Well Played, Facebook!

Jan 6, 2016 | Social Media

That didn’t take long. Yesterday, I wrote about how we all needed to be more thoughtful about our use of social media and stop scapegoating sites like Facebook for our human failings and disappointments. Even before the post went live, this morning, Facebook flagged my PC as being “possibly infected with malware” and tried to force me to download Kaspersky and run a scan before allowing me to log in:


There are just a couple of problems with that:

  • I run pretty decent antivirus/antimalware/firewall software and pay to keep it up to date. I got nothin’.
  • IF my PC were infected, why would I trust the site that tells me about it to provide an app to scan and clean it for me? See http://www.scambusters.org/fakeantivirus.html for one example of why you shouldn’t do this.

I’d started to do this, anyway – I mean, Kaspersky seems reputable enough, and the URLs seemed legit, but… I figured it wouldn’t hurt to check around before mindlessly agreeing to anything. So, with the little reminder about how such files downloaded from shady places like Facebook can be harmful to my computer, I clicked the Discard button.

Facebook claims they’ve “saved” millions of people from malware with this approach. I suspect they just count everyone they flagged – whether it was a false positive or not. I am not one of the “saved.” After finding plenty of evidence that there were as many false positives and annoyances connected with this new(ish) Facebook “feature,” I backed on out – then deleted cache and cookies and logged back into my Facebook account without any issues.

I left them a not very charitable note. Unfortunately, I also mentioned my workaround.

As of this morning, they’ve blocked me from posting any links. (I could still post a photo of my middle finger and the words “Love you, Mark Z!” if I were feeling nasty, but no links.) I may be able to share others’s posts, including the ones of a questionable nature – apparently, nudity, hate speech, unvetted hystrionics, and the like are still not verboten.


And it’s not just the supposedly infested PC, of course – now it’s personal, and affects two PCs running different operating systems and different antivirus programs and my phone (running a third OS and different antimalware app):


Revenge for my suggesting that their security team was stupid and hitting the expired holiday eggnog too hard? (Seriously, I said that – but given the things Facebook says “Don’t violate our community standards” and suggests the rest of us just suck up and deal with, I don’t feel bad about it. I’m sure their security team isn’t comprised of people with below average IQs and I imagine if they HAD been hitting the old nog, they’d be in the lavatory now and not able to cause trouble in the first place!) I searched to see if maybe I could find a clue and whether I should be trying to muster an iota of contrition. I found only this:

How long will the block on my account last? Can it be lifted?

The block on your account could last between a few hours and a few days, depending on the situation. We can’t lift this block for any reason.

When the block is over, please slow down or stop this behavior (ex: send fewer messages each day, only tag people in photos they’re actually in). Otherwise, your account could be permanently disabled.

For more information on our policies, please review the Facebook Community Standards.

Come on, Facebook – the only “behavior” you could legitimately bitch about is my sending multiple support tickets, calling you stupid, and suggesting you were hitting the moldy eggnog. People do much worse than that, every day, and don’t get slapped for it. In fact, the rest of us get slapped – by you – for reporting them! (I suspect what really started the trouble was my sharing a picture of “hamdog.” Maimed and mutilated pitbulls, sick children being used for “Like” farming – no problem, right, Facebook? But laugh about “hamdog” and I’m going straight to Facebook jail. I see how you roll.)

Fine.  I’ll slow down with the support tickets and stop clicking the “no, your documentation’s not helpful, it sucks!” feedback when you lift the block, Facebook.

Oh, wait…you can’t do that. For any reason. Per your own rules. Hahahahaha. Stalemate.

What is it, a house-sized block of lead? What did I say yesterday about whining and ranting? Actually, I’m laughing. I’m not the least little bit angry about any of this. Social media makes trolls of us all, in the end. The whole thing is hysterically funny and they can just keep me in Facebook jail as long as they like. I’m reasonably sure that all my insults are going to a dead-letter box and being read by a robot. If there’s an actual human being reading one of six billion customer’s support tickets, I sincerely apologize if I’ve hurt a feeling I didn’t know you had. Really and truly.

I mean, it’s not as if you cared about my feelings when you sent me the refusal to “Verify” my author page and told me I wasn’t “notable enough” to be eligible, but no hard feelings.


