Trapped In A Soundproof Glass Jar….

get-unstuck-cat-ivins

Whether to write this blog or not has been preying on my mind for a day or so. Even now as I start to put pen to paper (yes, I write blog posts longhand first too!), I’m a tad on the anxious side.

As the risk of sounding melodramatic, I got a taste of one of the more negative aspects of social media usage over the past week and it’s rattled me a little.

For six days, I felt as though I’d been trapped in a soundproof glass jar. I could still see everything on my newsfeed and see my messages piling up. Friends could see me but I couldn’t reach out, couldn’t have my say. All I could do was watch and wait till the lid of the jar was opened.

I’ll tell this tale guardedly for reasons that will become apparent.

Apart from the day job and the indie author/blogger role, I also co-admin a social media fan page for a world famous rock star. My co-admin and I pride ourselves in the great working relationships we have with the various professional photographers whose work we share on a daily basis. The vast majority are great folk and appreciate the extra exposure their work gets through fan pages as long as their photos are left unaltered, the watermarks intact and that their ownership/copyright is acknowledged.

But, there’s always one…..

Let’s call them Mr X for the purposes of this tale.

Sometime around the middle of last week, Mr X had second thoughts about whether some photos should be in the public domain or not. (These photos are concert photographs and nothing graphic before your imagination runs away with you.) Instead of messaging the various fan pages, who have shared their work over the years and asking them if they would delete the posts, they reported the pages for copyright infringement to the social media host, who in turn identified the specific admin who had posted the original picture.

Cue a three day ban for yours truly. (I’m unsure who else among the admin community has been caught up in this at this point in time.)

The email I received to advise to of this said I should contact the person, Mr X, via email ( they included an email address for Mr X) to try to resolve the matter.

I duly emailed the address provided with a polite enquiry as to what had I done wrong. I got zero response.

Mr X is in contact with one of my fellow admins from a different fan page so I contacted  them via an alternative route and cautioned them to be careful around Mr X. They offered to try to mediate on my behalf.

Despite their best efforts, Mr X refused to see reason and they failed to get anywhere with them. I appreciated their efforts and thanked them for trying to assist.

Now, it may be co-incidence but then again……

The very next day I received a further seven emails advising me of fresh reports of copyright infringement that had been reported by Mr X. Again, as before, all the photos had been shared lawfully at the time of posting.

Cue a second three day ban and an extended stay in my soundproof glass jar. (It was already a pretty silent, lonely place.)

This second act smelled of spite and reeked of harassment.

Eventually, having trawled through various forums, I found a link to report  Mr X to the host site for victimisation.

And, it’s at this point, that it was brought home to me just how vulnerable social media can make people feel.

I completed the online form to report the matter, following the instructions and providing copies of the emails I’d received in lieu of the actual links to the photos  as these had already been removed by the host.

Almost instantly, I got  an auto-receipt advising me that they would review the information and get back to me.

I provided further background evidence to support the claim and was advised that I needed to send them links to the specific posts I was referencing.

Again, I replied advising that, as they had already deleted these ,I couldn’t provide the links but had provided copies of the relevant emails that quoted the posts’ details and ID numbers.

The response I received this time was an email saying that they couldn’t find the specific content that I was reporting and that I was to provide links to the posts in question.

Again, I replied advising that as they had already deleted the posts, I was unable to supply the links.

Their response? “We can’t support this type of request through this form.”

By this time, I’m growing frustrated and confused so I enquired about how I was meant to report bullying/harassment if not through the bullying/harassment process? I asked for my concerns to be escalated as a customer complaint to a manager.

Their response to this? An email advising me that it looked as though there was a temporary block on my account that was preventing me from using certain features.

Eh, you don’t say!

I took several deep breaths…ok , I swore a little….ok a lot… and emailed back asking if my concern had been read in full and escalated as I’d requested.

Reply – “we review reports carefully to make sure we take the correct action.”

Again, I asked for clarification as to whether my concern had been escalated or not.

Reply – “we review reports carefully to make sure we take the correct action.”

I emailed and asked for the email address to contact to lodge a formal complaint.

Response – they shut the case. End of…

Words fail me on how this is an acceptable way to address a report for bullying/harassment.

OK, in this instance it may seem as if I were complaining about something trivial and, I acknowledge in the grand scheme of things, it is. However, think for a moment if this had been a report about targeted, abusive comments about you or your friends or family or your child – would you not expect a more efficient service than this?

It’s blatantly obvious from the various repetitive auto-responses received over a two day period that this host has little regard for customer concerns and, sadly, would appear to think people are immediately guilty until proven innocent…oh, wait, you can’t prove you are innocent because the auto-responses tell you that you’ve used the wrong form!

There is no way round this. The bully wins!

Suddenly social media feels quite an anti-social place…..

To all the friends and family who thought I’d been ignoring them for the past week – I  humbly apologise.

To all my friends who celebrated birthdays and anniversaries- congratulations! I was thinking about you.

To all my friends who were celebrating successes and milestone events – congratulations! I was thinking about you too.

To those friends who were delivering more sombre news – I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you.

To my fellow fan page admins – Beware! Be very careful out there!

To the friends who reached out via other communications means – thank you. Your kind words made my glass jar penance less lonely.

To Mr X …. Well here’s hoping karma takes care of you in due course.

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

 

 

 

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2 responses to “Trapped In A Soundproof Glass Jar….

  1. Sorry to hear of both the nonsense from said photographer, and the disappointing response from the social media channel. Well done on highlighting the latter with this post. Hugs. xx

    Liked by 1 person

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