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The Back Story to My Social Media Pause

I feel it's important for me to elaborate on the back story to my current social media pause.

On Friday, July 8, my Facebook account was hacked and subsequently disabled (within a matter of 15 minutes). I had been receiving emails with a "Facebook recovery code" for about a month, I guess. I ignored them, assuming they were spam/phishing and that Facebook would take care of it. WRONG!

I happened to be kayaking when the hack and disabling took place. When I returned to land, there was one email from Facebook, giving me the opportunity to dispute the decision. I quickly responded, assuming that Facebook would see that my account had been hacked and would quickly recover my account. WRONG.

At first, I was relieved. Like most humans, I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. The thought of truly not being allowed to enter the realm initially felt like an opportunity for bliss. I mean, they were NOT letting me in.

But then I tried to go onto my Instagram account, which is more important to me, predominantly for my performing career and my work as a creative guide, and BAM...I was shut out there as well. Kicked out of the Meta-owned universe completely, except for WhatsApp. Which makes no sense. But I digress.

I tried for a few days to dispute, but there was no way in. I did start to see this screen:

Delightful. The hackers were really messing this up. Gees.

I thought of the people who I only communicate with through social media. A former student who had just committed to attending a creative event I was hosting in a few weeks. A dear friend battling brain cancer in New Mexico. The township group I rely on for local recommendations and very sadly, local news.

I also thought of how many times I had relied on social media when I was in callbacks or cast in a show. The first stop is social media, specifically IG or FB, to see if I am connected to any of the same people as the creative team or rest of the cast. This one really hurts - if people who potentially want to cast me are trying to find me, I have disappeared. And that's just stupid. Mark Zuckerberg should not have that power. No one human should have that power over my work, except for me.

Fast forward to this past Wednesday, July 20. I received an email from Facebook...or was it phishing? And who knows for certain? I thought of asking a tech friend to take a look, but to be honest most of the tech people I've talked to about this have just shrugged (I did write to the Washington Post Tech Help Desk as well; no response yet). One told me other friends had had the same experience and they had to start over completely. Ugh. Life's too short. I don't want to sit on a device recreating social media accounts. I want to go outside and ride a bike! I was feeling helpless and that is also ridiculous. No one should have to feel helpless when dealing with a large corporation that controls massive amounts of data, including my own (which I recognize I willingly gave to said corporation). Said corporation should have more humanity when dealing with humans.

Anyway, back to the July 20 email, which told me I had 18 days to dispute the decision (I guess the one I sent back in the park on July 8 didn't go through???). I decided to take the chance that it was legit and clicked to dispute. I had to submit ID, which would have felt like phishing, BUT a colleague whose account was hacked told me he had also had to submit ID, so I bit and sent ID. I know, some of you are shaking your heads and screaming. However, I immediately received a confirmation email from Facebook, which also thanked me for my patience (nope). Legit? Let's say yes. I do check my credit card accounts daily.

Back to the present - I'm still on a social media pause, and to be honest, I'm enjoying it. I don't spend nearly as much time on my device, and if I do, I'm reading legitimate news, playing Duolingo or communicating with people I actually know. Texting a friend or two takes longer, but the conversation feels more connected. I know I could set up new accounts. However, I'm waiting until September 8 (2 months from the original hack), in case the old accounts are allowed back on.

So, if you're looking for information about my work as a performer, please stay here on my website or visit my YouTube channel. And if you are/were a friend or follower on Meta's social media platforms, I'd appreciate if you could share this post to your page. Perhaps we have friends/followers in common and they can find out what happened to me.

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