My breakup with Facebook

September 20, 2016 — by Maya Prasad

“Account Disabled. Your account was removed from Facebook because we found it's pretending to be someone else.”

These sentences that appeared on my computer screen on Sept. 8 brought immense fear into my life when I tried to log on. Much like going through a text-breakup, my recent separation with Facebook caused me to enter the cycle of the seven stages of grief.

 

Stage 1: Shock and Denial

At first, I couldn’t believe what was in front of my eyes and thought I had entered the wrong login information. I hopelessly entered my username and password three more times only to get the same message over again. This couldn’t be happening. Impersonation? I have never pretended to be someone else on my account before. On what basis could Facebook disable my account? I kept pushing this issue away, telling myself it would come back in a few hours due to a momentary glitch in the system.

 

Stage 2: Pain and Guilt

I began to feel self-doubt and justify Facebook’s actions. Maybe I did impersonate another user every time I messaged my friends “I wish I were Beyonce” or maybe I was too clingy because I logged on every five seconds. My friends told me to stop putting the blame on myself and that it wasn’t my fault. I needed to be assertive, not hurt myself as Facebook was already hurting me.

 

Stage 3: Anger and Bargaining

After all the devotion I showed toward Facebook almost every moment of the day, how can it treat me this way and breakup with me so impersonally through text? Facebook required me to send in a photo verification so I sent in my ID numerous times only to receive an email saying I sent it through the “wrong channel.”

It was like Facebook had changed all forms of communication just to avoid contact with me. Infuriated, I began a series of rants about what kind of malicious high schooler would report my account as a joke. I transitioned from venting about this anonymous student to insulting Facebook and its inability to recognize that I was a real person.

 

Stage 4: Depression and Loneliness

No one understood what I was going through. With a tub of ice cream and a spatula in my hand, I realized Facebook always let me connect to the social world and spend time away from the mountains of homework on my desk. But a few days later, I found solace in a group of students whose accounts had also been disabled by Facebook for no reason as well. We each shared our tales of how Facebook abandoned us and I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I wasn’t the only one.

 

Stage 5: The Upward Turn

I tried to ignore anything that was remotely related to Facebook and found some benefit in my account being disabled. I wasn’t so distracted anymore or worried about spending time with Facebook. I didn’t have to focus on a relationship because it was my time now. I became more focused on my homework, finishing by 10 p.m. and getting nine hours of sleep almost every day.

Step 6: Reconstruction and Working Through

My mind cleared all its initial moments of grief and I formulated a plan: I didn’t want to crawl back into Facebook’s arms because I had too much self-respect for that, but maybe Facebook could change. I decided to give it the benefit of doubt since I am a firm believer that people can indeed change. Giving all the information necessary, I got in touch with someone who works at Facebook and we began the journey to recover my account.

 

Stage 7: Acceptance and Hope

My account was gone and I knew it. But I also knew it would come back to me soon. Despite everything, I knew that my connection with Facebook was undeniably special and that the incident was just a mistake. As I waited to see if Facebook will meet me halfway, I could only hope that my account and I would be reunited soon. And on the morning of Sept. 19, we were back together again.