Facebook’s No Help Center
If you are an ordinary Facebook user with an issue the Facebook Help Center can’t solve there is no way to directly communicate with a human at Facebook.
Ok, go ahead, call 1-660-543-4800, the phone number that appears if you try to locate Facebook HQ using search. If you do make the call, a polite female voice tells you can’t call them and you have to communicate with them online.
Of course you can’t really communicate with Facebook online, either.
Ok, there is ONE way to ask Facebook a question.
Facebook recommends users go get a stamp from the U.S. Post Office, an envelope, some paper and write them a letter. Yep. Their mailing address is on their website. Note in the screenshot the date of the last revision go this policy – Sept. 29, 2016. Some things change very slowly at fast-moving high-tech outfit like Facebook.
I know this is true because I tried repeatedly to contact Facebook using the “tools” they make available to report issues. I received the same automated reply each time, with a second saying, gosh we’re working hard to resolve technical issues, but offering no further assistance of any kind.
At Facebook HQ the lowly users are vigorously ignored.
Which brings me to why I was forced to engage with Facebook No Help Center in the first place.
I wanted to delete my account.
I wanted to delete my entire account and all of its associated interactions. Everything. I wanted nine years worth of Posts, Notes, Likes Replies, etc. gone forever and completely from Facebook’s giant databases.
Facebook has a procedure for this, but you have to trust them to delete your data, and even at that they tell you they can’t promise everything will disappear. You can read more about this in my guide Getting Off Facebook Step-By-Step.
One of the requirements for deleting or deactivating your Facebook account is deleting any Facebook apps you may have created.
One of my skills is creating websites. During the past few years I created several Facebook apps for various websites.
My inability to deactivate or delete my Facebook account is because of a single Facebook app I created for a client about three years ago.
The client was a civic organization and my work pro bono.
However, the group’s leadership changed and eventually the website I created was erased and replaced with a new site.
This next paragraph is a little technically wonky in an Internet sort of way, so hang in there.
Facebook allows users to create apps that will perform various functions. The purpose of the app I created was to allow Posts to Facebook to appear in a sidebar “widget” on the website automatically and to allow the users of the website to post from the website to Facebook.
Facebook apps that users like me create have email accounts associated with them, in part so you can reset the permissions for the app in case of a problem.
User-created Facebook apps will also associate themselves with a type of Internet address known as an IP address.
It is impossible for me to reset the app’s permissions in order access it from an IP address I control.
Therefore, I cannot delete the app. This is why I needed technical assistance from Facebook, actual assistance.
If you are an ordinary user with an issue the Help Center can’t solve there is no way to directly communicate with a human at Facebook.
So off I went to the Help Center to report my problem.
This is what happens: First you reach this window: I clicked “Something Isn’t Working.”
Which takes you to this window:
Here I filled out the form telling Facebook’s robot response program that I can’t delete an app. Not shown here is a report where I attached screenshots of the issue.
I also used the dropdown menu under “Where Is The Problems?” None of those seems quite right. I picked “Other.” Not that it would matter.
And the response? After a day or so of waiting this was the result.
Yes. Case closed. It’s a good thing the folk at Facebook are working hard to resolve technical issues. It’s just too bad that they can’t resolve issues like mine, or any REAL issues at all.
Problem solved! For Facebook, that is.
Other than me getting elected to Congress, the only way I’ll get a human from Facebook to contact me about my little technical glitch is to write them a letter and send by U.S. Mail. And that will probably be answered by a computer-generated reply saying the best way to contact the company is on the web.
On Facebook users are, in fact, the product. The company’s ironically named Help Center represents an interesting way to treat your product, or should I say your 1 billion cash cows.
If your problem with Facebook doesn’t fit one of its predetermined problems and resolutions selected mostly by a radio button or check boxes from a predetermined list.
In the end I felt compelled to remove as much of my data from Facebook as possible. I feel help a digital hostage by Facebook, a company that has shown its indifference to it users – don’t call them customers — in very apparent and glaring ways.
Facebook’s No Help Center Spawns Other Problems Online
As I mentioned in Part 1, Facebook’s non-existent user service has actually helped create an entire ecosystem of scam website offering to either help you communicate with or solve your problem with Facebook, usually in exchange for your personal information and/or some money.
Anyone asking for money or personal information to help you with Facebook issues is scamming you.
This site is NOT and will NOT ask for money to help you in getting off Facebook, or in limiting its intrusiveness until the company is forced to improve its privacy tools and its help functions for users.
The Icarian guide to Getting Off Facebook is 100% fee and royalty free. No advertising is involved.
Facebook’s abysmal Help Center is in reality a purpose-built wall insulating the company form the outside, especially from the site’s users, its unwashed masses. It’s the only explanation for the overly difficult to navigate and unhelpful Facebook Help Center with its ridged, cumbersome features and robotic responses to real issues.
The only other plausible alternative is that Facebook’s stable of very expensive computer engineers, user experience experts, designers and psychologists are incompetent and fail to understand the needs of its 1 billion plus users.
If Facebook’s users are so important and their needs are to be addressed in the wake of the loss in confidence in the company, the Help Center as it is today is certainly NOT the way to regain anyone’s trust.
But is Facebook really worth it? Is there REALLY and there there?
What’s left unsaid is that Facebook feels free to whatever it wants with the information users have gifted the company as compensation for providing for gratis, — out of the personal genius and magnanimous generosity of company founder Mark Zuckerberg — the miracle of instant connection and communication.
And, free of charge, Facebook also provides instant exposure to advertising. Targeted advertising. Lots and lots of targeted ads, which use data from users to reach very specific sets of Facebook users – like potential voters in certain elections, for example. While, of course, respecting your privacy.
In Part 4 will examine the “cost” of Facebook and it’s value proposition to their users relative to the other two online behemoths Amazon and Google.
Coming soon: The Case Against Facebook Part 3