Facebook’s Dangerous Policy

At the end of the day, all I can do is shrug and say, “It is what it is.”

What a stupid, fucking meaningless thing to say. But what else is there?

I cannot fight the behemoth power of facebook. I send in ID they request, and they reply that it’s not good enough, ask for more, then send yet another link to their acceptable ID list. “Here’s what we accept,” they say (again). I look at the list again just to be sure, but the options are dwindling. The acceptable forms I possess have been sent, including the kind of ID I keep in my small, locked fire safe: My US passport, social security card, and marriage certificate.

A while back, I wrote about being raped by someone who was a former friend, a really close friend — a friend whose friend group was inextricably connected to mine. Do I think that person still threatens me, that he would do me physical harm? My answer is 100%, without a doubt – no. He’s a lot of things, including an entitled, cowardly piece of shit, but he’s convinced himself of his innocence by now, and I know from his past that it’s a lot easier for him to pretend someone doesn’t exist than it is for him to stare his shortcomings in the face. I don’t even think he drops in on my public profile from time to time. I’d bet money on it. Even still, separating myself from that possibility just feels…better.

While being haunted by that unsavory piece of my past doesn’t really concern me, there are other dark times I’d like to leave behind.

Look, I haven’t always made the most awesome choices in companions, and I’ve lived parts of my life very publicly because I used to perform with a band or three. A little over a decade ago, that opened me up to some really scary shit.

I’ve gotten a few private messages from people who’ve politely asked for details regarding a stalker that I mentioned in a recent post about my facebook banishment.

“Tell me about this person,” they’ve asked, “and is he still a threat?”

As far as I’m concerned, someone who has all my personal information, including several years of tax returns with my full birth name, social security, mother’s maiden name, etc., all my old journals, and god knows what else*, isn’t someone I’d like to tempt.

What happens when I use my birth name online? Will he find me? Will he be more successful this time? Will he actually kill me this time, or will it just be more hollow threats**?

No one knows! Let’s roll the dice!

I’d also rather not have to deal with Crazy JR, my alcoholic, bi-polar, sociopath of an ex-boyfriend, who relentlessly showed up in a parked car outside my house for a couple months until I decided to move away from LA for a few years. He knew when I started dating my husband. He sent me emails about things I was doing at home, like what shows I was watching on TV. We didn’t date long (I figured out what a complete psycho he was pretty quickly after he got drunk and knocked me around), but that didn’t seem to matter. I know for a fact that he also asked several friends to log in under their profiles so he could see mine, from which he was blocked. He emailed me a couple years ago and told me he still wanted to have babies with me, then emailed me again immediately and told me what a complete cunt I am for getting married. What could possibly go wrong with potentially exposing myself to that again?

People have asked why I wasn’t afraid to use my birth name in the original facebook profile (I’ve since switched over to a psuedonym so I could at least get back online). The answer is, when I was using that profile, I had to be extremely careful to not engage in public conversations on public pages, I couldn’t add a friend without knowing that person personally, or with a solid, real-life friend recommendation.

People have responded that I should be able to limit my profile and restrict new friends, and basically keep myself in a fucking cave because of some shit-stain stalker and a violent ex-boyfriend.

No thanks.

So the question becomes, “Do I choose to save all my memories from the past few years — all the messages, all the contacts I’ve created and nurtured, or do I choose my personal safety?”

Only a moron would choose the former, but I still contend that it’s a pretty weak-ass, pointless fucking choice to have to make. But that’s what facebook asks of me.

I cannot reactivate my Pookie McNoodles account using the name on my birth certificate, because all those thousands of comments and likes I’ve made and gotten on public pages — you know, when I’m being social on social media — would suddenly be under my birth name, rendering me naked.

Someone mentioned yesterday that her boyfriend is a prison guard, and he can’t use his real name on social media for personal safety. That makes sense. Stories like this keep coming, y’all. I am not alone in wanting protection online.

Facebook’s policy is leaving a lot of people with a pretty shit choice: Lose everything you’ve shared and created, or expose yourself to danger.

What’s the solution? How can we do this better?

Let’s change what we don’t like about our current options. I’m open to your suggestions, and I’m ready to put in the work to make this better for all of us.

Thanks for reading, kittens. I love you all.

* “…god knows what else” – I also know. I know, and it includes a lot of my underwear, a few personal items, and me trying to forget that someone was routinely breaking into my home, eating my food, rearranging my furniture, letting my roommate’s cat out, answering our home phone and threatening our callers, and masturbating in my shower while my roommate and I weren’t around.

** By “hollow threats” I mean that this person did all those things, but didn’t actually succeed in causing me physical harm, and it has been suggested by some that this person wasn’t and isn’t dangerous because there’s no proof he would have really done anything to me. I’d rather not test that theory. When someone threatens you by name and offers to cut you up and eat you, it’s possibly a poor survival strategy to tempt fate.

And yes, I have the police reports to prove that this happened, and no, I don’t owe anyone a look at them.


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