Home » Social Media » Using Author Pen Names on Facebook – and Getting Locked Out!

Using Author Pen Names on Facebook – and Getting Locked Out!

30 May 2015

From author Shoshanna Evers:

Boy do I have a story to tell – and fortunately, the solution that finally worked to get my Facebook access back after they locked my access to both my profile and Page due to my not using my “real name.” 

(Shoshanna Evers has been my pen name since 2009, which makes it legally my real name in 46 states just by the fact that I use it everywhere – and I have an Idaho-state DBA (doing business as) Shoshanna Evers).

I had a Shoshanna Evers profile from 2010 that was converted into a “Like Page” when I couldn’t add more friends. For a couple years I just had that Page, and no profile attached.

Then, FB made me create a profile to attach to the Page. So I created a Shoshanna Evers profile. I hid the profile in searches so only my Like Page would come up (I don’t want to have to double post in two places on FB), I didn’t add any friends to it, and only used it to interact in my Street Team FB Group and during FB events like book release parties.

. . . .

On May 21st 2015 (as I write this is the 28th, and the problem just got resolved a few hours ago), I participated in a FB party using my Shoshanna Evers profile. I’ve done that before. This time, I decided to message the 4 winners to make sure they knew to email me for their prizes. BAD MOVE!! That flagged FB, because I was messaging people who weren’t my “friends.”

So don’t ever message someone who isn’t a “friend” from your profile, because that will get you flagged! Good to know, right? Fortunately I have made all the mistakes this week so you don’t have to! 😉

The next day when I went to log in, I got a message saying my account access has been locked until I “verify my identity.”

Silly me, at first I was happy. Yay, they’re going to give me a blue check mark just like Twitter did, right? NOPE. I sent them what I had sent Twitter – a pic of a contract that showed I was (legal/birth name) writing as Shoshanna Evers along with my driver’s license showing I am my legal name.

Denied. So I end up going back and forth, sending a total of eleven documents (including my Idaho DBA, a royalty statement, a screen shot of my access into my own official website, a screen shot of a Tweet to FB from my Verified Twitter account, etc) all verifying that I am really Shoshanna Evers, and that it’s really me running the profile and Page – unlike, for example, the Shoshanna Evers page that I *don’t* run, which I also linked to.

Every step of the way, a new person contacted me to tell me no. It took me a very long time to realize that no one was actually looking at my past emails or documents – each time they denied me and said I have to verify my legal name is Shoshanna Evers.

. . . .

Then, some jerk at FB closed my support ticket (and I’m thinking, “hey, we’re not done here!”) and worst of all, changed my Shoshanna Evers profile name to my married name. I couldn’t even get into my account to deactivate it! He totally doxed me and put my married, private name out to all the FB groups I am a part of. I got a screen shot and a confused email from another author asking why my name had changed, but she couldn’t click it because the profile was gone. Fun, right?

Link to the rest at The Writer’s Challenge and thanks to PD for the tip.

Here’s a link to Shoshanna Evers’ books

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42 Comments to “Using Author Pen Names on Facebook – and Getting Locked Out!”

  1. Which is why I don’t use my facebonk account — too few know the name under the ‘handle’ and fackbonk demands real name.

    I did set up a facebonk account when a google search brought up a hit for something I still had ‘in work’ (which can be accessed from a couple groups — but I’d never bothered with facebonk. Turned out to just be someone mentioning that I was still working on it, but there was no way of knowing that without signing up for the silly thing.)

    If facebonk wants me to actually use it — it will be on my terms — like using the name/title/handle I want …

    (Sorry for the rant, but you’re not the first to have this happen to you.)

  2. Because Facebook is still just a drunken party run by a thousand fifteen year olds who happen to have coding skills. 🙂


  3. I am so glad I’m not on Facebook anymore.

  4. Back when I was still big into anime (I’m still somewhat of a fan, but I haven’t found a new series I liked in years, all of my old favorites have ended, and I’ve long since abandoned the anime convention scene), I knew a guy who had legally changed his name to Megazone (one word, no last name). IIRC, Facebook tried this kind of thing with him, but he appealed and produced documents proving Megazone was his legal name, and they reversed their decision. I think their bots still suspend his account on occasion, but all it takes if a quick email for him to remind the powers-that-be at Facebook that he is who he says he is and they fix it.

