Social media justice

It began with an email. I thought it was a scam so I ignored it.

I could not have violated Facebook’s community standards. I hadn’t posted anything in months. Certainly, silence could not be against community standards.

Out of curiosity, I clicked to open the Facebook app. Maybe silence is against community standards.

It was true. My Facebook account had been suspended, just as the mysterious email had foretold.

I went back to the email: I had 30 days to appeal the suspension. After that my account would be deleted permanently.

Let’s see how this works, I thought, switching back to the app. I clicked the button to appeal. The app wanted my phone number. I was a little reluctant, but I finally decided I could offer that much to get to the bottom of this mystery.

The next screen asked me to upload a photo of my ID (e.g. license, passport, etc.).

Whoa. My identity is pretty important to me, and when it comes right down to it, Facebook is not. I started becoming disillusioned with FB the moment after I originally signed up. That disillusionment has grown over the years, as FB has become a tool to turn my deepest thoughts and shallowest curiosities into advertising to be thrown back into my face. Then there’s the issue of a corporation passing judgment on whose ideas are valid and whose aren’t.

Yes, there is a pleasant side to FB, and I do look at it sometimes to see what my friends are up to, and to understand what type of embarrassing secrets people now willingly share with the world in return for validation or sympathy.

I figure there are about 10 days left until I get deleted from the official registry of world people, and I think I’m OK with that. I would like to know what standard I violated by doing nothing (maybe I didn’t reach my quota of “Likes” in the past decade – I couldn’t argue with that), but I think I can live not knowing.

Here’s the interesting part.

Since my account got suspended, I have been receiving FB notifications like never before. Suddenly, I’m getting them in my email, and my entire phone screen is filled with them. I rarely got notifications when I was an upstanding citizen. Weird, huh?

It’s almost like FB is trying hard to lure me back. “Look at all this fun stuff you’re missing by not uploading your official state ID to us!”

They really want me to upload that ID. I’m sure it’s for my own good.

Even so, I think I’ll play out this game of chicken to the end. Maybe they’ll realize I’m calling their bluff and drop the charges. Probably not, in which case I might have to learn to present myself as a flesh and blood person again. I wonder if I’m up to it.

Waiting to hear if my profile will be released or executed.

Looking for a special friend, sailor?

Another hooker is after me.

I’m not sure she’s a bona fide hooker; I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt.

This is not in real life, of course. This is even more real than that because it’s on Facebook.

About once a quarter I get a Facebook friend request from someone I’ve never met. I’m not talking about one of those where the name might almost sound familiar if you close your eyes and repeat it slowly. These are total strangers, always women.

Because I’m the kind of guy who never turns my back on anyone without being sure she is not someone I used to know, I click the link that takes me to her wall, or whatever FB calls the place where you keep your naked selfie. This is followed by a sigh, as I think, “Oh my! I’m sure I’d remember her.”

But I don’t remember her. I don’t remember anybody like her. I’m not alone, because she only has seven friends – all lonely looking males. They don’t remember her either, but they so badly wish they did. Plus, it’s a nice photo to come back to when the loneliness scrapes bottom.

I know she means me no good. She is only some invention, created to lure me to the dark side of FB, if there is a side darker than the shallow political memes and associated insightful commentary.

Therefore, I’m sorry, lovely young lady who really knows her camera angles, or creepy dude who stole her photo and attached it to a fictional name on Facebook – I cannot be your friend. Your seven admirers will check in on you regularly, I’m sure.

I'm deleting your friend request.

I’m deleting your friend request.

I don’t know what the end goal of this proposed acquaintance is, but it disturbs me in a couple of ways. First, my oldest son is becoming aware of social media. He is also realizing there are parts on women that make his pupils dilate for reasons he can’t understand. The Internet and his own wide eyes can easily lead a boy astray. I’m trying to stop him from going astray, but it will be harder to keep the Facebook Hookers and their ilk at bay as he gets older.

I hope there are still a few years between us and this danger. In the meantime, these nefarious friend requests disturb me because they are the most common requests I get anymore. The world has run out of real people who want to be my friend, even in an unreal way. I’ve long ago given up on my ability to make friends in three dimensions, but now it seems I’m nothing special in two dimensions either. That’s okay though; I flourish amongst one-dimensional people.

This is the world we live in. I’ll be busy protecting my children from the pitfalls of social media. So if you are a 22-year-old woman, or are pretending to be, it may take me a while to get around to remembering you from our 1980s college days.