So, you fall in love with music. Then you fall in love with a particular style. Then you fall in love with a particular artist. And hell, you’ve always liked great writing and being able to share your musical passion with others.
Pursuing your passion, you set up a Facebook community to share that love and provide a place where like-minded folk can congregate online. There you build up a following, all discussing, sharing, entering giveaways, posting videos and favourite songs; essentially, doing all the cool and awesome things that music fans like to do in the online space.
And having spent years building up that community and providing and sharing quality content, what happens then?
Why, Facebook destroy your community in one fell swoop!
So found Michelle Evans, founder and owner of the Dear Ben Nichols Facebook community.
A page dedicated to all things Ben Nichols and Lucero, and often legitimately sharing music from other artists working in a similar vein, it had built up to a group of over 3,000 people discussing and engaging with what they loved the most; the music of Ben Nichols and his Lucero bandmates. Ben himself was involved with the gang and often shared their activity via his and Lucero’s own media outlets.
That the community had been set up as a Facebook profile in Facebook’s early days, as though it were a personal page. Contacting Evans, Facebook said they had noted that the profile had a registered first name of “Dear”, that this couldn’t possible be anyone’s first name, and that the details needed to be changed.
“They said it wasn’t my real name and that I had to change or remove it,” says Evans, matter of factly.
Not wanting to put the community that she had spent years building up in jeopardy, Evans looked to comply with Facebook’s sudden and surprising edict. She tried using Facebook’s tools to convert the “account” to a “page.” However, bizarrely, the tool wouldn’t let Evans make the change. At least, not unless she removed the “Dear” part of the community name.
WTF? If it was no longer an “account”, what difference does a “Dear” make? What’s in a name?
Everything it would seem.
Ultimately Evans managed to create a page on Facebook called “Dear Ben Nichols”, using the name that she had struck upon and that so many people had engaged with and become a part of. But the issue didn’t end there.
Facebook, in their wisdom, deleted Evans’ old page before she had an opportunity to send a message out to the community members telling them what was going on, and where they could find the new community page. She was left with a new page, with few members, and no real means of communicating with the thousands who had “liked” and helped build the old community.
“They deleted the entire original account without giving me a chance to message anyone, save it or download a backup,” says Evans. “Fortunately I’ve managed to set up the new page, but now I have to get the word out and build up those followers all over again.”
Years of hard work. Years! Wiped out by nefarious Facebook in a few moments, seemingly on a whim, and for bizarre reasons. Goodness knows, no-one wants to be duped by Facebook profiles purporting to be someone or something that they are not, but that was obviously not the case with the now deleted Dear Ben Nichols page.
So, along with Facebook’s reprehensible experiments involving the emotional manipulation of over half a million of their users, their mind-boggling feed algorithms that keep you from seeing the content of the pages that you’ve actively chosen to “like” and receive messages from (unless, of course, the page you’ve liked has paid to have it’s content promoted in your feed), you can now add the brazen and willful destruction of an online community who were doing nothing more than innocently and legitimately sharing their love of the arts on a social media site.
Michelle Evans is a music fan, social media consultant, writer and promoter based in Kentucky
You can find and “like” the brand new Dear Ben Nichols Facebook page here!
Find out more about Lucero and the actual Ben Nichols here!