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Wed Nov 24 2021 09:17:54

A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

By: Reader

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Dear Ina, 
A timely warning here for folks not to get too invested in FACEBOOK MARKETPLACE (they deliver no communication and can jump to unexplained, unjustified, severe measures in a heartbeat).

I have been on Facebook for years with an accumulation of cherished family photos (kids and now grandkids). About a year ago I found that Facebook Marketplace provided an outlet for large items to sell where shipping is otherwise prohibitive so when my father-in-law passed away recently, I was asked by the family to take and sell some of his bigger stuff. 

I listed a collection of 50 quarters that pop in a large cardboard map of the United States (each quarter represents each specific state). Facebook sent me a non-specific generic violation of their "policy & terms" for this listing so I did a little digging and found that Facebook Market Place had a category for "coins" so I listed it under "coins." Then I noticed it had a red border around it and said, "needs fixing" but offered no communication as to what I needed to do. Do I delete it? Do I fix it by making a needed revision? There were no buttons to click, no further explanation or information. So, I forgot about it for a few days until just recently FB has now removed my entire account (Facebook, Facebook Marketplace and Messenger). 

I followed the prompt that said "click here to appeal" thinking surely they have made a mistake. I clicked it to no avail. Then they said they wanted my I.D. in order to appeal so I sent them a photo of my I.D. that matches everything on my account (no funny business, all above board & legitimate)... as soon as they got my I.D. they sent this on Sunday 11/21/21:

Thank You for submitting your I.D.

Hi,
Your account has been permanently disabled for not following the Facebook Community Standards. Unfortunately, we won't be able to reactivate it for any reason.

This will be our last message regarding your account. For more information about our policies, please review the Facebook Community Standards:
https://www.facebook.com/communitystandards?ref=cr
Thanks

As I read their Community Standards, they are basically treating me like a severe criminal, yet nothing that I read applies to my situation. I have no hate speech posts, am not affiliated with any such group and have never posted anything offensive or criminal. 

It sure would have been nice to have been humanely treated, warned & maybe even given a 30 day suspension with specifics of what I might have done and what I might need to do (I have never had one infraction with them until this recent "innocuous" listing). 

They are acting like I am the worst of the worst and jumped immediately to a permanent account suspension (hard to believe). If I crossed a line, I will be glad to make it right. 

A second look at my account from a Facebook human rep that is vaguely familiar with selling collectibles would be great (an apology even better, but not expected). 
Many thanks,
D.

Comments (25) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Wed Nov 24 12:11:41 2021

I told off Zuckerberg and he canceled my account.
Guess he can't handle the truth.
I'm the reason Bloomberg made a sudden failed attempt at becoming president.
And I AM PROUD of it.
There's a reason Zuck looks like he does.
TRUST ME when I say, "STAY WAY AWAY from Facebook".
It is EVIL.

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: railady This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 24 15:03:23 2021

@TheEnd - DITTO and DITTO!!!!!

There is "supposed" to be a place to choose to opt out of letting FB into your contacts/address book - but I have yet to find it.  I do not understand how people can think something advertised as "Free" is really F-R-E-E.   No, no money is involved, but you are letting them carte blanche into your online accounts.  They (and other "Free" services make up their costs by selling whatever personal information they can get out of your subscription - and trust me, it is a lot !!!

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: COVID-19 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 24 16:08:10 2021

Sounds a lot like many other websites, really. Just suspend or perman-ban accounts with no specific info. No second chance to fix errors. You can thank Artificial Intelligence for this. Many of the flagging and account disruptions are done by A.I. Corporations don't seem to care to let users appeal because that would mean having to hire actual humans to do secondary reviews.

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: BackOff This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 24 17:38:42 2021

It’s time to pass a law that requires big tech companies to pay users for the sale of our information.

