(Shoshanna Evers has been my pen name since 2009, which makes it legally my real name in 46 states just by the fact that I use it everywhere - and I have an Idaho-state DBA (doing business as) Shoshanna Evers).
I had a Shoshanna Evers profile from 2010 that was converted into a "Like Page" when I couldn't add more friends. For a couple years I just had that Page, and no profile attached.
Then, FB made me create a profile to attach to the Page. So I created a Shoshanna Evers profile. I hid the profile in searches so only my Like Page would come up (I don't want to have to double post in two places on FB), I didn't add any friends to it, and only used it to interact in my Street Team FB Group and during FB events like book release parties.
Separately, I have a private FB profile under my married name where I post pics of my kid, etc, for the relatives. That profile is hidden and there are no cross-over friends.
Here's what happened:
On May 21st 2015 (as I write this is the 28th, and the problem just got resolved a few hours ago), I participated in a FB party using my Shoshanna Evers profile. I've done that before. This time, I decided to message the 4 winners to make sure they knew to email me for their prizes. BAD MOVE!! That flagged FB, because I was messaging people who weren't my "friends."
So don't ever message someone who isn't a "friend" from your profile, because that will get you flagged! Good to know, right? Fortunately I have made all the mistakes this week so you don't have to! ;)
The next day when I went to log in, I got a message saying my account access has been locked until I "verify my identity."
Silly me, at first I was happy. Yay, they're going to give me a blue check mark just like Twitter did, right? NOPE. I sent them what I had sent Twitter - a pic of a contract that showed I was (legal/birth name) writing as Shoshanna Evers along with my driver's license showing I am my legal name.
Denied. So I end up going back and forth, sending a total of eleven documents (including my Idaho DBA, a royalty statement, a screen shot of my access into my own official website, a screen shot of a Tweet to FB from my Verified Twitter account, etc) all verifying that I am really Shoshanna Evers, and that it's really me running the profile and Page - unlike, for example, the Shoshanna Evers page that I *don't* run, which I also linked to.
Every step of the way, a new person contacted me to tell me no. It took me a very long time to realize that no one was actually looking at my past emails or documents - each time they denied me and said I have to verify my legal name is Shoshanna Evers.
I quoted their own help site stating that it has to be your "authentic name" - not LEGAL name - but the name you are known as in real life and online - if you've ever met me, you know I introduce myself as Shoshanna Evers. I reminded them that since October of 2014 their "legal name" policy changed to "authentic name" because they had a lot of backlash from drag queens who were forced to out themselves using their legal male names.
No one listened. No one cared. It was like encountering a steady stream of brick walls, each one entirely new and with no knowledge of all the links and pics I'd sent.
Then, some jerk at FB closed my support ticket (and I'm thinking, "hey, we're not done here!") and worst of all, changed my Shoshanna Evers profile name to my married name. I couldn't even get into my account to deactivate it! He totally doxed me and put my married, private name out to all the FB groups I am a part of. I got a screen shot and a confused email from another author asking why my name had changed, but she couldn't click it because the profile was gone. Fun, right?
Here's how I finally fixed the problem:
- I reopened the case.
- I recognized I would need to send them ONE image that contained:
- 1. a screenshot of their own help page stating what forms of ID are acceptable
- 2. Circled the forms of ID I was giving them (two from Option 2)
- 3. The forms of ID on that same image, right there, with the circled form of ID pasted above each one. (I used the free program Paint and used "Paste From" to add the pics I needed, in case you aren't sure how to make several images into one easily)
In other words, I made it impossible for anyone looking at that one image to deny me access. And I got it back. *throws confetti*
What forms of ID did I use?
An employee identification card - fortunately, as CEO of my company, I issued an immediate directive that all four employees could have ID cards on request, and I requested one. Ta da!
The other was membership in a professional organization - RWA. I am attaching the image I sent them so you can see what finally worked. And since I doubt I am the first or last author this is going to happen to, I am blogging about this as well. When I was searching online to find out how to fix the problem, all I found were people who were flagged for using their actual legal names because their legal names sounded "fake" to someone at Facebook. *rolls eyes*
Hope that helps you - oh, and another form of ID you can get now in case you have a problem in the future is to save mail sent to your pen name and take a pic of it.
Shoshanna, who is glad to be back on Facebook!