Facebook Unfriended Me

By Jason . . . Dear Facebook,

Winter break-ups are the hardest. It’s been four cold months since you broke up with me. I thought you might want to know I’m doing okay. Sure, at first, I’d find myself flicking my thumb up as if I were still able to scroll the feed. I’d stop, hoping nobody saw. But really, I’m okay. I can even laugh again. Remember that time we went to London in Farmville and everybody thought I was really going to London – ha ha. Yeah, we had good times.

You know how our relationship started. You pulled me in back in 2008 with the promise of reconnecting with old friends. Not all of them were online, but I managed to find a few, and we had some fun. We threw a few sheep and shared a poke once or twice.

Then, I had to leave you for a while when I was convicted of a sexual offense in 2010. My probation officer didn’t think it would be a good idea if I continued to hang out with you, so we had to go on a break. But we were on a break, Facebook. We were on a break.

I’m not going to lie. Those years were a little tough. When I heard a reference to “Ain’t nobody got time for that,” or “Gangnam style,” I could only pretend to know what was going on. I missed out on all those years of fake farming with “Farmville,” so I guess some cows just never got milked. I worried for a long time about my chickens. I’d shake off the lonely tumble weed visions. Facebook was good. Facebook wouldn’t let me down. Facebook played ping-pong at the office and had a relaxed dress code. Being on a break doesn’t mean forever. You’d wait for me.

In 2015, we were reunited. Wow, the world had changed in five years. Now, everyone was on Facebook. I reconnected with people I had known at various points in my life, and that made me feel happy. Sometimes when I checked my feed for the 29th time that day, you’d have a surprise video for me of photos I took earlier that weekend. Or you’d be there to remind me that it was mother’s birthday. It was good times.

Of course, when the 2016 election came, things were different. I formed stronger bonds with people who agreed with me and was shocked by those who didn’t. I stopped talking with a few and even had to block some friends. Facebook, you made it pretty easy to cut those people out.

Luckily, Facebook, you weren’t all about politics. You were a great communication tool. I administered a page for my synagogue. I used Facebook Live to generate excitement about events. I learned how to boost an ad to get more engagement. I posted about holidays and shared big news events.

I created a page for my college alumni association and posted some content there. I joined the discussion in an arthritis forum. I participated in my extended family’s discussion, coordinated a family reunion, and communicated with someone who became sick but stayed connected.  So, yeah, I was there for you. Using you and all your features. Showing anyone who’d look at all your slick new tricks. Less sheep and a lot more sophistication – that was my Facebook. We were really in it to win it this time. And it felt so good. First thing in the morning to the last like at night, you made a new millennia man out of me, Facebook.

So, all in all, you complemented my life. There may have been times when I spent too much time with you; I might have had to check in on the down-low once or twice a day. But I never meant to hurt you.

Then out of nowhere – bam – you break it off completely. October, 2018, you completely go Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on me. I’m gone. Just gone, like I never even existed. No good-bye or chance to pack up my things. You shut me out. But why?  Given you had access to everything I did while on Facebook, you know that I never, ever did anything inappropriate or even close to anti-social while with you. You didn’t feel the same. Some anonymous person decided to report that I had been convicted of a sexual offense. That’s it, you said. I violated your terms and conditions, so we’re done. We’re over. You didn’t give me a chance to explain. You didn’t want to hear what I had to say.

Time heals they say. A bit of distance and I can see you more clearly now. You’re such a hypocrite as you violate the public’s trust time and time again and then ask to be forgiven. You’ve hurt more people than I ever did. You knew me so well, you apparently sold my information to others for monetary gain and didn’t really safeguard my privacy. You weren’t as loyal to me as I was to you. I’m sure I could have forgiven you. You break my heart in two and when it heals it beats for you. I know if I had it all to do again, I’d go back to you.

It doesn’t matter that the state that convicted me said it was fine for me to use Facebook as long as I share with them my username. I did so willingly. You see, I’ve done the healing and have nothing to hide. You didn’t have to cut me off. You didn’t have to delete our memories.  Make it out like it never even happened and that we were nothing. For you, I’m just someone that you used to know.

You, Faceboook, have a lot of soul-searching to do. I now have to work a little harder to stay in touch with friends and family. I’ve missed a few birthdays, haven’t gotten to go canoeing on a friendiversary, but on the upside I have to spend less time on Snopes. From what I’ve heard, the synagogue page isn’t quite as strong, but there’s plenty of advertising platforms on the internet, or maybe you can just wait until someone picks up the slack. Whatever, Facebook. It was your choice.  I hope you sleep well at night knowing that you’re really not protecting anyone, you’re just hurting me AND the people who would like to “see” me on Facebook. Good luck to you, and if you want to talk, you can catch me on Twitter.

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Jason is a registrant in Connecticut. In addition to working in an unrelated field, Jason is the founder of endtheregistry.com, which launched in 2019 to offer support to registrants, their friends, and their families.

Viewing 11 reply threads
  • Author
    • #53190 Reply

      So does Facebook unfriend domestic violence offenders, drug dealers, gang members murderers who get released from prison? I suppose not!

