Think of an episode of The Twilight Zone. Read the following scenario being played out as a black and white episode of The Twilight Zone.
‘Imagine if you will, your teenager, out on a Saturday night with friends. You know you can trust them, but you’re always a little on edge when they are out. Everything will be okay though, because they have a cell phone. If anything goes wrong, they can contact you and you’ll go get them if needed.’ End scene.
I remember while growing up, my parents drilled that into my brain. If I ever found myself in a situation that I felt uncomfortable in, they would come and get me – no questions asked. Sound familiar? It should. That is a mantra that has been pounded into teenager’s heads since the beginning of time. But, what if something actually happens and they really need you to come to the rescue?
Back to the Twilight Zone:
‘Out in the country, past the city limits sign, just like the country song, something goes amiss. Your child is scared. Your child doesn’t want to be there. The person she rode with can’t be found. Your child is finally going to take you up on your long standing offer. But – there is no cell service where they are. They want to leave. They need to leave.’
So, how do they contact you? No cell service, no problem. There are many ‘dead spots’ where you can access the internet but not cell service. They’ll just message you through Facebook like they always do, although usually it’s to ask if they can stay out past curfew. Then it happens. Then, your child sees this on Facebook:
“This feature is blocked. You recently posted something that violates Facebook policies; you’re temporarily blocked from using Facebook for 7 days. For more information, visit the Help Center.”
Your child’s message isn’t going out under any circumstances and that help center they suggest does not exist! Your kid doesn’t have cell service so they can’t call, and you and I have put all of our eggs in one basket. That one basket is called Facebook. And now, when it’s needed, in an emergency, all they see is; ‘You’re blocked!’
Your kid is screwed. Facebook just shut your child out of the very platform that Facebook has spent a decade convincing all of us to use as our single source of communication with friends and family, especially in an emergency.
Imagine, finding yourself in a life or death situation, and Mark Zuckerberg disliked your position on any number of issues. You are now cut off from the outside world because you followed his advice and moved all of your communications to his platform. Trust me, I know. It just happened to me.
The Facebook opinion checkers didn’t like something I posted recently, and gave me three days in Facebook jail. I never realized how reliant I’d become on that platform until I couldn’t use it. I also never realized how dangerous it is that so many of us have given this much control over our communications to one person.
One week before I was put in Facebook jail, Nashville experienced some pretty serious flooding from a hurricane coming north out of the Gulf of Mexico. As a long time first responder, our team got rolled out of bed early in the morning to respond to a dangerous situation that was rapidly escalating.
As my partner and I were in and out of some crazy situations, helping people that became trapped by rising flood waters, it occurred to me that I hadn’t ‘Marked Myself Safe’ to all of my family and friends who were watching the news from all over the country, knowing I was probably right out in the middle of it all, which I was.
At that time, on that day, I was able to use that feature. A week later, after the Facebook ‘opinion censors’ blocked me, that was no longer an option. That’s pretty scary. That’s Twilight Zone stuff right there. Daddy Zuckerberg can cut you off from your entire circle of family and friends with zero notice, and zero explanation.
What if you find yourself in a natural disaster and you couldn’t contact your family because Mark Zuckerberg didn’t like your political views? What if you’re that teenager, out in the country and you’re scared, and you need to contact your parents to come and get you, but Zuckerberg’s censors don’t like your music choices or your TikTok videos and they lock you out?
Now, I’m going to take it one step further down that rabbit hole and tell you what happened next. Here we all are, coming into our busy season; a season that we all depend upon to balance our annual budgets. We’ve all got our game plans in place, or at least as much as any of us can figure out what to do during a pandemic.
One crucial aspect of that game plan is your advertising and marketing plans. Most of you are going to spend a lot of money with Mr. Zuckerberg over the next two months heading into Christmas. I purposely say; ‘most of you’ instead of ‘most of us’ because guess what Mark Zuckerberg did to me? He axed my ability to advertise, boost, and promote my goods and services on his platform. Didn’t see that coming did you? I never even knew that was an option for him.
Think about that for a second. Imagine if you just found out that you could no longer promote your business to the very audience that you paid Mark Zuckerberg a ton of money to build on his platform. The very audience that you only communicate with through Facebook. And you want to know why he did it to me? Me too, because I have no idea. There are zero options to dispute their decision. No phone number to call. No email to email. And no Facebook message option to message. Just BAM, you’re out. And I don’t know how long it’s going to last. What would you do if that happened to your business right at the beginning of your busy season?
As a long time business owner, a long time Facebook advertiser with my 3 companies, and a person with a brain, I’ve come to the conclusion that Facebook has lived its life and needs to go the way of MySpace. I can no longer trust Facebook and I damned sure no longer trust Mark Zuckerberg. I don’t know where I’m going next, but I know I’m going somewhere next.
And, you want to hear the weirdest, most hypocritical part about this whole thing? Facebook did this in two steps. First they blocked my ability to communicate with anyone through their platform, including all of my business customers. If a customer tried to ask me a question about one of the products I was advertising on Facebook, I couldn’t answer them because Facebook had me blocked three ways from Sunday. Yet my paid ads were still running and customers were still responding. How about them apples? They will take your money to advertise your products on their platform, but they won’t let you communicate with your customers.
When my jail term expired, things returned to normal – for about two weeks. Then, out of the blue, I was creating a new ad and it got rejected. Now, all of my companies are blocked from advertising. All I see is this: Your Advertising Access is Restricted.
You’re not allowed to run ads. And I have no idea why they did it. In the old days if we were unhappy with a company we were paying to advertise our products, we would call our sales rep and voice our concerns. Facebook is so arrogant that they don’t have sales reps. They just take your money and you get what you get. No more for me!
It woke me up to the power I have given someone over my life, and I hope it gives you pause to step back and think about what would happen if Facebook suddenly did this to your business. What would you do?
Stay safe out there everyone, but just don’t trust Mark Zuckerberg to help you.