Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2015-04-23

I’m Back on Facebook after they De-Activated My Account Asking for my Government ID

For background of this piece, read the piece I wrote two weeks ago about the de-activation without notice.

I wanted to tie up the loose ends about this because I don’t like leaving a story hanging and also I want folks who are not using their government name on Facebook to know my story and get prepared.

Photo Collage Maker_jbsNPuI decided it made going to the vet for Macy’s diagnostic work more fun to dress her in costume. The ultrasound techs thought it was really cute.

I thought long and hard about whether or not to engage with Facebook ever again. On principle, I don’t like that they require legal names or name authentication like this. But I have several friends who pointed out I’ve worked hard to get where I am and the body liberation work I do is best served by connecting with folks who I already know.

My connections are important to me and Facebook facilitates them very well. I know people from high school better than if we just occasionally have drinks. I can meet someone and still keep up on their artwork and their lives or whatever. Also, as a queer connector in the world it makes me feel good to help my friends moving to Providence meet my other friends in Providence (real life example). Also, I am a kind of “safe” ally to lots of different communities that my friends can come to for resources. Like a friend’s friend’s child just came out as genderqueer and my friend (who is not in the queer community) came to me for stuff her friend could read. That’s such an amazing thing to be able to do in the world! Improving the coming out process around someone’s gender by being a person with a reach beyond a specific type of community.

I have been off Facebook now for a couple of weeks. A few friends emailed or texted worried about not finding me there. I have missed some event announcements and life stuff for people but I kind of trust that people know how to get ahold of me if they need to. Plus, I trust the Universe/the Goddess and this happened for a reason and I just let it go as long as I needed to.

I was so worried that people thought I blocked them on Facebook! (This is a great reminder to always assume people’s best intentions!)

What I ended up submitting to Facebook on Monday night was a picture of my Driver’s License, which has my government name, birthdate and photo like Facebook asked for. I submitted two supporting documents showing my name as Bevin Branlandingham. One was the Curve Magazine article about me, which I think proves I’m a real person. The other were two pieces of mail. I get a lot of mail to Branlandingham, it’s almost always super awesome.

20150412_174540I’ve been using my time off Facebook to do new things like posting outfit of the days to Instagram with lots of item detail.

I also had a friend of a friend who worked at Facebook and a couple of other people on the inside, but I’m not sure if any of the connections folks offered helped my case or not.

Given what happened to me, folks should be prepared to give Facebook an ID at a moment’s notice. If I had some notice, I probably would have tried to get an alternate something (all of their requested documents are in the screenshots below:

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Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 2.51.37 PM (1)

20150421_172611So, I’m back on Facebook, maybe a little checked out of it, for now.

2015-04-08

Facebook De-Activated My Account Demanding a Government ID

Monday was not a cute day for me. I visited my accountant to do my taxes, the preparation for which is a lengthy process as someone who is self-employed and doesn’t use Quicken. (Ugh bookkeeping. Ugh working class background/money fears/so much stuff to work through.)

I got my tax bill (UGH) and then… we finally heard back from the vet. Macy, my beloved Shih Tzu, broke her ankle in February. She had ruptured disc surgery in July and several months of recovery so the chip fracture was an emotionally and financially difficult set back.

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Part of the ankle treatment was having her sedated for an x-ray. Pre-sedation blood work meant we found out by accident that her calcium levels are high. Which could be an indicator of cancer or parathyroid disease or just high calcium which, if left untreated, can deposit minerals in her organs and then cause more disease. The process of figuring it out is one test after another. When your vet calls something an “Easter egg hunt,” that’s not a great sign.

Monday we got the results from her recent special hypercalcemia blood test (this required a special lab and a 7 day wait for the results) and her thyroid is normal but the calcium is still high. Next up, yet another ultrasound. (She’s 13 pounds, they couldn’t ultrasound her neck WHILE they did the abdomen? So fucked up.) It is stressful, expensive, sad and poor Macy.

After the day’s events, I went to Facebook, thinking I could maybe talk to some friends who have been on lengthy dog diagnostic journeys. Or talk to some of my working class femme friends about being self-employed. Like so many times I’ve gone to Facebook, a nice aggregate of people I actually know in real life, I went to my phone browser and popped it in. I was greeted with a login screen, which is odd because I generally stay logged in to Facebook.

Once I logged in, Facebook asked me for my driver’s license. Until I provide them some kind of identity verification from their list, I am locked out of Facebook. Not only am I locked out, but my friends report that they cannot find me, cannot message me and cannot see my profile. Facebook has made it so I no longer exist on their system.

