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Op-Ed: Facebook page disappeared? There IS a simple fix

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People who tap into Facebook on smartphones will soon start landing on a 'Home' page featuring content recommended by artificial intelligence and a tab leading exclusively to posts by friends.

People who tap into Facebook on smartphones will soon start landing on a ‘Home’ page featuring content recommended by artificial intelligence and a tab leading exclusively to posts by friends. – Copyright AFP Genya SAVILOV

The news that Facebook is building a customer service group is long overdue. I just had an experience I could have done without. It so happens this relates directly to an experience I had this morning…

(Scroll down to “The fix” paragraph if you’re in a hurry.)

Well, it was a bright and cheerful morning and my personal Facebook page had of course disappeared. Facebook notified me they’d upgraded another page. I had no visible access to my personal page. Couldn’t even search my own page.

I was halfway through my first cup of coffee. A 15-year-old page had vanished. I now had a “new” page, also without any of the original content. I lost track of all my contacts, news feed, etc. with this new page, which of course didn’t have any of them set up.

I assumed, wrongly, that this was all that was left of my FB account. I was in a very unfamiliar setting. What bliss. Tried Help and Support; nothing. Tried “contact Facebook”; nothing immediate. Tried looking up a How to Contact Facebook search, got some pretty dismal reviews of the process, and nothing useful.

Meanwhile, I’m contacting people to say I’ve lost the page. All so exciting. Exactly what you need first thing in the morning.

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The fix

Simply log out and log back in with the right account password.

Nothing to lose, obviously.

Fixed.

It really was that easy.

This is literally a “turn it off and turn it back on again” fix.

It’s not an intuitive fix. Anyone in IT would think of it immediately. Not everyone works in IT. With hindsight, it also makes perfect sense. Unless your FB account is inoperable, it should work. The login is account-specific, so that’s where you’ll go when you log in.

Forgot your password?

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I hadn’t needed to login to FB for years. I had to go and find the password. That’s likely to be an issue for many people, although “forgot password” usually solves it.

Ahh… Facebook…Why is this an issue?

Clearly, from what I saw in many miserable reviews online, it’s also not a fix that occurs much to people, hence this article. People were complaining about losing their FB pages and lack of support with good reason.

The Help system clearly doesn’t work well, if at all. It’s too complex. There are many Help issues that aren’t relevant to specific cases. It’s a labyrinth. There’s also nobody to talk to. All you need to do is add a “How to access your FB page” line or so to the Support pages.

This very straightforward fix should by now be Facebook folklore.  It should also be clearly visible. Users don’t “Instinctively” know the logic of access. They naturally think the problem is systemic. Facebook has deleted their page for some reason, etc.

This is an anything but transparent situation and stressed users may not be thinking straight.

They shouldn’t have to think about it at all. Everyone has to deal with multiple access issues all the time. Access to accounts should be easy and instant.

I’m surprised, though. With all the recent largely negative publicity for Facebook and the perception of hostility and arbitrary decisions against users, it’s a truly lousy look. My suggestion is that Facebook gets back in touch with users. It needs to be a friendly environment. The perception of evasive support hardly helps the image.

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Anyway, I hope that helps anyone having problems with their Facebook pages. I’m now on my third cup of coffee and able to get nostalgic. Believe me when I say I could have done without that experience.

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UK teen died after ‘negative effects of online content’: coroner

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Molly Russell was exposed to online material 'that may have influenced her in a negative way'

Molly Russell was exposed to online material ‘that may have influenced her in a negative way’ – Copyright POOL/AFP/File Philip FONG

A 14-year-old British girl died from an act of self harm while suffering from the “negative effects of online content”, a coroner said Friday in a case that shone a spotlight on social media companies.

Molly Russell was “exposed to material that may have influenced her in a negative way and, in addition, what had started as a depression had become a more serious depressive illness,” Andrew Walker ruled at North London Coroner’s Court.

The teenager “died from an act of self-harm while suffering depression”, he said, but added it would not be “safe” to conclude it was suicide.

Some of the content she viewed was “particularly graphic” and “normalised her condition,” said Walker.

Russell, from Harrow in northwest London, died in November 2017, leading her family to set up a campaign highlighting the dangers of social media.

“There are too many others similarly affected right now,” her father Ian Russell said after the ruling.

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“At this point, I just want to say however dark it seems, there is always hope.

“I hope that this will be an important step in bringing about much needed change,” he added.

The week-long hearing became heated when the family’s lawyer, Oliver Sanders, took an Instagram executive to task.

A visibly angry Sanders asked Elizabeth Lagone, the head of health and wellbeing at Meta, Instagram’s parent company, why the platform allowed children to use it when it was “allowing people to put potentially harmful content on it”.

“You are not a parent, you are just a business in America. You have no right to do that. The children who are opening these accounts don’t have the capacity to consent to this,” he said.

Lagone apologised after being shown footage, viewed by Russell, that “violated our policies”.

Of the 16,300 posts Russell saved, shared or liked on Instagram in the six-month period before her death, 2,100 related to depression, self-harm or suicide, the inquest heard.

Children’s charity NSPCC said the ruling “must be a turning point”.

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“Tech companies must be held accountable when they don’t make children’s safety a priority,” tweeted the charity.

“This must be a turning point,” it added, stressing that any delay to a government bill dealing with online safety “would be inconceivable to parents”.

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