Facebook, I Need Your Help

Facebook has blocked me from posting in the "help community." What was my sin? I have only posted there twice. The first time I asked how to remove my father's Facebook page after he died. I learned that I couldn't, so every year my brothers and I receive reminders that it is his birthday and we should write on his timeline. Recently, I posted again, asking what I thought was a reasonable question. I guess not, because I was banished from the community.

The apparently offensive question was the effort of a seventy-year-old woman (that would be me) to understand an email I received from "Facebook developers" on June 21. It began with a friendly "Hi Laurie," but went on to say that my Facebook fan page had committed an offense that I could not begin to comprehend:

"Making recent API calls to Graph API v2.0, which will reach the end of the 2-year deprecation window on Monday, August 8, 2016. Please migrate all calls to v2.1 or higher in order to avoid potential broken experiences.

We recommend using our new Graph API Upgrade Tool to see which of your calls are affected by this change as well as any replacement calls in newer versions. You can also use our changelog to see the full list of changes."

I have to admit this email alarmed me. What calls had I been making? Had I somehow been hacked? What on earth is Graph API v2.0? Why had it depreciated? Most troublesome of all, was this a legitimate email?

I knew enough about fake email phishing scams to avoid clicking on any of the links in this email. So I looked for a way to contact Facebook to ask about the strange message. I googled for an hour, looking for a phone number, email contact, or online chat option for technical support that could lead me to a human being. No such thing. The only resource I could find was the help center. So I posted my question about the email there.

I can't even tell you what I asked that might have been so offensive to Facebook because of the ban. Now when I go to the "help community" it says the post was hidden because it was identified as spam. But it wasn't my spam. Someone sent it to me and I needed to know what to do. The Help Center asked me to confirm this admonishment. Did I dare?

Well, I did it. I can't tell if I am still banned from the help page, but that probably doesn't matter. Unless I can communicate with a human being, I am more likely to google until I find something that relates to my problem.

When Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in 2004, I'm sure he wasn't thinking of folks my age and older using it. Like my son a decade before him, he used the old-fashioned paper version of the Harvard Facebook to connect with his fellow students. But Zuckerberg realized the Internet was the future. And so, the version we all love to hate grew into a means to connect with "friends" used by all, from kids to seniors. In fact, my mother was a huge Facebook fan from ages 89 to her death at 91. When it became harder for her to get out into the world physically, she used her computer to connect.

Zuckerberg probably doesn't get that there are so many seniors using Facebook, just as when he was in college he couldn't envision middle aged folks on it. But now that you are a dad and in your thirties, Mark, try to empathize with those of us who didn't grow up in a digital world and struggle to keep up. Please find a way for us to ask our silly questions to actual humans. Not only will tech support get a few good laughs, but also we would be happy to pay for this service.

And while you are at it, can you lift my ban? It makes me feel awful to be excluded from your community for asking a dumb question.

I invite you to join my Facebook community, sign up for my newsletter, visit my website, and check out my book.