This was kind of the straw that broke the camel’s back. I am just trying to live a positive life and right now it’s like death, death, money stuff, illness, now Facebook.

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The problem is, I use a different name, a chosen name, to interact with people in social media. Bevin is my government first name, but because I have a super googleable name, I choose to use a made-up last name on all forms of social media. Bevin Branlandingham is my stage name, but it also provides a great invisible wall between my day job and my life online. I think it is extremely reasonable to make this distinction and I would, in fact, encourage other people to do this with social media, no matter the “privacy settings.”

I would not have the same issue if my name was very common, like Jane Smith, but I still think social media is not a place where your government name should be required.

There are lots of other reasons a person might not use their government name on social media. Here are some reasons that I came up with the last time I wrote a blog post about the Facebook legal name requirement:

1. Trans people and other people for whom their legal name does not represent their gender(s).
2. People whose name is extremely googleable. The John Smiths of the world don’t have the same issues with online content that the Bevin Branlandinghams do.
3. Performers who use facebook to connect with their performance community.
4. Roller Derby folks who want to use their derby name to connect to their community.
5. People whose jobs or careers would be jeopardized by interaction with social media.
6. People for whom a legal name change is a barrier of time/access/money.
7. People who use social media for a specific group that utilizes nicknames.
8. People who don’t want people knowing their legal name in a casual setting.
9. Folks who are hiding from abusive exes/parents/relatives or stalkers.
10. Folks whose countries of citizenship would punish them for speaking about their country.

facebookalias

After the last hullabaloo over Facebook and real name requirements, I thought Facebook actually listened to the LGBT activists and drag queens who went to them and had meetings with them. Schooling them without being paid tuition. I GUESS FACEBOOK DIDN’T LISTEN.

I had a lot of feelings about being denied access to my Facebook account, on a day when I was already full of lots of difficult feelings.

Lately I’ve also been using Facebook to connect with my communities because not one but two of my friends in different crowds passed away suddenly this past month (one was suicide). It has been really helpful to connect with people around this, lots of whom are old friends who only get in touch with me through Facebook.

It felt really shitty to be isolated from my friends on a day when I kind of needed to reach out. It continues to feel shitty to have to figure out how to get Facebook to verify my “authentic identity” when I have a ton of other stuff that’s more important.

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For example, my allergies are super bad and I need to sit on hold with Callen-Lorde and get an appointment with my provider. I also think dying my hair is more important than going through the debacle that will be the uphill battle to reactivating my Facebook profile.

Since Facebook deactivated my account I have discovered that anything I used Facebook to login to is no longer available to me. For example, I pay monthly for Spotify because it is so easy to stream all the music except now I can’t get into it because my Facebook login won’t work. Same with my meditation program. I will NEVER use a third party login for a website again. By the way, Spotify doesn’t have an email or contact form for customer care–I’m having to contact them via Twitter. I don’t feel comfortable giving my money to places that don’t prioritize customer care so I am going to have to figure out a new music situation. The amount of agita piling on with this Facebook suspension is astounding.

Here are some screen caps:
FBSubmityourdocsScreen Shot 2015-04-08 at 2.51.24 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-08 at 2.51.37 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-08 at 2.51.46 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-08 at 2.52.11 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-08 at 2.52.23 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-08 at 2.52.39 PM

Since I don’t ever intend to make my stage name my government name, I don’t have any of the documents they are asking for. Why would I bother? I’ve never subscribed to a magazine as Bevin Branlandingham… but I’ve been featured in magazines as Bevin Branlandingham, presented at conferences, run a successful website, etc… On principle I also think this is shitty. Facebook is kind of the first place people go to to announce a new name, what if they haven’t done anything other than tell the people they love about a new name? Or what if they just (like me) don’t want to use a government name for social media?

I’ve done security measures with Facebook before, answered security questions, verified the identities of my friends in tagged photos. What happened that Facebook now wants to shut down my account and see my library card? I feel like I’m trying to go to a nightclub and the bouncer is demanding my ID.

The ironic thing is that I have a Facebook page with a fake name that is still totally accessible to me! (Rebel Gateau, a loose French version of Rebel Cupcake.) I use it for nightlife promotion so I can friend folks who wanted to get party invites. Facebook I can still get in the back door!