No, I mean it: Thank you, Facebook, for keeping me humble. Just don’t try to backpedal with the whole “trying to be sure they were created by the people and organizations they represent” – I sent in a copy of my driver’s license. Mark Z. had better not be shopping on my Amazon account.

Does anyone else think that line about “This decision doesn’t limit your ability to grow and develop your page or profile” is a little condescending, under the circumstances?

Meanwhile, I’ll just play my Facebook Dissidents Protest Playlist (maybe make it longer and more obnoxious, now that I have more time on my hands – I should probably open it up and make it collaborative, judging by the number of people telling me they’ve also served time in the Facebook penalty box for no discernable reason) and I will rattle my tin cup against the bars as I sing along loudly and off-key.

Of course I’m not leaving Facebook (okay, after this, they may kick me off!) – but a little break, a trial separation, some time to focus on other things, will not come amiss. I’m thinking of establishing my blog as a French Enlightenment “salon.” All are welcome to come and discuss the issues of the day, even Zuckerburg – IF he sends me a copy of his driver’s license.

Holly Jahangiri

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.


  1. Mitch Mitchell

    LOL! Bit the hand and it bit back… no, that metaphor doesn’t quite work does it? Well… I’m not really sure what to say about this one. I thought about trying to post this link on my page but if they decided I couldn’t access my site because of it I might cry (okay, I wouldn’t cry but I might smack myself for my contempt…)

    Let’s hope it all gets resolved pretty quickly so you can get back to being snarky & going after conservatives. lol

    • HollyJahangiri

      Hahaha! Chicken. What are they gonna do? Lock us all out? 🙂 Was it MLK who said it wasn’t the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends, that hurt the most?

      • Mitch Mitchell

        I don’t think I need to remind you what happened to the good reverend do I? Nope, this isn’t the issue I’m willing to hoist my own petard on… at least not while I’m out of town (which I will be tomorrow)… that’s my excuse tonight anyway 😛

        • HollyJahangiri

          Okay, so you just turned tweaking noses into a sinister movie plot, there. Well played, Mitch.

          I’ll be in Dallas in a couple of weekends. If I’m gunned down there, blame Voldemort and start a movement.

  2. janice Wald

    Hi Holly,
    Happy New Year and great post!
    I will link to you when I write about Facebook.

    • HollyJahangiri

      Thanks, Janice! (You’re not afraid of being banned for life by association with me? 🙂 ) Happy New Year to you, too!

    • HollyJahangiri

      So are you for or against this “Free Basics” thing? Is it a good thing or a bad thing, do you think? I’m not sure I even understand all the issues. (A bit like “Net Neutrality” – my husband asked me, the other day, if I objected to my mobile provider granting faster streaming access to my cable provider, now that I can hook up to the living room DVR by phone, from anywhere, and watch my recorded shows. I’ll admit I’m still thinking that one through.)

  3. Patricia Stoltey

    Sometimes being blocked out of a social media account could turn into a blessing. I’d have at least an extra thirty minutes a day just from Facebook.

    • HollyJahangiri

      Yep, I’m not to broken up about it. Mind you, I’m still in. Just can’t post links. Any links, not just mine.

  4. robin khokhar

    Hi Holly,
    I think Facebook is already having access to many things They are knowing what sites we are using, what emails we are using and even what we are searching.
    And don’t know about the kaspersky but your post tells something important.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • HollyJahangiri

      Haha…they think they know so much. Trust me, they don’t. They know things most people would be shocked to think about, but they do not know everything about us. IF they did, they’d know my PC has no virus or malware on it. Who’s trolling whom? 🙂

      • Anon

        What. Firstly.. go log into Facebook ads. Then you can see a fraction of what Facebook knows about you and everyone else. Facebook has the best data of just about any social platform. They know everything about you. The only competitor as far as data mining is Google. They record every search you’ve ever made and profile you down to a science. They track you all around the Internet without you even knowing it. Ever been to a website with a youtube video embedded? You’re being track by flash cookies and probably have no idea how to clear them.

        To take things to the next level FB could get access to your local PC through a partnership with an AV like Kaspersky, not saying that’s definitely what they’re doing.. but it’s a very real possibility. I think they’re crooks and are forcing installs to make a fat commission.

