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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Blocked from Facebook

Yesterday I was in the midst of using Facebook. All of a sudden, I received a message saying that I could not post any more because my computer had malware. I had to download Facebook's anti-malware.

Your Computer Needs to Be Cleaned

It looks like your computer is being affected by malware. We’ll help you fix the problem to keep your account secure and prevent malware from spreading to friends.
Malware is software that tries to steal personal information and causes problems when you use Facebook. Clicking or sharing links that contain spam can give your computer malware.

I googled this message. I found many posters saying that they had received the same message, downloaded Facebook's anti-malware, and screwed up their computers thereby.

I also found messages from people saying that they had downloaded Facebook's anti-malware, and nothing changed. They still could not log on to their Facebook accounts, and they still received a message saying that their computer had malware.

So, I did not download Facebook's anti-malware. Rather, I ran Malwarebytes. Malwarebytes said I had no malware. I also ran a scan with my anti-virus package. Again, nothing found.

But Facebook would not let me log on.

I went to a different computer. At first, I was posting just fine. Then, suddenly, I received a message saying that I could not perform certain actions because my computer had malware.

Strangely, I could post messages and photos.

I could not, however, post links. I could not "tag" another Facebook user. I could not "share" a post.

I use Facebook enough that this was a matter of some import to me, so when my workday was over around five, I drove ten miles away and tried three different computers at a public library. In each case, I received a message that "your" computer and "this" computer has malware. Interestingly, at that same library, another user was using Facebook without any difficulty.

I drove further still, tried another computer, and got the same message.

I tried to contact someone at Facebook. I rapidly discovered that you can't contact someone at Facebook. It is, my google search informed me, impossible to contact a live person at Facebook.

Also, because of the block Facebook put up, I could not access Facebook's help page.

So, I am effectively barred from using Facebook.

I'd previously been banned for a short time for posting a photo of English soldier Lee Rigby in uniform and holding his adorable toddler son. It was a lovely father-son photo. Facebook found it offensive because it might offend Muslims. I wrote about that here.

I don't know if the bogus malware message is merely a glitch, or another way to keep people off of Facebook who say things that Mark Zuckerberg does not like. I generally reject conspiracy theories but one does wonder.

Since I can't access Facebook, I can't say goodbye to any of my Facebook friends. I can't delete my account. I can't do anything.
Thanks, Mark! Given that you are one of the richest men in the world, I can see why you can't afford to hire a few customer service representatives who'd address how you screw people over.


  1. WTF?! I wondered where you were. I wish I had a fix or workaround.

    1. Hi, Lyle, thank you.

      I googled this problem and discovered that others have had it and have been unable to solve it, so I think my presence on Facebook is history.

      it has been good interacting with you all.

  2. Some folks have sundry alias logins, due to various "infractions" like nudity or reporting trolls. Perhaps you could create a few.
    <> Sandy

    1. Hi, Sandy.

      Yes, I googled this problem -- Facebook falsely stating that they are blocking you because "this computer has malware" when in fact you are trying to log in from a variety of computers -- and I discovered that the people I read about were never able to access their pages again, and they had to create new pages in order to remain on Facebook.

      At this point I'm not sure I want to do that. Facebook blocked my access to my photos messages, friends, etc, instantaneously and arbitrarily. With no recourse.

      Right now Facebook is striking me as a very bad thing.

    2. I tend to go with the conspiracy theory. If you're using your name to log on at all those different computers, they may have you flagged. Just another way to censor the TRUTH! At least I have your phone number and address...Good Lord...don't tell me I'll have to write a real letter!! Kathy

  3. Replies
    1. Lyle I miss you, too. If you want to do something, go to the Facebook help page, which I cannot access, and report this.

  4. I sent in a report yesterday, and then looked at some of their suggested memos dealing with similar issues. (Along with the suggestions, their default response was that they wouldn't be responding to my report.) One of the memos said that it may take a few days for them to respond and fix the problem for a particular user.

    I don't get it. Maybe it really is a potential malware issue, and the system reacts automatically to protect other users. But at this point I am just as open to the possibility that it's Facebook shaking its corporate finger at those who get too big for their britches and start thinking too far out of the PC box.

    I miss you.

    1. Lyle I don't think my being blocked from facebook has any larger meaning than a computer glitch.

      If they had customer service representatives, I could contact someone, explain what is happening, and be reinstated.

      Zuckerberg could use dollar bills as toilet paper, and he can't hire CSR? He could be putting poor people to work.

      It's ridiculous.

      Anyway, I don't think there is anything I can do. I have tried about ten different computers in different public libraries and university campus, and none will allow me to log in. They all say "Your computer has malware." That message makes no sense. I'm on several different computers.

      Facebook wants me to download their anti malware program onto public computers. Public computer won't allow this.

      If you communicate with help, mention that. Many of us access Facebook through computers in libraries, school campuses, etc. Facebook demands that we make changes to public computers that we can't make.

  5. I just looked at some of their prefab memos again. The one that's the most hopeful says that blocks can last a few hours to a few days. It also says, "We can't lift it" which I take to mean that it's an automatic process.

    The whole thing is very odd. If it IS an automatic process to protect Facebook and users, I understand the need for a process, although not the clunky (nicest word I could think of) way they do it.

    If it's a finger-shaking warning, my polite response would include "fuck you" in some form.

  6. Also, you probably saw this:

    Why do I see a message telling me I have a virus? Why do I need to scan my computer?

    We detected suspicious patterns in the way your account was being used. These patterns suggest that you computer might be infected with malware.
    In order to keep both your account and the files on your computer secure, your computer needs to be scanned and cleaned. Since we partner with F-Secure and Trend Micro, you can do this for free by logging in with Facebook and following the on-screen directions.

    The software will scan your computer and try to isolate and delete any files that have been affected by malware. Learn more about F-Secure and Trend Micro.

    1. Lyle please understand that I cannot download Facebook's anti virus software onto the university and library computers I use. It's strictly not possible. Users of public computers are not allowed to download software onto public computers.

      Also please understand that the problem is not "my" computer. It's my account. I access facebook through public computers where other people are accessing facebook. It's the account, not the computer.