HOUSTON – Nasty comments, copyrighted material or offensive pictures -- There are a number of things that can get you thrown in “Facebook jail.” That is when the social media company bans you from sharing anything on the site. Tomball resident Jules Childers learned the hard way that you don't even have to do anything wrong to get booted off.
Childers is a 29-year Houston firefighter; but on Sept. 10, Facebook had her pegged as a terrorist. The company disabled her account for almost a month with no explanation.
On the eve of 9-11, Childers was changing her cover and profile pictures to honor those who lost their lives in the twin towers. She posted a picture of the New York skyline with two blue lights illuminating the sky where the towers had stood. Then she changed the cover photo to one after the first tower had been hit. When she tried to change it again, Facebook disabled her account.
A vague email from the social media company told Childers that one of her posts went against Facebook’s community guidelines.
“I've never been in ‘Facebook jail,’ so to speak,” Childers told Davis. “I've never even been issued a warning via Facebook. (I've) never even had a picture removed from Facebook.”
When Childers tried to straighten the matter out, Facebook requested a copy of her ID, like a birth certificate, driver’s license, social security card or work ID, to verify her identity; but even after she sent what they asked for, a month passed with no response.
“When they disable your account, they have all of your pictures," Childers explained. "They have all of your information. You have nothing. I lost everything."
When consumer expert Amy Davis reached out to Facebook, a spokesperson sent this statement:
“Technology helps us find and remove terrorism content, but our systems don't always understand context. We apologize for incorrectly taking down images memorializing this tragic event and we've taken steps to prevent this from happening again. Any bans or blocks on accounts associated with this incorrect removal will be reversed."
Now that’s she’s back on Facebook, Childers has this advice for other users:
“I would tell anybody, download what you have because if they're gonna disable your account you're gonna find that you have nothing."
How to Save Your Facebook Content:
• On Facebook, click on “Settings” from the drop down arrow at the top right-corner of the page.
• On the left-hand side under the column labeled “General,” click “Your Facebook Information.”
• Click “Download Your Information.”
• Facebook will email you a link to your data. Just download the zip file on your computer.