        • HollyJahangiri

          Oh, I think if you’ve been paying any attention at all, you know how advertising cookies work and can delete those from your browsers, opt-out of the more reputable ones, and clean off the disreputable with a decent antivirus/antimalware program. This isn’t exactly news; those of us who got our GMail accounts in beta read the fine print, were aghast, and then went for it anyway. 🙂 If you consider all that “knowledge” in the aggregate, ain’t nobody got time for knowing you that well. (That probably comes as a real let down to many people, but a relief to most.) The MACHINES that run Google know you better than you know yourself, most likely.

          Now, there are stories from reputable sources that suggest that various government entities, in partnership with certain companies like Facebook, are doing a bit more… and if you ever believed for a second that wasn’t happening (or at least inevitable), then I respectfully suggest you were hopelessly naive about ever logging into a network that was at least partly designed by and funded by the government.

          I don’t know about you, but I’d like to think my government can keep up with other governments – or criminals – when it comes to technology, so as long as they’re not effing up my PC or trying to extort money from me or otherwise doing evil and nefarious things, I’m neither surprised nor horrified to think that they’re developing those CAPABILITIES, and perhaps even “practicing” on us. And while I dislike the notion of anyone “spying on me,” and think our government should not be doing that without at least having a warrant, I also don’t think I’m all that interesting – and really doubt they are. I think this was just an example of that sort of “practice” gone awry, and I think they’re being disingenuous claiming it was to “protect us all from nasty viruses” when more likely they ARE the nasty virus in this case. 🙂

        • HollyJahangiri

          They know what you tell them. They extrapolate. I’m a writer. If I were defined by my search history, I’d be answering a knock from those nice young men in their clean white coats in 3…2…1… Oh, ‘scuse me, someone’s at the door. 😉

          I specifically don’t use antivirus from Facebook’s partners; I do use something – and a couple of firewalls. These are not impenetrable, but anyone who’d go to the effort will be sorely disappointed by having spent the time to bother with me.

          But Facebook didn’t “force” an install. I refused, and I took the “punishment” of not being allowed to post for 5 days. I’m not exactly sure what the point of THAT was – just to see if I’d cave? (I’m really more concerned with FB’s psychological experimentation on us all. But now that we know they do it, everything we read and share there should be suspect, don’t you think? Unfortunately, to some, it’s still not.)

  5. HollyJahangiri

    I know what’s really got me peeved – I don’t care that I can’t post links to Facebook (it’s weird, but it’s forcing me to focus on other things, and that’s not at all bad!) – what’s making me righteously angry is the sheer hypocrisy. See this: https://www.facebook.com/TheJerusalemPost/videos/891624257625914/?pnref=story

    For the record, as far as I can tell, no one has reported any of my posts or photos for “violating community standards” and the reasons for the link ban are (presumably) as described in this post. BUT – having reported things in the past, and having seen Facebook’s completely inconsistent response, I do not doubt the claims in the Jerusalem Post’s video (above, in this comment). I’m not taking sides in the political conflict; I’m saying that both pages were equally reprehensible and the enforcement was blatantly one sided, and that’s not acceptable.

  6. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    Thank you, Ma’am. I didn’t realize I could (and should) periodically download my FB data and store it locally, even after friends have been locked out. I assume it makes it easier to restore?

    I just initiated it – I don’t have nearly as much stuff as you probably have, but those comments on my private groups take a while to write, and represent stuff I’d hate to lose (at least 1% of it, anyway).

    Very kind of you to share – and I’ll remember about cache and cookie cleaning out.

    I do try to stay away from drama – because I can’t handle it AND write, and I like writing.

    There are plenty of people who create drama, and many other who, like you, will take it on when necessary. They won’t miss me.

    But there’s always those little misunderstandings…

    Best to be prepared.

  7. satsuki

    Gosh, thank you so much for this. I did download the anti malware program but I didn’t install it yet.

    • HollyJahangiri

      You may end up in Facebook’s own version of “time out” for a week or so, if you don’t. But that wasn’t so bad! I’m glad I didn’t install their silly program.

  8. Obodo Charles

    Hi Holly,
    Facebook is becoming too manipulative for my liking, they have kind of become too powerful and wants to bully everybody to do their bidding, just recently their lawyers ordered a friend to pull down his website because it contains the word “Face” in the domain name, to me this sounds ridiculous. Hey, facebook please watch it!

    • HollyJahangiri

      Seriously? They cannot seriously claim to own rights to “face.” What was the whole domain name? If it was misleading and/or close, like Facenook or facelook, I could see them making a case.

