In spite of this, the old Facebook fan page has finally been deleted! What did I need to do to get it shut down? Well it was very simple. To start with, I only had to send 15-20 emails to Facebook support. At first, I got automated responses to these emails. Then I finally got a single personal email stating that my account would not be unlocked and further messages would go unread. Which makes sense, since obviously none of my earlier emails were read because even though I explained the pen name situation, sent proof of this, and asked what else I needed to do to prove my identity, I received only form rejections in response.
Then I sent a message to Facebook appeals. Another automated response and rejection. Then I looked online to find other options. I found three other emails and a nonworking phone number. All three new email addresses were sent to an email dead zone with an automated response, never to be seen again. Then I reported the problem on Facebook directly. And then in the help forums. Nothing. Meanwhile, I had several people report the old page, but nothing ever came of that.
Suddenly, I had a bright idea. Part of the reason that I couldn’t log back in to my old account after it was shut down was because I used to log in from a VPN in China. So using an old IP address wasn’t so simple. I had already moved from China to the Middle East. Sure I could sign back up for the VPN, but it’s blocked on the campus of the boarding school where my husband works (so that students can’t access certain sites) and no amount of pleading to the IT department would persuade them to unblock it for me. Thanks, IT! I could go to a mall or a Starbucks or something and put in all my credit card information over an open Wi-Fi connection, which besides being a bad idea, is difficult on the slow open signals I’ve found.
So what did I do? Well I did any sane, rational person would do. I went to Greece. That’s right. I had to go to Greece to unlock my Facebook profile.
So to recap, I emailed Facebook a bazillion times, tracked them down online to fall into an email and phone dead zone, had dozens of people report the page, and after several weeks of this finally flew to Greece to renew my VPN on a secure connection so that I could log in from a known IP address and regain access to my account. And that’s all!
Okay, it’s possible I was already going to Greece for vacation, but that’s not the point. The point is that Facebook locked my account on a whim, and refused to unlock it because I have a pen name. Why? Probably because no one was reading any of the emails, for starters. I would be surprised to find out that Facebook even employed a support staff at all, and it wasn’t just Rudy the intern checking the occasional email in-between coffee runs.
So the moral of the story is don’t get your account locked. Because they will not be held accountable if you do. You will not reach a live human being. They do not care. Prevent this from ever happening to you by reading the first post I wrote about this here. And please spread this around to help other writers avoid this situation.