Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Where is Facebook's Support Staff?

Let me start from the beginning, I work for Yoshitoshi Recordings, a DC-based record label that markets extensively using social media sites like MySpace, Twitter and Facebook. Recently one of our Grammy-winning artists logged into his Facebook account while touring in Europe and was locked out for security reasons. He was asked to flawlessly identify 8 photos of his 5,000 friends…er…fans. Obviously this is an impossible task so we contacted Facebook’s customer support team. We clicked the “Help” button in the lower right hand of the screen, we filled out an “error” report, we attached a screenshot, and then we waited. And waited. And waited…
After a week of missed messages, correspondences from friends and fans, and lost marketing opportunities we found Facebook’s phone number using Google. We pressed 1 for customer support and were told:
“Unfortunately we do not offer phone support at this time, answers to most user inquiries can be found at the help center by clicking on help at the bottom of any Facebook page. The help center includes information on the site’s functionality as well as contact forms for issues that require further support from Facebook. Thank you.”
So they don’t take support calls from users and they don’t answer support inquiries via e-mail but I thought surely at least one of the company’s 1,400 employees handles customer support so I started dialing extension numbers at random. Facebook’s phone system pre-screens callers by name before connecting them to an individual or their voicemail so I had to sound particularly desperate to convince anyone to pickup. It took about twenty tries; her name was Michelle and she informed me customer support was “not her department” and there was nothing she could do for me. She refused to transfer me anywhere and when asked if there was anyone at the company who conducts customer support via phone she stated simply “I don’t know. Not a lot of people here have phones.”
We’ve been locked out for almost a month without a single correspondence from Facebook’s support team. I’ve accepted there’s nothing we can do about it; other frustrated users on the web suggest it’s best to just abandon the account and move on. Public outcry on numerous web-boards show thousands of Facebook non-users are being impersonated by others online and, stifled by Facebook’s support team, their assumed identities continue to slander and defame them.
It’s easy for Facebook to hide behind their curtain while countless users flood their inbox with problems but someday they will have to hire a team that can support their user base. For myself and thousands of others I hope they do it soon.

Update: I sent this article to Facebook’s press team asking for a fact-check and our account was unlocked the next day. Unfortunately it has since been relocked, this time for malware, and we are effectively back at square-one.