I was banned from Facebook
Good morning and happy Monday. 😃
Let's get goin' here...
ARTICLE OF THE WEEK
I Was Banned From Facebook
This last week, I was banned from Facebook unexpectedly.
Now, to be clear, I got the profile back. But, this is what happened... and why it matters...
It started with an email which said my account was suspended. Of course, to ensure this wasn't a phishing email, I didn't click on anything. Instead, I directly opened up Facebook.com in my browser. And sure enough, here's what I saw:
That's it. No way to see my profile to see what happened. No access to settings. No explanation. Literally nothing I could do except to hit a button to say I disagreed. And obviously I disagreed. I don't even use Facebook all that much!
From what I could tell, they said I was spamming. They thought I was posting a bunch of spammy stuff in an attempt to get likes. But, of course, they offered no explanation whatsoever of where the problem lies.
So, I disagreed. Confirmed I was a real person. Then, just waited. There's nothing I could do. There's no contacts for Facebook. No support line. They clearly have no desire to actually help anybody at all.
I already decided it would be little more than an annoyance if I never got the profile back. I created a new profile and my plan was just to connect back with family and that's it. As far as I was confirmed, Facebook could go pound sand.
Later that evening, I did get the profile back. It was quite uneventful. I just visited the site from my iPad and noticed the profile was back like nothing ever happened.
So, why does this matter?
It was once again a highly potent reminder of why I am so firm on the idea of digital sovereignty. And why I think you should be, too.
Digital sovereignty means you are not dependent on any one company. It means:
You own and control your own data.
You never set things up where any one company could simply shut you down in a way that materially impacts you.
Look, getting shut down can be annoying. It can be inconvenient. But, it should never be able to do more than that.
I am in no way dependent on Facebook. Sure, it has it's uses. But, if I had never gotten the profile back, life goes on. But, what if I had pages and groups that I was very reliant on for my business? What if my business was dependent on ads on Facebook? What if I was stupid enough to put a lot of time into building an audience on this network... only to have it removed without any accountability whatsoever?
I honestly can't think of anything dumber than to put a lot of work (and potentially money) into building up community and profile on these social media networks. Sure, if you DO have a big profile, it can be a handy asset and very lucrative. But, jeez, it could be taken away from you at ANY time. For no damn reason. And there's nobody to call or email to even ask why.
Last week, I talked about what I think is a "renaissance" in email newsletters. It is a renewed interest in running email newsletters. And, if you're serious about building real assets, this is the way. The email list is OWNED media. A social media profile isn't even rented, since you don't pay for it. It is basically a bestowed privilege... and it can be taken away anytime by anybody or even just a bot.
So, here's what I want you to do...
Think about your blog. Your business. Your files. Your email. Think about the various digital tentacles of your online life.
Are you dependent on any company to the point where they could shut you off and materially impact you?
Do you have backups of your website locally on your computer? Backups of your email list? Backups of the videos you've uploaded to Youtube or Vimeo?
Have you been focusing too much on building your profiles on Instagram or TikTok and not on building your email list?
Is all your email sitting on Gmail and nowhere else?
In my opinion, people have become way too dependent on outside companies - and sadly often on companies they don't pay anything to and just rely on "free" services. And these "free" services are not free. They data mine the hell out of you. You are a cog in their machine. They only care about your data.
So, maybe it is time to take a hard look at your digital sovereignty. See if you've made yourself too open for disruption. And perhaps... make some changes to safeguard yourself.
Fluent Forms has come out with the public release of version 5. This version sports a much better user interface plus some other cool enhancements. I checked out the beta a few weeks ago and indeed the UI improvements are substantial. Fluent Forms continues to be my favorite forms plugin for WordPress. It just packs the most features for the money and is, in my opinion, a way better deal than Gravity Forms.
Gravatar has added payment features to profiles. If you're not aware, Gravatar is the "Globally Recognized Avatar" system, allowing you to associate an avatar with your email address and then use it easily across the internet. Well, now it has payment systems so you can send money to people. You can add links to Paypal, Venmo and Patreon. Cash App is coming. And apparently you can even hook up crypto wallet address for Bitcoin, Litecoin, Doge, ETH and Cardano. Pretty cool!
If you're still using Google Analytics, your deadline to fully switch over to GA4 is coming up this week (on July 1st). Yoast has a nice article on how to prep for GA4. Or... just ditch Google and stop letting your site be a cog in their spy machine.
And let's end off with a quick reminder and piece of advice...
Last week, I had to rescue and fix TWO WordPress sites that were hacked. And one of them, unfortunately, had NO backups Their host was not running any regular backups and they weren't keeping any backups. Apparently, their host considers backups to be an "extra" and they charge a surcharge for such a thing. Crazy.
I was able to manually recover and repair the site, but it took quite some time. In the process, I manually moved the site out of their hosting and over to Cloudways. But, if there had been good site backups, it would have been easy to fix. In fact, the second site I had to recover was a client and we had backups in place and I was able to have the site back to normal quite quickly and easily. The motto here is...
Make sure you are running real site backups for your site! Don't just blindly trust that your host is doing it for you because they may not be. For my Concierge clients, I make sure their host is doing it plus we keep our own in-house backups every day so we're not ever 100% reliant on the web host. I use UpdraftPlus for that and all of my clients and it works great. Always - ALWAYS - store those backups someplace other than your web server. The whole point is to be sovereign from your web host! If everything went to crap with your host, you know you could restore the site elsewhere in relatively little time.
If want me to deal with this stuff for you, consider the Concierge service. BTW, that site that I had to manually recover? She's now a client. :) And the site is now running just fine and even faster than it was before.
My absolute favorite plugin for powerful membership sites: WP Fusion.