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: papergoy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 25 11:04:52 2021

All of the sites do that.  I had an issue with Bonanza- I appealed, they said they would review. It's been over three years with no answer so that's a pretty thorough review.  My wife started selling and started a Bonanza account, was told they would let her know one way or the other in a week- it's been six months roughly and that's a small site.  I made an error with eBay Partner Network (affiliate links)- I admitted my mistake (made inadvertently) and appealed.  I get an email back a week later that didn't answer anything about my appeal- just boilerplate reiterating what they wrote originally (so no one reviewed anything- they just hit a button and sent the same thing back out).  The moral of the story- don't rely on anyone but yourself as the sites don't care, and have no real appeal process in place that applies common sense or looks at the entire picture and gives someone a second chance- it's just one strike and you're out, even if you didn't know you were doing something wrong in the first place.  

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: krl This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 25 13:39:03 2021

This is terrible!


I wish the press would get ahold of this. I lost a parent recently and I could easily see myself falling into this same trap.  Its one thing to ban you from Marketplace but to ban the entire FB account is so wrong. I hope you post a followup ! Good luck.

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri Nov 26 12:31:23 2021

Having just now read about the "Metaverse" Zuckerberg is building,
I can honestly say , " Zuck is God's premier peon".
Keep it Real People. It's more important now than ever.....
If any one asks you to try it, SAY NO.

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: ShortSeller This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 27 15:43:12 2021

Look all of these companies run their customer departments like the gig economy, and then staff them at levels to deal with a fraction of their required volume. Everything is being automated so you are going to get false positives everywhere. If you can, you need to deal with things on the phone, if it is even possible.

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: leavingNY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 00:40:13 2021

I stopped using FB two years ago when i realized they are super political and censor free speech that does not violate any normal rules. They have censored this person and took away the FB addiction that so many people have. I have seen this addiction with friends and colleagues to their FB and social media accounts. That is one of the reasons why I refuse to own a smartphone. Made by chinese slave labor and they spy on you too.

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 05:32:31 2021

Ditto:  TRUST ME when I say, "STAY WAY AWAY from Facebook".
It is EVIL.
Sell your coins elsewhere.

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 05:33:14 2021

Ditto:  It’s time to pass a law that requires big tech companies to pay users for the sale of our information.

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: pfft!! This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 06:03:01 2021

I could have written this story word for word as it's exactly what happened to me step for step.   I even wrote Ina about it and she was kind enough to write about it.  She even contacted Facebook but unfortunately it didn't help.

I've sold on ebay FULL time 24/7 since 2005 without ever once earning a suspension or anything even close to it.  I once listed some turtle shells and got a warning (LOL) but that was about it and I never made THAT mistake again!

The problem is on FACEBOOK there really are no warnings.  And there REALLY are no "real" people to talk to.  So once a person (or a bot) or whatever disables your account you're pretty much TOAST.  I got that EXACT letter with my appeal and after that they wouldn't ever respond.

It would be SO easy to warn you once OR take away your selling priveliges but instead they disable your entire personal account as well.  

And she/he is right about how they treat you like some kind of criminal.  It's really bizarre.  The ONLY advise I can give the OP is (unfortunately) this........I stressed about losing all my family and friend contacts for WEEKS.  I tried EVERYTHING.  Multiple appeals.....endless google searches and contacting people trying to get a phone number or a contact.........and I finally just gave up.  If I could give you any advice it would be to save yourself the headache and just accept it.  It was awful when I first lost my account and if I'm honest I do still miss being able to check in on friends and family in an instant.  But you do adjust and move on (LOL).  

And if I could give any advice to anyone who's never encountered this it would be THIS.  If you're using your facebook account to sell be aware that this CAN happen to you.  And if it does you will immediately lose not only your  selling privileges but your ENTIRE personal account with no chance to talk to anyone to appeal.  And I'm not talking about the obvious stuff that you should KNOW about and not be selling anyway (knock offs......etc).  They flag some of the most ridiculous things (things that would NEVER get flagged on regular sites).  It's a minefield and there is ZERO customer service if you get caught up in a situation.  If I could do it all over again there's no WAY I would ever chance losing my personal acct by selling anything on there.  Unfortunately, nobody warned me about that back then.