  9. Ha Adolfo

    Thank you so much for writing this. We have suffered the same problem since May 14th, 2016. Tonight, we followed your instruction as how to “combat” with FB and got our nonprofit FB back, https://www.facebook.com/BasicNeedsFoundationInc/

    We found your site by reading Jack Yan page (his method did not work for us).

    Yes, we did everything that FB told us and installed all of the following software, but it did not resolve the issue:
    – Kaspersky scan
    – F-Secure scan
    – Trend Micro Scan
    – ESET scan
    – Microsoft security software

    and AVG per Jack Yan page.

    Then, we uninstalled all the above software, since none of them was working for us.

    Thank you again for helping us out.

  10. Petrus von Heericsson

    I have this problem too. Can’t acces my main profile.
    What can I do ?

    Please e-mail me ?

    • HollyJahangiri

      I outlined what worked for me, Petrus. If that doesn’t work, I have no idea what to do. Did you clear your browser cache and cookies? Restart?

      • Petrus von Heericsson

        Hi Holly

        I deleted cookies, emptied cache, REPLACED MY BROWSER, tried another browser, tried to log in with a Private Window, deleted Windows tempfiles… nothing helps.
        But from other PC’s, my friends can get into my account, if I give them the password. So they clearly have MY pc targeted, and MY PC has NO malware. Pretty sick behaviour by FB, obviously. They must have my IP address on some kind of blacklist, that’s all I can think of…

        • HollyJahangiri

          Sounds like it. When it happened to me, oddly enough, it also happened on my phone – so it was my account, not my PC. I’ve heard others say this, though, that family/friends could get into their account from a different PC. The problem, there, may be that FB has shut down your account to prevent such “odd behavior” (they temporarily do that to me when I add a new device or log in from an unexpected location – but then they just ask me a few security questions, because I have dual authentication set up they can also use a confirmation code from my phone, and they let me back in. So you may have two DIFFERENT problems at the same time – one, this malware nonsense – but two, something actually designed to protect YOU from hackers.

          • Petrus von Heericsson

            Haha found a solution.

            Use ADWcleaner (open source software) and all the other stuff, and it works !!

            At least, that’s what I think did the trick. Turns out I had a browser extention thingie I didn’t even know about. It had renamed itself to a Mozilla executable.

            Praise Scientific Method 🙂

          • HollyJahangiri

            I’m just glad you found a solution! Thanks for letting me know!

  11. Jay Carey

    I would say given Facebooks reputation in blocking anyone who happens to post content that goes against the agenda of control they are also providing the malware flag as a way to scan everyones computer which i personally see as a massive privacy violation.

    I know for a fact i have no malware on my system however i have been trying to convince the public to wake up to the reality that world war 3 with Russia is inevitable and thanks to the US and Mainstream media nobody even knows it is happening then bam! This FB message about possible malware.

    Thanks FB but no thanks. How the hell do i bypass this?

    • HollyJahangiri

      Hard to say. Did my refusal to download it actually bypass anything? Did it set a different sort of flag on my account? Was the five day suspension the only “slap on the wrist”resulting from all that? Does seem a very likely privacy violation. I’m not impressed with their”good intentions,” even if they had any, which I doubt.

  12. Jay Carey

    Update: The easiest way to bypass this annoyance is to use VMWare and install a virtual linux machine.

    Fb does not have a linux virus checker so it will just ask you to confirm that you have no malware and then you get your access back 🙂

    • HollyJahangiri

      Pretty sad, if that’s really the easiest way. But did you miss the part about them flashing multiple devices?

      • Jay Carey

        People may not be aware of this but Zuckerberg is Jay Rockerfellers grandson. FB was designed to extend the patriot act of snooping.

        • HollyJahangiri

          Do I look like I fell off a turnip truck? https://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/2geokf/mark_zuckerberg_is_jacob_greenberg_is_grandson_of/ It’s an old rumor, but I’m not convinced. (Snopes doesn’t even bother debunking it, and I’ve found not one shred of credible evidence. Not that it would matter much if he were… He could be the great great grandnephew of Hitler, and it wouldn’t mean much.) Now, as for him having reptilian DNA… 🙂 Well – bring me a picture of Z sleeping on a rock and I might dig deeper into whether Z is V.

