Yep, last August. Got an email from Facebook saying, "Someone asked us to review your profile because it might not be following our Community Standards. We ask everyone on Facebook to use the name they go by in everyday life—what their friends call them. You can keep your current name if it's the name you're known by. Otherwise, we'll ask you to edit it. Please review your name sometime in the next 7 days. After that, you won't be able to log back into Facebook until you update your name."
Well! Obviously, Have Gonevegan isn't my real name, but one (or a variation thereof) that I've used on most social media and on Facebook for over 10 years before someone complained. When I further investigated what "Help Us Confirm Your Name" actually meant, it boiled down to my providing them with two pieces of identification showing my legal name. Um, no. Call me paranoid, or just a lover of a basic semblance of privacy (even if imaginary), but I prefer to stick to my handle rather than real name.
So yes, I haven't been able to log into Facebook for a year because I haven't updated my name. Is it a loss? Kind of, as I can't like or comment on posts at all, but I believe that that's what got me into trouble in the first place. Because right before someone complained, I had left snarky comments on the pages of Marineland, African Lion Safari, a dog breeder, and if I remember correctly, a breeder of "mini" pigs. So there you go. I pissed someone off enough that they took action. My bet is on Marineland as they're notorious for trying to shut down dissent of any kind, but it could have been anyone.
I still do check out the pages of Esther and HEEFS although I'm constantly prompted to log in, which, of course, I cannot do without confirming my name (which I won't do) or updating it (which I can't be bothered to do.) Technically then, I haven't been kicked off so much as not wanting to follow the rules, but hey, what can I say.
In a way though I'm almost glad because for some reason, even though I like to think of myself as a fairly decent and kind person, there's something about both Facebook and Twitter that brings out the sarcastic/caustic beast in me. Blog posts by nature are longer and can therefore be somewhat more nuanced, but replying in so many words (or few, as is more often the case) can be lethal.
While I still believe in the value of sharing information on these platforms, I'm not convinced they're the best way to persuade anyone of anything. There's the danger of these outlets acting as echo chambers, and people not listening to what they don't want to hear. I'm guilty of that too. Tell me you support Trump, or identify as right-wing, use phrases like reverse racism or acronyms like SJW, and I'm likely to dismiss you right off the bat.
No, I think the best way to reach people is face to face, but likely only when they've already opened their hearts and minds on their own. I've used a LOT of words online to try and bring about change, and I can tell you from experience that the most influential interactions I've had have all been accidental conversations with strangers. I call this Awesome Accidental Animal Advocacy (A to the 4th power?), and will outline two of my favourite exchanges in a future post sometime.