• On Monday evening, Facebook users began claiming they were locked out of their accounts without reason
  • Countless tweets shared the same complaint that Facebook had locked users out of their accounts
  • Just hours before, Facebook Newsroom said in a tweet the company was updating their data access tools but it is unclear if the update is related

Facebook’s ability to keep the platform stable throughout the COVID-19 global pandemic has been disappointing at best. The first major issue that came after Facebook was removing articles from credible sources related to COVID-19. Just weeks later, Facebook users are being locked out of their accounts without any reason.

I was locked out of my account after sharing an article I wrote on Florida Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne being arrested for disobeying community guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Nothing about the article was incorrect and included statements from Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister. Needless to say, the article was far from what could meet the Facebook definition of “fake news.”

This is why I was surprised when I was prompted to prove I was not a bot by picking out images of a crosswalk. Next, I was prompted to enter the phone number linked to my account to receive a code through text to prove it was my account. After completing that, I was prompted to send in a selfie. After doing that, I was greeted by a pleasant message informing me that my account is temporarily gone.

Following the hopefully temporary loss of my account, I did what most people do and went to Twitter for answers. I quickly noticed I was not the only one having this problem. Over the last hour, Facebook users have begun flooding Twitter to ask why they are locked out of their accounts.

The angry tweets go on and on, and rightfully so. As of now, Facebook has yet to address the unwarranted shutting down of countless accounts. However, there is possibly a clue on the Facebook Newsroom Twitter account. On Monday afternoon the account tweeted, “Updating Our Data Access Tools.”

According to an article from Facebook included in the tweet, the update is to “extend the functionality of our self-service data access tools to help people access data in meaningful ways.” It is possible that through a glitch, instead of giving people easier access to their data, the social media company is mistakingly locking users out of their account. With social distancing being practiced across the globe, Facebook’s latest screwup could not have come at a worse time.

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