accepting additional mail." So I resorted to good old telephone communication. I called several numbers, but they were all the same. "Press 1 for customer service." Great, I thought! FINALLY! The immediate response after pressing 1 is, "There is no phone support at this time." Sigh ...


Now here is the thing. We are in the middle of a pandemic. I get that Facebook may have less employees than usual. HOWEVER - I have been reading in forums that this has been occurring since LAST YEAR - well before we even knew the word COVID. Not to mention that Facebook is a tech giant. The rest of the world is working remotely right now. You mean to tell me that Facebook doesn't have the capacity to employ customer service reps right now? They are the techiest people out there next to Google! I'm calling BS.



The scariest part in all of this personal fiasco is that it continues to go deeper and deeper. Now, I'm not even so sure Facebook is the one that disabled my account at all. I think I was hacked ... and maybe Facebook "thinks" that I violated community standards because my hacker turned off my account for me under those parameters. Or what it a algorithm glitch - which is what many people in the forums are thinking. Because guess what? There are thousands out there in forums going through the same exact thing. We are losing our livlihoods - and with zero remorse. And we are all PISSED. None of us can recall posting anything so disturbing that we would be booted permanently. It makes zero sense.


So my Facebook account was the first thing to go. Then, any account that I had that was tied to the e-mail address I used for my now disabled Facebook account was also hacked a day or two later. My Amazon, Ebay, PayPal, and about five other accounts, were all hacked into. Hell, they even tried to hack my Walmart account. Just when I think it is all finally over, I find another avenue in which they tried to gain access to my personal accounts. This tells me that they hacked my Facebook account first, got my e-mail address and just went to town. There has been zero help from Facebook so far and zero help from the Better Business Bureau of San Francisco, who handles Facebook complaints, but I am told to be patient, that it takes them a good week or two to respond. Okay, I will be patient because I just want my page back. Here is the crazy thing ... did you know that Facebook has a 1.5 star rating on the BBB, yet maintains an "A" status? How can this be? All of this is so confusing. At this point, I have submitted paperwork to the FBI. I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but I am at the point where I am thinking of getting a new phone and phone number and completely getting a new e-mail as well. I am not the first and I won't be the last. Until then, I have had to shut down every single account that I own that is tied to that e-mail address. I've lost precious amounts of information that was tied to each account and I feel like I am now living in a caveman era existence -- as I am afraid to touch anything electronic at this point.


With that being said, you can imagine the devastation of losing my page, but especially my business page. That was years worth of work. All of my photos from events are gone. All of the access I had to people who came to my events is gone. I had to shut down my Eventbrite page and have zero access to that information for tax purposes, let alone if I want to invite anyone back to my upcoming events. I had gathered wonderful followers from all over the world. Shamans, healers, leaders, visionaries - they won't pop up in my new page under "suggested friends" because they are not directly tied to my high school friends, my college friends or even my local spiritual community. Some of them, I cannot remember their last names. Some of them have their name listed in a unique and funky way and now I can't find them because of that. I miss some of them dearly. One was battling cancer and I have no clue how she is doing now. We make these connections and don't understand how precious they are in the busyness of life.


I lost photos of my deceased dog and deceased father because when I got new phones, I was dumb enough to think, "Oh, I will just put it on my Facebook page - when I need it, I'll know where it is." Back up your photos. NOW!!!! This is the most heartbreaking part about this for me and it puts a lump in my throat every time I think about it. Those memories are off in La La Land and will never be seen again. No one cares about them either. They have made it clear that they are a private company and that your data is not your own. We agreed to it when we signed up for our account. They are completely protected and because they are a private business, they can do what they like. But what is the most awful thing about this experience so far is that there is no human emotion attached and this is where most of us falter in business. What I truly don't think they understand is how their split-second decisions (or lack of empathy in helping) could possibly ruin someone's business, or more importantly, precious memories. My life is drastically changing because of such a small event.


This continues to go deeper. As many of you know, I ran many groups on Facebook. I taught many spiritual classes and created many meeting places for students to connect with each other. When my account was shut down, I was also kicked out of all of my groups. The strange thing is, the groups are still running, but they have no admin. I had to ask friends to invite me in so I could make myself the admin. The real kicker is that, in some of the groups, everything I ever posted is now gone because it was linked to my old account. Many of those groups, I was the only one posting, so the groups are now empty. I now have to delete every single member from every single group just so I can shut down the group because it is still linked to my old account, which they cannot open. It's very confusing for them.


