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.