Facebook disabled my account. You will LOVE what they did this for. If it happened to me, it can happen to you too.

This has just proved what I’ve been saying for years. DO NOT DEPEND ON SOCIAL MEDIA TO CONTACT YOUR CUSTOMERS!!!

Thursday night I’m happily painting when my husband texts me about a type of tarantula he wants. I think “hey! I will join some tarantula groups on FB to see where people like to get theirs from”. When I open the app it starts demanding I do this creepy as hell facial recognition thing. My first thought was that I was hacked. I mean I know FB violates privacy, but this is weird as heck! I look into this a bit more and find this is a real thing. I had this notice emailed to me: 

I was required to look into the camera, slowly turn my head to the left/right, etc as the Facebook overlords commanded for the CHANCE to get my account back.  That’s right…they might still deny me. We’re going to come back to why this was an insane violation of EVERYTHING in a moment and 100% unneeded. Once I go through the “I’ve let Facebook violate every other bit of my privacy…why not bend over more!” process, I get this notice for the next 24 hours while I wait to find out if I am getting my account back or not. 

You may be thinking, well what did you do?! You must have used a “naughty” word or bullied someone or got political. You don’t just have your account removed for no reason. That doesn’t happen!

That’s what I would have thought if I heard this from someone else.  NOPE! All I post on FB are my paintings, videos, my livestreams, and my pets. I don’t argue with people. I don’t comment on anything political, I don’t follow anything political on FB.  Several people assumed it was something based on politics but that is definitely not the case here.

Essentially I was a victim of FB’s crap algorithm. What does that mean? EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU ARE AT THE SAME RISK! Remember that as we move on. 

So instantly I lost around 12 years of photos, access to friends and family where my only way of contacting them has been through FB. I lost access to my business account!  It was still there but I couldn’t post or reply. 33k followers…gone. NO ACCESS. THIS is why I’m constantly telling you guys to have your own website and email list. FB IS NOT YOUR WEBSITE! None of these social media platforms are.

 I violated NOTHING. I stay away from drama, so don’t remotely think your accounts are any safer than mine. 
I started looking for a way to contact FB beyond their creepy AF facial recognition. I got nothing. Oddly enough, at one point I decided to try changing my password, when I logged back in I got a notice to let them know which of my past 10 or so posts on my personal account were spam not posted by me. They were all my posts (art livestreams, plant memes, etc), there was no option to tell them they were all valid posts/shares. I guess I will just choose one randomly? I don’t freaking know at this point since there is zero communication besides telling me my account violated their community standards.

As I tried finding a way to contact them I came across an insane amount of people who went through what I did. Some took up to 3 weeks to have their account reinstated after finding they violated nothing, some never did. NEVER. Years of building a following, posting photos, gaining contacts…gone.

When I eventually got my account back I heard this same thing from many of you who had to start new accounts. My favorite part about that? Facebook claims they deleted accounts to keep people safe…but encourage you to go ahead and start a new account! WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?!?! This has NOTHING to do with keeping anyone safe if you encourage them to make a new account…which was also an option they offered me.

I also found that simply having a livestream or post perform well could trigger their “you’re spam and now deleted” algorithm. WHAT?!?! 

Being off Facebook for even a single day made me come to a few realizations. This will NOT hurt my business. I have hated the Facebook experience for years. They have killed any organic reach we get on our pages in the name of “keeping facebook focused on family/friends and not spamming users with page/business posts”…all while every 4 posts they have an advertisement. Many of which are scams. I’ve been a victim of one of those and Facebook won’t do crap about it. One company sold a clothing item claiming it was made/shipped from San Diego CA…yeah, china. FB doesn’t care. That company continues to lie to buyers and most don’t get their items. They are using a spoof shipping site for tracking numbers and only ship the item (which is not as described in the ad) if you file a complaint with PayPal. Facebook is like “meh…they pay a decent amount in advertising…they’re fine”. 

As of right now, on a good day, my posts reach 3% of my followers. 3% I built a following of over 33k on Facebook yet less than 1k normally see my posts unless it’s full of drama like this. Remember that, we’re coming back to that number later. 

So during this time off of FB, I decided that once I got my account back I will NOT be promoting them anymore. I removed my Facebook and Instagram icons from my website (Instagram is owned by FB and is having the same issue of no longer reaching people who follow you).  I’ve complained about them for years but have been stuck in the mindset of “but this is how I stay connected to friends back in CA or highschool friends, and mah business! I HAVE to stay there for business. 

Know what? No. No, I don’t. It was weird because I kept picking up my phone wanting to check FB ALL DAY. I had no idea how bad that habit was. This was not improving my quality of life that’s for sure. Keeping in touch with friends from CA or highschool friends…really? Is that making me happier? We don’t talk. I might click like on one of their photos of their kids. We aren’t close. We never were…why do I feel the need to know what people I briefly knew are doing?