  13. Betty

    It happened to me too. 3 PCs, 3 laptops, a tablet, & smartphone. Windows 7, various Linux, OS X, android, Firefox, Pale Moon, Chrome, & Opera. All of them rejected my login until I download & install their spyware from Trend Micro on my machine, saying I have a virus, no matter what machine, OS, or browser I used. I even tried to go mobile, & login through different ISPs with no luck. My account was targeted, not any particular machine or ISP.

    However I was able to login to my friend’s FB account, roommate’s FB account, & my company’s 2 FB accounts on all of the the same devices with no problem.

    But my account that demanded that I download & install Trend Micro is the only one where I’ll comment on something political, controversial, Snowden, or the NSA. At no time did I break the rules with something hateful, dirty, rageful, or with porn. I broke no TOS.

    It’s sneaky spyware that they install too. You can’t normally uninstall it. It’s not in your program files. It’s buried deep in your username app data files & your registry. It refuses permission for you access to it or to delete it. I booted into Linux to get at the files in the windows partition to delete them. I was also smart enough to create a system restore point before being forced to download & install their Trend Micro spyware to access my FB account. So after removing every trace of their software, I also did a system restore of from before I downloaded it.

    So if I did have a virus (but I know I didn’t), it would still be there. I was able to get back on FB with Trend Micro removed. In my Activity section of FB I see Trend Micro completed 96% of a scan to my machine without my knowledge & permission before I disabled & deleted it.

    If you use a lot of script blocking, ad blocking, & selectively deny or block some cookies, or use FB heavily, or post controversial & political stuff, you will be targeted for their spyware so they can track you, & inspect your computer. After they collect your personal data, & stuff from your machine, install spyware, they let you back in.

    • HollyJahangiri

      Verrry interesting, Betty. Almost wish they’d try again on mine, so I could have a security expert or two take a look at what’s going on. (Okay, no, don’t need that hassle – but I’d love to know what they’re really up to, over there.)

  14. rw

    What a useful article and equally useful, helpful comments.

    Facebook needs to be regulated like a utility so they can stop infantilizing users and doing whatever the hell they want to us. It’s not like you can just quit and go to the other FB.

    Like everyone else I can’t access my own account on my desktop but can go to anyone else’s account. BUT, unlike everyone else I also was told I violated content rules and would be suspended for 24 hours. All I had posted was pictures from two years ago of my mother-in-law to acknowledge the anniversary of her passing. The restriction came with an email warning me I wouldn’t be able to post but I could do anything I wanted– so long as it was on ANY other device than my desktop computer.

    I guess I will delete my history and cookies and try all the steps described here but I will not be downloading their crappy force fed malware detector. I prefer to trust the 4 scans I already ran showing a completely clean machine. I can’t tell you how much I hate hate hate hate FB.

    • HollyJahangiri

      I didn’t get any such warning; I was able to get back in after deleting cache (not history) and cookies, but was unable to post links to anything for about 5 days. I was willing to be in FB purgatory for a week – plenty of others posted on my behalf, and we all got a good laugh over it. I kind of harassed Twitter on Facebook, and pointed out to their supposed security partners how bad and stupid it made them ALL look, and they all pretty much just ignored me.

      And of course we could all quit Facebook. I did. For a whole month (in protest against their refusal to enforce community standards after I, and about ten friends, reported very graphic illustrations of child pornography and got back the canned, “This does not violate our community standards” reply). I finally figured, though, that if the Pope doesn’t quit the world just because so many of the people in it are utterly evil, our quitting Facebook as some sort of protest isn’t hurting BAD people at all. Staying is the only way to change it and make it less of a toxic stew.

    • HollyJahangiri

      Just out of curiosity, why do we keep using Facebook if we “hate, hate, hate, hate, hate” it?

  15. HollyJahangiri

    Comments are closed here, but jump on over to A Fresh Perspective and join in the conversation.

  16. HollyJahangiri

    I don’t know about “smarter,” but warier? Less desperate to access my account? More instantaneously annoyed? Had more faith in my chosen (and paid for) antivirus program?

  17. HollyJahangiri

    That’s really not what I said… but go check out Janice’s blog, anyway.



  1. Facebook forced me to download their anti-malware, and my own antivirus gets knocked out « Jack Yan: the Persuader Blog -
    […] did a few days later. She was smarter than me: she didn’t download the anti-malware malware. Have a read…
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    […] Facebook makes sure using their site doesn’t put malware on your computer according to blogger Holly Jahangiri. […]

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