My therapist called me a “woman of my time” because of all of the ways in which I use Facebook. When doing my expenses for taxes in 2014 I paid more money to Facebook for advertising than I paid for printed fliers. We live in a different time. But I guess Facebook doesn’t want my money because it’s money from someone who doesn’t use an “authentic name.” And maybe that’s how they got me in the first place, because my credit card info doesn’t match my Facebook screen name.

I have a lot of rage about this, and it is probably just a place for all my other rage about how mad I am that my friends died and confused I am about my feelings, how frustrated I am about the process about Macy’s diagnosis and how worried I am that if I don’t keep shoveling dollar bills at it that she is going to die. Oh and feelings of helplessness about money, taxes, bookkeeping, getting rid of stuff (the latter being that Queer Exchange is a great place to get rid of stuff).

It would be nice to have access to my friends on Facebook at this time, but I’m just taking a break. Hopeful that most folks have my email or at least remember to google me and get my email from my blog. (It’s on the sidebar.) So far three people have texted asking why they can’t find me on Facebook, so that’s something.

In the meantime, I got a nice Fuck You from Facebook in the form of an email telling me all I have missed in the 48 hours since they deactivated my account.
FB email after suspension

I’m totally not kidding. I cannot actually log into my Facebook account, but they email me what I’m missing. Just like being inside a nightclub and coming out to the line of folks waiting outside fruitlessly arguing with a bouncer about IDs telling them what fun everyone is having without you. Facebook, you are an asshole.

I want to tell Facebook “You can’t fire me, I quit” and figure out how to live the social media life I want to without them. And yet, I’m still wondering how I can crowd source my incredible pool of friends so efficiently without Facebook. And I miss creeping my departed friend Laura Mulley’s Facebook feed because I’ve been learning a lot about her since she passed away last month and really appreciated that process and moving through grief.

The intention of this post is to warn folks who don’t use their government name on Facebook–they will come for you. And it will be without warning. So don’t rely on Facebook messenger to get info because poof, out of nowhere, Facebook will rip it from you unless you want to prepare all of these docs ahead of time. Maybe if I had a couple of weeks’ warning that they were going to ask me I could have tried to get a library card in my chosen name.

I can’t manage my Queer Fat Femme Facebook Fan Page now because I can’t get to it without my Facebook account. So I will simply have to use other social media outlets to tell people about my performances and life.

If you want to find me: Twitter (good articles/media recommendations), Instagram (my dog, my partner, my babely friends and adventures) and Tumblr (whatever goes on Tumblr).

I’m still a positive person (my motto about my attitude is to not allow my personal tragedy to interfere with my ability to do good hair, where good hair is ultimately believing the good in life) so I can’t leave it on an FU Facebook note. Instead, here’s a great Dolly Parton quote.

dollyism

2013-09-04

How Private are your Facebook Posts?

Filed under: Queer Oprah — Tags: , , , — Bevin @ 11:30 am

I have noticed in the last few months that some of my friends have been posting to Facebook and unknowingly making those posts public. I have wondered if those friends realized it, when I see the little globe icon next to their status. I don’t want to assume people don’t know what they’re doing in terms of privacy settings, so often I don’t reach out to ask. But sometimes it’s pretty obvious they intend a post to be “friends-only” and it’s really posting so the whole wide world can see. It’s happened about a half a dozen times that the person didn’t know it was public and either had a social catastrophe or just a long period of stepping back in time manually changing the settings on a bunch of statuses themselves.

This post is a friendly heads-up to folks to check their default settings on Facebook and be wary of what they are putting on the internet intentionally public. Sure, this is going to be “duh” to some people, but if it saves a few of you from social catastrophe, I think that’s all the better.

If a post is friends-only, the little icon next to the time stamp on the status has a couple of stick figure heads on it.
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If anyone knows of a campground I should look at within a couple hours of NYC, preferably also outside of Philly, let me know.

My personal Facebook account is intentionally friends-only. I sometimes crowd-source support, like when my cat Bear was dying, and I don’t need all of that stuff public.

If a post is public, the little icon next to the time stamp is a globe.
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My Rebel Gateau profile is intentionally public, since I use it to promote parties. If you want to get invites to my events, friend me there!

You can also make posts custom-privacy and exclude certain people. For example, if you’re crowd-sourcing support for a recent break-up and want to exclude your ex and their besties.

If you want to check your default settings, there is an icon next to your name on the top right hand side of the page that has a lock image–that’s a shortcut to show you what your future post settings are defaulting to. If you don’t want it to be public, double check that it’s defaulting the way you want it to.

And if you find you’ve been accidentally posting publicly… nobody ever died of awkward.

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