Help : Facebook Support Is Useless

35 points by rkoul 12 days ago

I am not sure if I have seen posts like this here, but I figured someone here may help me reach the right contact and/or may have technical suggestions as to what to do next as I think I am facing a unique (I think) issue with my Facebook account.

I haven't been on Facebook for more than a year now. For some reason, today, I decided to send some messages and lo and behold my password wouldn't work. I am reasonably confident that I have not forgotten the password. After a few tries, I did what any sane person would do - hit the 'forget password' workflow. OK, I got the recovery code and all and was able to reset and log in. And this is where things got a bit weird.

Facebook dropped me onto a completely new profile. The email message I got subsequently said that they have "reactivated an old account". What is even weirder is that the two email addresses differ by a "dot". (Thank you gmail!) Anyone who uses gmail would know that dots don't matter in the address. So, if my original email, to which my OG account was linked was 'john.smith@gmail.com'; the new account has been created as 'johnsmith@gmail.com' - and no I did enter the dotted email as the recovery email. It doesn't seem to matter for facebook recovery process. The email I get is being sent to the one without dots and that email is linked to the new account now. This new account is now showing up for even the dotted email (If I try the forget password flow wherein it shows 'is this your account?')

I checked my OG profile and it does exist. Fortunately, I have one session still active for my OG account on chrome that I hadn't opened in a long time. I tried checking what email was listed on the account. It is blank! I never gave my phone # to facebook. So, I have a situation wherein my OG account seems to have no email and no phone number on it. And any attempt to add those is asking for the old password - which is not working! I am kinda stuck!

I reported the new account as 'fake'; 'impersonating me' as there seemed to be no other option in facebook support to address this issue. Despite clearly indicating that it is an impersonation of me, facebook auto support says 'no community guidelines have been violated' and everything is kosher!

Well, no, it is not!

I am half inclined to just use this as a sign from powers above, and start deleting my photos etc. from the OG session I still have access to; and then deactivate both the accounts for good - but was hoping I could fix it first. Does anyone have any real human contacts in Facebook who could help?

nonrandomstring 12 days ago

I hear your pain and desperation. It is a sign that you ought to delete your account, for all the good that will do you.

HN is starting to become an unofficial customer support forum for derelict big-tech businesses. We regularly see messages like this "hoping to contact someone", as a desperate last resort in case developers hang out here.

If I were a big-tech employee reading HN I'd feel ashamed of this.

  • SanjayMehta 12 days ago

    The last big-tech company I worked for called stackexchange etc "level 0 support."

    Designated employees would monitor some forums and quietly raise PRs internally.

  • badpun 12 days ago

    In case of Facebook though, he's not a customer as he's not paying them any money. The pig is not the customer of the farm it lives on.

    • rl3 12 days ago

      >The pig is not the customer of the farm it lives on.

      Not yet. Fortunately, Farmconomy 3.0 is coming.

wanderingmind 12 days ago

The gmail dot problem is one of the biggest reasons for account failure and account faking across a wide range of websites and apps. They seem to have no bother fixing it.

On the other hand, it might be useful to start a new tag `Help HN:`, to get support from the bigtechs since this seems to truly be the last resort

  • rkoul 12 days ago

    I agree! I have seen this happen to me years ago when Gmail debuted. But, this used to work - at least for Facebook. So, someone changed something at Facebook I guess - and decided to canonicalize the email. The other mystery of course is how the email set on my OG a/c just disappeared. It does not show up. Anyway, I will see what I can get done through official channels

    P.S. I did start off with [Help HN] in the subject; but for some reason that was auto removed by HN. So `[Help HN] text` became just `text`. I eventually edited the subject to at least put in `Help` there.

  • Traubenfuchs 12 days ago

    I am sorry, I don‘t understand it, could you dumb it down?

    Emails to John.Smith@gmail.com are sent to JohnSmith@gmail.com? The other way round?

    If John.Smith@gmail.com exists, a new account for JohnSmith@gmail.com can‘t be made?

    • rippercushions 12 days ago

      Gmail ignores dots, the actual account is johnsmith@google.com and everything else is just aliases.

    • Gigachad 12 days ago

      I'm not sure how that could even be an issue. You need access to the gmail account to confirm the email either way. The only possible issue I can imagine is a poorly built site assuming that all email servers do this and ignoring dots in emails.

      • rkoul 12 days ago

        You are assuming that the said site has an email confirmation workflow as part of the registration process (Granted most do these days, but it wasn't the case many years earlier). Even so, you are also assuming that the said site would block your usage unless you confirm your email.

        Assuming one John Smith creates an account as john.smith@gmail.com ; and then another John Smith happens to create an account as johnsmith@gmail.com - and doesn't confirm the email right away (either the site doesn't ask for it; or doesn't really block any functionality - just keeps showing an annoying warning message). First John Smith can now easily take over the second account by triggering a forgot password workflow - for shit and giggles.

        • Gigachad 12 days ago

          One of these users doesn't own the email address they have input. If it's the first one, I'm not sure how they could trigger a password reset without access, if its the second one, then I'm not sure why it's surprising you can have your account reset when you signup with someone elses email.

renewiltord 12 days ago

Duuuude I had the same problem except someone else had my account but with the email without the dot. There's a "someone else has my address" flow that I followed but which would never accept a response because my email had the dot canonically.

Eventually it justworked. Months later. Sorry man. Nothing useful to add.

  • rkoul 12 days ago

    @renewiltord Are you saying there is a "someone else has my address" flow for exactly this scenario? I didn't see anything remotely resembling it. Let me check again.

    Not an issue. Thank you for your response.

    • renewiltord 12 days ago

      Oh no no. Just that the . And no . Emails are entirely distinct and if you have a phone number for an old account you might be able to get in.

MonkeyMalarky 12 days ago

You're a regular old user? Good luck! FB support barely functions when you have a business account that spends thousands of dollars get flagged.

  • nikolay 12 days ago

    Same here! A business user took a bit to find a contact form, their support responded in the middle of the night, then a couple of hours later (still at night here!) they replied to their own email, "As you're not responding, we're closing this issue." And they did close it as I kept replying to the email but have not heard back from them ever since!

rennsport_eth 12 days ago

I’m with nonrandomstring and others. Delete your Facebook. It will be better for your overall health and well-being.

NayamAmarshe 12 days ago

Good luck! I don't think you're ever gonna get your account back, and I'm not sure if you should. The world is a better place without Facebook.

Anyway, I had a business account on Facebook. I was paying them for page reach and they still flagged my pages as 'not following community guidelines'. After a year, the situation remained the same. My pages were still flagged yellow for no reason at all!

It's better to just leave Facebook and delete your accounts than to deal with it because in all fairness, you just can't deal with it.

  • rkoul 12 days ago

    Haha! I'd agree and it is one of the reason why I hadn't been on it for over a year. It is just that a part of me would rather leave on its own terms, than be forced out - which is what this is!

    On a different note, I can survive not being on Facebook, but I often dread what would happen if I were ever to lose access to my gmai? The aftermath would be a massive, massive pain in the wrong place..

    How did we end up with our identities so entrenched with just a few corporate entities? I wish things were easy to switch

    • NayamAmarshe 12 days ago

      > but I often dread what would happen if I were ever to lose access to my gmai?

      Yeah, that's why I've been moving to ProtonMail. My Gmail is full of spam now anyway but I do fear for the services that are connected to my Google Account, it's going to be a massive pain to move away from every single service I've used with Google Login.

SanjayMehta 12 days ago

Look on LinkedIn for a contact who might be working there and ask them for help.