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: Vintagecat This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 08:12:50 2021

Happened to my cousin on the west coast. Her marketplace access was barred permanently. Fortunately that did not extend to her personal friends/family account.

The message FB sent regarding her suspension said that there were ''numerous reports''. She was selling antique/vintage glassware and china and her lovely needle felted fiber art for mercy sakes. She used Marketplace primarily because shipping got out of hand for sets of glass/china as she used to sell those on Etsy for years. Seems other sellers were likely reporting the competition. She recently had a living estate sale and got out of the heavy/fragile item biz altogether.

Personally I can't stand Fakebook. I left the venue never to return less than 2 years after joining at the request of my brick/mortar customers. Apparently it was for their entertainment. After leaving FB behind my business improved noticeably. People had to actually come in to the shop see what was new....

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: Plug This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 08:36:13 2021

I wonder if it would be worth it for you to sue them for access to your accumulated photos and cherished personal content?  

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: myfriendhenry This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 09:26:11 2021

Did any of those quarters have any US presidents that owned slaves on them?

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: FH991586 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 09:40:45 2021

I also got flagged on FB Marketplace without knowing why (I only had one ad consisting of video game manuals), and it was difficult to appeal and get my access back.  You should never use your personal regular account to sell, in case something like that happens, because the risk is way too big to lose it all!  Just open a dummy account (or several), without any activity or social presence...

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: railady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 09:53:25 2021

I learned a looooong time ago that FB, through the email address you register with, can access all of the contact lists and address books that are associated with that account.

I like to think that I am a positive person, but indeed I have learned (usually the hard way) to be negative about many things. One is to realize that my email account can be cracked unless I actively protect it - and one easy way is to not share it with outsiders.  

OP D, I am so sorry this happened to you. It's an important lesson. NEVER EVER use you main, base personal account for doing any kind of ''business'' other than personal things - don't use it even for surfing the net or shopping.  There is no way to know exactly what the sites you visit are able to do as far as getting into your account.  ALWAYS assume that ''privacy'' does not exist.

It is far too easy to set up an email account with another carrier so you have a ''burner'' account that's not connected to your personal account. I have several different email addresses/accounts, and each is registered to a different pseudonym (not my actual name or personal information). NONE are connected in any way to my personal account, not even with my name.

A ''burner'' account like this is what you want to use on the internet. If you order something, just change the info to what's correct.  I've never been turned down by any shopping site as long as the credit card/paypal payment works!

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: railady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 09:56:19 2021

@FH991586  - We think in the same way!  Thank you for also suggesting "dummy" accounts.  

I have a great deal of fun creating the "people" who "own" these accounts. A couple of my best are a gal named "Lena Gainster" and "Pikup Andropov" (the Russian chauffeur)........  

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 10:05:32 2021

2 years ago my daughter made a marketplace listing for me on her account. It was an antique gilt wall mirror American Eagle pattern at the top, sometimes called Federal mirrors. After a few days Facebook deleted the item and suspended my daughter from marketplace forever!!! No explanation. I tried getting customer service which was impossible. I inquired to at least a dozen local lawyers and ask if they would file suit but none would try. Mysteriously after several months the issue resolved for my daughter with NO explanation. My advice selling os FB MP is bee very careful.

Perminate Link for A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell   A Cautionary Tale of Using Facebook to Sell

by: railady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 29 10:12:21 2021

Sorry folks - I rather didn't interpret remarks quite as they were meant.  I absolutely agree - DO NOT use your personal FB account to do anything other than personal, as was well explained.

But be aware - if you create a FB account, you are giving them access into your EMAIL account in addition to FB !

True story:  Way back when, I got an email from FB that said ''John'' and ''Mary'' want you to join them on FB! Except John and Mary didn't know each other; their only connection was having my email address in their email address books (VERY importantly, neither had my information in their FB account).  Easy conclusion:  FB was able to access and mine the personal email accounts they signed up with.

This whole situation is just so sad but it's perfectly legal. The lesson is to never give outside companies access to your most basic personal accounts. Most are probably honest, but it only takes one rotten apple to spoil an entire barrel.
 

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