    • #53196 Reply

      If FB wants to get all snooty…what about Myspace? Is that still a thing? Lol…enjoyed the article, thanks for the humor!

    • #53224 Reply

      Given the vast troves of personal information gleened and copied and stolen from FB, I’d say someone did registrants a favor by barring them. Very personal information that is what people feel the need to post. Great have at it but don’t complain when the same information is used to exploit you.

    • #53218 Reply

      Hello. I just read this article and sorry to hear this. Unless Federal Government makes it LAW that no website can ban any Sex Offender you are gonna run into individual websites doing so. If you still want a Facebook, do not use your Full Name or you can alter your name in some way to avoid them finding out. You will have to be very careful of who you add to your facebook and what you do to not be reported by anyone who knows your background. There are ways around Facebook’s ban on Sex Offenders if you use the site carefully and respectfully. For an example: If your name is John Doe, you can put Jon Doe or Johnn Doe, Jonn Doe, or in any alternate way but still be make it where people will know you who you want to be known. Just be careful. Try it and see. You can even Capitalize certain letters or something to make it different but really the same name. Just can’t put it exactly the same way as before. You can not bring negative attention to yourself because doing so just might make someone report you and cause them to investigate and end up with an banned account again. So give this a try since you now know they ban Sex Offenders. Just use common sense.

      • #53557 Reply

        Not true. After being unceremoniously removed from facebook existence I waited several months, and then opened an account under a completely different name and email. It took them 3 days, then boom it was gone just as quick. I have considered having another go at it, using a private VPN so the IP address is different, but I don’t know. I enjoyed talking to people I hadn’t seen in years, but I just don’t know if it is all worth it.

        The worst part of it for me, is I was just beginning to put together a business plan for developing facebook sites for businesses around me, and from what I was able to glean, would be making a fairly generous amount of money from doing it, but no one wants to have someone who doesn’t even have facebook to create their facebook, then that leads to the discussion of why I am not on facebook.

        Oh well, on to another day.

    • #53244 Reply

      You can add one to the list of people deleted out of existence. At first I did miss the connections, but with time I grew strong more real connections with people.

      Facebook among other companies, keeps, tracks and sells a wealth of data about individuals. They track you while you browse the internet via Facebook pixels. Anyone who wants more information can go down that osint hole. which is quite shocking. If you prefer to listen, Reply All a podcast, has a great episode “is facebook listening to me”.

      Ultimately what’s needed is a place for the nearly one million registered offenders to share their experience, strenth, and hope with the community.

    • #53267 Reply

      To tell you the truth, I don’t miss Facebook or any other social media site. I have been off probation now for over two and a half years and don’t miss all the BS that gets posted there.

    • #53268 Reply

      Or better yet, let’s ALL ( those of us legally allowed on the web) just keep opening Facebook accounts until all they are doing is blocking all the accounts!

    • #53327 Reply

      I correspond only with important national political figures and local political groups. Most times, information is ONLY posted on Facebook. If i am kicked off there will be a lawsuit.

    • #53608 Reply

      Lol, this was a fun read, but quite depressing if you really think about. Tinder and other dating apps don’t allow sex offenders to use their service either. It’s quite marginalizing, especially in today’s age where social media is so important for making connections.

    • #53750 Reply

      I think the worst part of this is not the fact that Facebook is basically forcing you into isolation, but that Facebook and Social Media Marketing is a huge deal. Considering how difficult if not impossible it is for SO’s to get jobs, this basically prevents them from ever becoming successful. You can’t own a company if you can’t have a company Facebook page (You need a person account to manage them). Not every SO is so loaded with money they can afford to pay someone to run it for them. In a day and age where the internet is such a big part of our lives, being blindly banned is a huge issue. It basically forces SO’s to stay behind while the rest of the world moves forward. The fact that it’s even stopping you from doing business and supporting yourself is extremely bad.

    • #54101 Reply

      I can’t name the case, but there is an argument before the Supreme Court that will decide if a private entity that has such broad public influence/importance has the right to censor/discriminate. A man sued National Public Radio claiming his conservative views were censored. The case being cited by the injured party is Marsh v. Alabama.

      In Marsh v. Alabama, a Jehovah’s witness was handing out religious pamphlets in a company town. The town gov’t told her that the sidewalks were privately owned and as such, she could NOT hand out religious pamphlets. She sued. Her case ended up at the Supreme Court of the U.S. The court ruled that even though the whole city was privately owned by the company, they still could NOT deny her the right to hand out religious pamphlets on their sidewalks.

      The reason I bring this up is because if the appellant wins, it could mean that Facebook would no longer be able to ban registrants from their services.

    • #54113 Reply

      In my home state, supervised registrants are still banished from social media across the board. The state is taking the posture that if a registrant is subjected to community supervision for life upon release from prison, said registrant is still serving their sentence, thus the ruling does not apply. The verbiage does seem to indicate the ruling mainly applies to those who have completed their sentences in their entirety. I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that a challenge could be brought because there is no guaranteed end to community supervision, so a registrant under that supervision could have their rights abridged until their death.

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