I used to have a Facebook account – over the ten years I stuck with Facebook I went from initially finding it a fun way to keep in touch with friends and family, through beginning to feel it was all getting a bit out of hand after it was first floated on the stock market with a pushy newsfeed prioritising annoying adverts and other marketing over personal content, to finally finding it so overly manipulative and intrusive data-wise it became impossible for me to put up with personally. So earlier this year I requested deletion of my account – not just deactivated, but deleted entirely.
Except… last week I suddenly received an email from Facebook out of the blue with ‘friend suggestions’ for an apparently new Facebook account, not actually in my own name but clearly linked to my email address, that I knew absolutely nothing about. When I tried to click on the ‘Not you? Let us know’ link on the email it eventually took me to the actual Facebook account in question, and immediately I received another email from Facebook saying ‘Welcome to Facebook, your account has been created’. WTF?
Frustrated, I tried to think creatively and used the account Facebook had linked me to in order to access their support page, where I sent them an online query explaining that I did not actually have a Facebook account at all, never mind this one, and asking why my personal email address was apparently linked to someone else’s account – or if not to someone else’s account, linked to a bogus account that I had definitely not asked to set up. And soon I received the following reply: –
Thanks for writing in. Unfortunately, we don’t currently have an account associated with this email. If you’re trying to create a new Facebook account, you’ll need to sign up again.
If you’d like to add this email address to an existing account, you can learn how in the Help Center.’
Um… seriously? That’s it for helpful suggestions from Facebook support? I only found out about this bogus account in the first place because of an email sent to me from Facebook, yet they claim not to have an account linked to my email address? And to add insult to injury, the emails with ‘friend suggestions’ just kept on coming. What’s almost worse is that many of the names on these ‘friend suggestions’ emails are actually my real life friends and family who were all on my original friends list on my original Facebook account.
Hmmm… seriously not impressed, Facebook. Just how ‘permanantly deleted’ WAS my original account for all these people to turn up linked to my personal email address that had indeed previously been linked to my old account? And for that matter how is it possible for Facebook, long after my apparent account deletion, to still have access to my email address to be emailing me in the first place, then apparently denying all knowledge of it?
Since then I’ve tried multiple convoluted ways to contact Facebook myself to (1) try to find out what the hell is going on and (2) find out how to get rid of this bogus account, but frustratingly have had no success. And even more frustratingly I found that after several of those abortive attempts to rid myself of this fledgling Facebook account I didn’t even ask for, due to ‘suspicious activity’ on the account I was suddenly no longer able to access anything to send any more messages without first logging in.
But of course as I had not personally set the account up, I had no idea what the log-in password might be. However, I remembered one of the emails I had received earlier in this Facebook fiasco had said: –
We’ve noticed that you’re having trouble with logging in to your account. If you need help, click the button below and we’ll log you in.’
At the time the email turned up I was so furious at Facebook that I yelled at my computer and called the company a whole varied selection of choice expletives. But this morning I thought – fuck it, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em – literally. So I clicked on the link in the email, found myself once more on the dodgy account, went straight to ‘Manage Account’ and requested deletion. Nope, apparently not possible without entering my log-in details. FFS!
So I clicked on the ‘Forgotten your password?’ link and was immediately sent an email code to be able to re-set the password. Eureka! I reset the password for the Facebook account that is NOT mine and apparently is NOT officially linked to my email address, returned to ‘Delete account’, typed in the new log-in password and hey presto, the account is finally scheduled for deletion, whatever level of dodginess that means in Facebook-speak. Hopefully that will be an end to it.
But for me there are serious questions that remain unanswered. Why have I been receiving any emails at all from Facebook? Why do they still have my email address? Why did they not seriously try to help me out properly with my query when I first contacted them? Is this genuinely Facebook or is it Russian hackers in the background manipulating data again? Fat kid in his bedroom with a chip on his shoulder? Who knows? Who cares? Not Facebook, that’s for sure.
But there is one thing I DO know. If this is how Facebook as a company respond to issues flagged that may relate to potential identity theft and data fraud, especially in this current social-media-data-manipulation climate and with all the bad press they’ve received over the last few months, I know I never want to be associated with them again in the future, no matter what.
Just for the record, here is my up-to-date email trail from Facebook, who apparently claim they have no account linked to my email address… OK guys, if you say so… you’re the big data company after all, and I’m just a very disgruntled little ex-customer with a genuine complaint, and my legitimate concerns clearly don’t count as important enough for you to even bother to care about…
Poor, poor show, Facebook: Fail all round… 😦