Just today, I found out that my old Facebook business page is actually running a Faeriology event on a website that is considered "harmful." Someone is pretending to be me on my business page, that I don't even have access to! It sure would be nice to be able to talk to someone about this.


Think of all of the "extra" accounts that you "use Facebook to sign in" for as well. I had to update my accounts with vendors such as Dollar Shave Club and the like. I realized today that when you Google my business name, everything is still coming up linked to my old Facebook account. As you can imagine, I am exhausted. One button pushed on their end has created this snowball effect on my end that is never-ending ... and I don't know how much sanity I have left. It has now been a month and I am nowhere near cleaning up this mess ... not to mention that I now have to start building my business all over again on social media too ... if I dare to even go there again. Did I mention that they deleted my Instagram too? Oh, and once you lose your Facebook page, your Messenger goes bye-byes too! So when I no longer appeared online, I had clients reaching out to me via my website to see what was going on. I had an event planned the next day and had to cancel that too. I'm only giving you the tip of the iceberg here. It goes much deeper.



So what did I do to warrant this decision? Did Facebook actually decide this? I'm still not sure. How did all of my other accounts get hacked at the same time? I still think that FACEBOOK GOT HACKED FIRST and now everyone else who is going through this just has to suck it up that they lost their page after their 30 days to reverse it are up. The funny thing is -- you guys know me -- I used to be a HUGE conspiracy theorist. I used to post some pretty "out there" things on my page. Hell, I even ran a conspiracy group at one point. I was never much of a Q follower, but I had people in my group who were. I'm sure I was flagged at some point. But I hadn't even talked about anything conspiracy related since February. I've been a tame girl and gave up on the conspiracy theories altogether because I realized it was just extra noise and distraction. In fact, I have come up with three scenarios.


One - I found an article on Instagram that I found intriguing about scientists across the pond who were doing experiments with COVID. I hate Instagram and don't go there often. I didn't have time to read the article, so I forwarded it to "ONLY ME" on my Facebook page so I could read it later. This is precisely when my account shut down. It was almost instantaneous. So I highly suggest you do not post ANYTHING that is "conspiracy" related on your page. It doesn't matter if you only share it to yourself. If Collective Evolution is allowed to post on Instagram, they I don't understand how sharing it to my Facebook would cause an immediate deletion.


Two, in a recent video I had done on my business page, I was bringing up a very important topic about how privilege in the spiritual community is becoming a real problem. One statement has said that, "The spiritual community has been mocked in the past for being a "rich white lady pastime." In no way was this meant to be against unity or to create racism. I was, in fact, trying to do the opposite by bringing awareness to what needs to change for more inclusivity. Could this have been my smoking gun?


Thirdly and finally, I made a post about how, if we are going to come into unity, we need to stop separating ourselves into political camps. Okay, okay - I may have said that the left wing and the right wing are from the same corrupt bird. But that is nothing compared to what I see on FB all the time. I was saying that we need to come together and change ourselves. That real change won't come from government or from a president, it will come from us as a collective. If that message is frowned upon, then maybe it's best that I am not wanted on this platform anyway.


None of these examples were false news. None of them were violent. None of them promoted racism. If I was disabled for some other reason, I will never know. Who is to say that I won't get disabled from my new account. Because the community standards are a bit vague to me in what is allowed and what is not. My dear friend, who is a dog trainer, reported a video last week of a dog ring/fight. It was determined that the video stayed up because it "did not violate the standards." So I just don't get it. I don't think a lot of people get it anymore. Meanwhile, good people who were spreading good messages and trying to create a life for themselves are being denied access.


I should be grateful. I shouldn't complain. Social media is free. But at what cost? We have the Wizards of Oz behind curtains making decisions that affect us directly and impact us in HUGE HUGE ways and not only do we not get a say, we aren't considered important enough to speak a word to defend our work. I would be lying if I said I wasn't in a very low place during all of this. This was also occurring during a huge job shift at work and a few other things all happening at the same time. I was not well. I'm still struggling. If we only knew how we affected each other, we would be so much more kind to each other. I apologize for the general snarky tone and the frustration coming through, but it has been a long 5 weeks my friends. I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.

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Song title: The Land of the Pharohs

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Angie Whitsel

717-884-2192

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Harrisburg, PA