It happened about two hours ago. Facebook nearly gave me and my friend Arpit, the co-founders of fossBytes, a massive heart-attack.
It was a usual day at work and we were finished with today’s work. As it was the second day of Microsoft’s Developer Conference Build 2015, we had a lot on our plate. I had just finished this story on Microsoft’s online tool how-old.net and I had shared this on my Facebook pages. As I expected, soon after sharing the story, it went viral and we started getting hundreds of traffic alone on that story.
I was browsing through my Twitter feed and I came across people tweeting their pics taken after using the tool and how badly Microsoft’s tool failed. I thought let’s do a quick picture-essay story by embedding the tweets along with those pictures. Then I happened to look at the analytics and I instantly knew that something was wrong.
Our website is about 10 months old and we get a good amount of traffic from our Facebook pages fossBytes. Other main sources are Google’s organic traffic and email alerts. When I saw a drastic decline in the website traffic, I looked at the Facebook statistics and they were declining rapidly. I checked my Facebook pages and then came the first and mini heart-attack.
I saw that all the links I’ve shared from my page have disappeared. Even the cover picture of my fossBytes Facebook page was nowhere to be seen just because in its description I had embedded a link of my website. I checked my own and Arpit’s Facebook profile and we realized that our website has totally vanished from the Facebook. Now came the second and massive heart-attack.
We decided to contact Facebook and opened Facebook Help pages on our laptops. As we typed complaint message with the link of our website and hit enter, a message popped up saying that this message contains an abusive link and the URL is blocked by Facebook. We were just looking at each other thinking what to do next. We removed the link and messaged them anyway multiple times at different portals.
After half-an-hour long emailing and texting to Facebook Help support center, we refreshed our Facebook pages once again and we that some links have reappeared. I clicked on one of them and what I saw was even worse than disappeared links.
I was greeted with is a message in a new window: “We believe the link you are trying to visit is malicious.”
This was even worse because now our users were seeing the links and after clicking them, they were being told by Facebook that our website fossbytes.com is unsafe to use.
I tried Facebook debugging tool and it told that our link is blocked or we might have triggered too many scrapes.
It was more than an hour and once again I was continuously refreshing my Facebook page and looking at the analytics. Suddenly I saw a slow rise in traffic and I clicked on a link on my page. And voila, it worked.
Everything was okay again and we took a sigh of relief wondering about the reasons behind this problem. Just then, my friend Naveen happened to look at a post from TNW telling about some Facebook bug that almost gave me a real heart-attack.
Now it has been two-three hours and I haven’t received any message or email from Facebook support team. I don’t even expect that I would be getting one, because in the past, I have faced some other minor problems and the issue was rarely taken into the consideration.
There isn’t a direct phone number or support center where users and businesses could contact and have their issues resolved. While dealing with this mishap, I was reading various Facebook forums with countless number of people complaining about the incompetent support system and unresolved issues. I happened to read that there are numerous websites blocked by Facebook and they continue to remain so after months of requests and messages.
Well, this was a new and scary experience for me. Facebook is the biggest social network out there and the most powerful tool to spread our word. It has been a great support to my website and being banned from Facebook is an unrepairable damage. I hope Mark Zuckerberg improves his support system and doesn’t plan to give such deadly heart attacks to us anymore in near future.
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