I was actually ON Facebook on Wednesday, when I was knocked off and given an account disabled message.
Like many of you, I rely on heavily on social media for my business as an artist. Getting the word out about exhibitions, workshops, and new paintings is imperative. I began with Facebook in 2008, and have built quite a huge audience there over time. Now, suddenly, my personal account is gone. As luck would have it, my assistant Kelley is an admin on my Professional page using her personal account (a precautionary measure that I am so glad we took). She still has access to that page as of this writing. You should be able to find Lori Putnam Studio there. But professional page posts seem to reach fewer eyes, and get only a few likes, comments, and shares. Having just lost 5000 Facebook friends, twice that many followers, and more than 1000 unanswered friend requests (since 5000 is the max you can have on Facebook) I am in total shock. Yesterday morning I could post something and get hundreds of comments and hundreds more reactions in a matter of a few minutes. Now I can do nothing. There was no warning of this whatsoever. Just poof and it is like I died, exterminated from the Facebook world.
As I lay awake last night pondering this, only three possible reasons came to mind that may have played a role here:
- One, I posted a drawing of a statue of Venus from when I was in Rome and it did [sort of] show breasts on the drawing. This was a statue... not a person, so if some lunatic reported that as nudity, I wish they had just unfriended me and moved on. Given that I have had people remove me from their friend's lists and yes, even block me on Facebook, this could be sabotage by someone wanting to do harm to my business. I know that sounds like paranoia, but the higher you climb on this ladder of success, the worse that sort of stuff gets. It's just petty jealousy. Sad, but true. However, usually if you are reported for something like posting nudity, unless it is child pornography or something else unspeakable, Facebook sends you a warning and removes the image. I have known of people reposting the same image later and it was overlooked. I got no warning, so this seems an unlikely culprit.
- Two, I have been vocal with regard to the our presidential administration. I haven't said a lot, have called no one names or used hate speech of any kind. I have calmly shared my opinion and I did share the 84 Lumber Company commercial. Surely... this is not the reason??
- Three, it is possible that my account was hacked or cloned and Facebook is only taking this as a precautionary measure to investigate. Let us hope that is the reason. It is the only one that would take away this bad taste in my mouth for Facebook at this point.
I have filed the necessary appeal with required ID proof using my driver's license. (To file your appeal, it is required that you use a government issued, photo ID. Hmmmm???? See reason two for being disabled above). But another thing you may not know is that when you are disabled by Facebook without warning, you get no explanation as to why, how long this could take, or if you will be allowed back on at all or allowed to start over with a new account. (That's cleaning out your friend's list the hard way!) Some have reported it is just a matter of a few days, others several weeks even months, and still others that they were banned forever as a matter of "national security." Clearly, my attempt to save the world from bad art one piece at a time is the real problem. Now what shall I do with all of that free time I'll get back??? LOL
Coincidentally, NPR just did a story this week on this very topic and on Facebook's lack of customer support. They posted a link where people can send their issues. Ironically, it is a Facebook page called TellZuck (as in Zuckerberg) so that helps me zero.
Just proves that you should never have so many eggs in one social media basket. So, if you want to find me, look for me on my professional page which Kelley will continue to manage on my behalf at Lori Putnam Studio, on Instagram you will find paintings as I am working on them follow @LoriPutnamArt, or on Twitter @LoriPutnamArt, and of course here on this blog and my website. To be sure you get latest news, please subscribe to my mailing list at loriputnam.com/subscribe.
I'll post an update if ever I get one from the Facebook gods in the sky. In the meantime, please SHARE this post (on my behalf) so that others know I'm alive. If you're into hashtags, use #followLoriPutnam. THANKS!
UPDATE! Saturday, Feb. 11...
Thanks to all of you who helped! I'm back up and available. Whew. It was such a strange feeling. I cannot even tell you. Crises over. I may never know what happened as they have not contacted me in any way. All I know is that a friend contacted a friend who may have helped get this remedied a bit faster. So thankful that.