Well, what about my plant groups and frog groups? Turns out I REALLY don’t need them either. Most of the info on the pet pages was soooooo wrong. I spent more time frustrated at stupid crap people posted than enjoying my time there. Example… that happened constantly: someone asks a question. Several people respond with what boils down to “I don’t know anything about this subject but let me give you my really bad opinion just because I feel the need to respond”. Seriously, they start with “I don’t know but here is what I think”…are you kidding me? No. I don’t need this. This is not improving my life.  The ONLY thing for me that I want to keep up with is our art group and a few other art groups that are awesome. That’s it. 

My business posts don’t reach people. I don’t need to keep up with people I don’t speak with. I don’t need to know what people who keep having their own frogs die offer as advice to others. I. Don’t. Need. This. 

I do think social media is the best thing to happen to artists. Ever. We suddenly can reach people around the world. The problem is Facebook got too big for their own pants and too many artists believe that is “their website”. It’s not. Facebook started off great! But now they have too much of a monopoly on this industry and that is NOT good. They’ve proven to me and my business that I can not trust them with my business. Can you imagine if I was in talks with a customer or client about a painting and my FB acct goes down? That makes me look super shady. If that happened when I was talking with a potential seller I would think “eww…what did they do wrong? Do I trust them with my money?”.

Luckily I keep most of those transactions to my website and email. I did lose access to some frog medical info I had in my PMs so that could have potentially been an issue. I just assumed I was safe since I never post anything that would violate FB’s terms of service.

Ok, so WHY was I personally disabled? Apparently, it was a mistake by FB. 

Keep everyone safe huh? Do I really need to bring up all the horrible things that happen regularly on FB again, and scams that they do nothing about? I feel so protected. 
Great, I have access to my account again…what’s the first thing I see when I open my account? 

Sooo remember when I said we would come back to that creepy AF facial recognition thing? The supposed reason they do that is to make sure you’re a “real person”. That made me think someone hacked my account or something. Nope, my account was NEVER in violation of anything. This was a great way to collect that information because unless I provided it, there was no way to submit my account for review. What the actual eff?! The only reason I did it was I figured that same info “look right/left/into the camera is available on every one of my vides so I’m not going to be able to avoid facial recognition stuff, but for the average user that has to go through this? WOW. JUST WOW. ?They also require people to give them a copy of their ID to prove their name is the same. I’m not kidding you. THEY HAVE PEOPLE GIVE THEM THEIR ID TO USE A SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM!! All to “keep you safe”…frooooom? 

So this was the livestream from Wednesday. I sculpted a frog. Edgy I know. FB emailed me saying I violated nothing. The notice on my business page was flagged for spam. I would *almost* understand if they said they didn’t want me promoting my videos on my personal page…not really but whatever, but no. My business page was flagged. As I said I violated nothing. This wasn’t personal, this was a VERY VERY VEEEERY common facebook screw-up. Their algorithm is broken. It flags stuff in our own art group all the time as violating their TOS. We’ve had posts removed of drawings of cookies as being “inappropriate”…with NO way to contact them and report that post as not being a violation. It’s removed. Done. NOTHING we as mods of that group can do. Facebook makes enough money they can hire people to be reviewing stuff before it’s reviewed once their algorithm picks up on something. An accident yes…a really freaking common accident that I’m not allowing again. 

Ok, so they pissed me off…it was an accident so move on and get over it right? RIGHT! I am over it. This was a massive wake-up call for me. I don’t need Facebook. I thought I NEEDED them for business. This proved to me in one day that I absolutely do not. 

Earlier I mentioned an art post gets on average a 3% reach. That means if I post art tips, or an art video, out of 33 THOUSAND of you, 1k will see it. Max. If I post about something on Patreon or a painting or prints for sale, cut that in half or even less. Their algorithm has no problem picking up on us potentially making money! Unless we pay them to advertise on the content they’re ALREADY PUTTING ADS ON (so they are making money)…they won’t show it to people who hit “follow/like” to see our content. Facebook decides FOR YOU what you want to see like we are toddlers who can’t decide for ourselves. 

Users have been begging them for years to go back to allow us to have the option to see EVERYTHING friends and pages we follow post in chronological order. Facebook ignores us. They base what we see on how much they can make. It’s their business and that’s fine. They need to make a profit. I’m good with that. But their service no longer fills what I want in a social media platform so I’m taking my art and my business elsewhere. 
You guys have seen me talk about MeWe before. I’ve been using that platform for 2 years. It’s a great platform, but like anything non-FB, not enough people use it regularly. I’m changing that for myself. I can’t trust my upcoming weekly giveaways on FB. What do I do if they decide I violated nothing again and disable my account? My giveaways will now be on youtube/mewe. I’ve had a few complain that they feel left out since they won’t use MeWe. Well, I felt pretty freaking left out of FB when my account was disabled…for no reason, sooooo 
I’m going to start posting nightly vlogs updating you on my day…art or otherwise, all on my MeWe page exclusively. I’ve had a patron say they wanted this on Patreon too, so let me know if more of you want it there as well. I figured this nightly vlog will not be high quality enough to be on Patreon, but if enough of you want it there as well I can do that too. I don’t want to spam patrons with too much randomness, again, it’s up to you so let me know on that one in the comments. 
So, the elephant in the room…MeWe was recently the victim of a massive smear campaign to try and discredit them. This was started by FB and it seems most media ran with the lie that MeWe is for extremists and you won’t be safe if you leave your Facebook overlords. This was NEVER TRUE. You have extremists on every platform.MeWe has NO affiliations with any political anything. They follow the rules. If someone has an opinion you disagree with you can block them just like you do on FB.  For some reason, the media excuses extremism if it’s on Facebook. I’m guessing this is to do with the fact that they can advertise on FB and not MeWe but that’s just a theory. They pretend bad crap isn’t on FB. The “omg MeWe is for extremists” was always a lie! I mean look how much FB does to “protect” you by disabling accounts that violated nothing. Ever. Don’t fall victim to that smear campaign. I’ve been on MeWe for 2 years…WAY before that smear started and I can say I’ve NEVER seen anyone be hateful or extreme in views but I see that exact thing ALL. THE. TIME. on Facebook. If you see something illegal on MeWe, they have the same system to report it as on FB. To be fair I’ve never had to use that feature on MeWe so I don’t know how well it works but I know FB’s doesn’t work well AT. ALL. 

People complain that MeWe isn’t as heavily moderated as FB. As someone who was disabled for NOTHING, I’m going to go ahead and say yeah…that’s likely true. The thing is,  I’m an adult. I would rather people be allowed to share their beliefs. Let people out themselves openly! I WANT to know if someone is hateful or a jerk I want to avoid. The funny thing is, in 2 years, the only people I’ve had to block on MeWe were spammers. Not once have I seen the scary extremists hiding under my MeWe bed. 

Onto numbers. “but I have SOOOO many followers on FB and it takes time to build up a new platform”. My average on a decent FB post that doesn’t dare try and sell you something like a painting…or art lesson, I get 3% reach. That means out of 33 THOUSAND people who chose to follow me to see updates, 1k MIGHT see my post. If I post twice in a day…forget it, cut that number in half. On MeWe I currently have around 1k following my business page. If I post something, EVERYONE active on MeWe SEES IT. That means 33k followers on FB is not any better than 1k followers on MeWe because they’re not using the crap algorithm or trying to get you to pay to advertise. 

MeWe’s thing is all about YOUR privacy (no creepy as hell facial recognition bs), and NO ADVERTISEMENTS. That’s right…those every 4 posts then an ad you get on FB…gone. Poof…I’m suddenly ACTUALLY protected from spam. Are you concerned about how FB gave all our private messages to a few advertisers who never asked for that info a few years back? Yeah, not happening on MeWe. They have to make money to keep that platform going, but they make it through upgrades. You can pay for a “premium” account which gives you more emojis and a few other totally unnecessary upgrades. You can pay for a business acct for $1.99/month, but that reaches ALL YOUR FOLLOWERS. You don’t have to do that either though, you can just have people follow you on your personal page for free. As a user, you don’t have to pay a dime. I chose to upgrade to premium recently and have been paying for my business account but I really want to support this platform. I think it’s such a better alternative to FB that I want to give them money to support it. 

I still,  have my Facebook account. All I will be posting on that platform moving forward are links back to my content here on youtube or mewe. No more livestreaming to FB or original content there. EVER. They proved they do not deserve my time. My time is better spent posting where you can see it. If you don’t check into MeWe often, no worries, I will post those links on FB too (not that they will share it with anyone, but it will be there).

My giveaways I have coming up within the next few weeks will be announced here during our livestreams and you can comment when I share it over in our art group or on my page on MeWe. Why not post original content to FB sometimes still? Because if they took down my account for violating NOTHING…they will likely do it again. Their site is broken. It was a mistake, but one that happens so often on that platform that I just can’t trust them. Make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter. 

I get it, some of you are still making money from FB. I’m not judging you for staying there, but make sure you have your OWN website that YOU control, and also make sure your viewers and customers are following you on multiple social media platforms. Don’t put all of your eggs in one “I’m going to disable your account” basket! 

FOLLOW ME ON MEWE – https://mewe.com/i/lachri

Lachri Fine Art on MeWe – https://mewe.com/p/lachri

Lachri Artist’s Group on MeWe – https://mewe.com/group/5c809ae544cb805866011552

Greyhounds on MeWe I mentioned https://mewe.com/join/greyhoundowners