    That said, Facebook’s insistance on true names is ridiculous. I keep hoping something comes out to replace it as a social networking tool (no, Twitter is something different and doesn’t work as a substitute, Google Plus is a joke, and Ello… well, it’s been in beta so long I’ve just about given up on it, but it isn’t a suitable replacement yet).

    When I think of Facebook, I think of that oft-repeated line from that Kevin Sorbo sci-fi vehicle, Andromeda (substituting in “social networking” for “faster than light”): “It isn’t the best way to go faster than light; it’s just the only way.”

  5. I closed my author, i.e., pen name, FB account years ago. Boy am I glad I did. Many, if not most, romance authors use pen names for many reasons. Not only do indie authors have FB accounts under pen names, most trad pubs and literary agents encourage authors to open FB accounts under pen names. So her experience is a lesson to the rest of us. Valuable.

    • I am not giving them free access to all of my real information so they can data mine. When they decide to ban my account I won’t bother.

      Only one of my pen names has an account the rest are doing FINE without a FB account.

      • I have actually been much happier without FB. Didn’t impact my sales in the slightest and I am not missing the constant barrage of email spammy-type stuff FB insisted upon sending. Breaking up wasn’t hard to do at all.

        • I’m off it as well Julia, going on 2 years. I’m not releasing my first books until later this summer but even as a social tool I found FB wanting. I have an email list of my friends for social stuff, I also have a telephone (land line! Gasp!).

          I started a little website where I talk about books and movies and writing and what not. That will serve as my home base for all things having to do with my pen name.

          I wish I could write under my real name and so avoid many of these issues. My stories are pretty tame but my other job is in law, an image heavy profession. Best not to have the two worlds intersect, or so I figure.

      • Patricia Sierra

        I’m like you — not giving up my personal info. I have an account that I use just to follow five friends. I don’t post.

        A friend was suspended recently for liking too many posts. That seemed a tad crazy to me.

  6. Just a way to extract more and more information from people. It’s Facebook, ffs! Who exactly do they think they are asking for verification?

    Yep, never signing up to this site again. The sooner it goes the way of Myspace, the better.

  7. I actually have three facebook accounts. One for my real name, which I almost never use, one I use as a group, which I use a little more than my real name account, and the one for my pen name, which has a my pen name page, which I use a little more regularly. Anyway, if FB demanded from me a verification, I would show them a middle finger. If they want to they can close all of my account, because there’s no way I’m giving them any information beyond my name.

    • I have two. One for this pen name, one for my RL name. So far, FB has been very important for both.

      I’m planning to put my pen name on my German ID card as artist name. FB should accept that.

  8. I’m glad someone is commenting about this, and posting about it, too. This is the kind of thing that needs to go viral to put the Zuckerberg regime in their places. I’d like to see what would happen if EVERYONE on FB stopped using it for 48 hours in protest. That weak stock they already have wouldn’t have a chance.

    • Patricia Sierra

      I suspect Facebook demands real IDs because so many sites are demanding that those commenting use real names and sign in via their FB account. FB probably doesn’t want to lose that traffic.

      • It also helps them follow you across the Internet. Apparently, even when you sign out of the account, a little code is left behind reporting to the lil’ Zuckerberg on what you’re doing. So wash your hands after closing the browser.

        • Use Chrome with ScriptBlock (can be used to block scripts, iframes, and plugins from any domain) and Ghostery (can be used to block widgets, trackers, analytics, etc. from any domain). You would be amazed how many trackers exist for Facebook on the vast majority of websites on the internet.

          Not this one, thank goodness. All hail Mr. PG. 🙂

  9. Thank you for sharing my post, Passive Guy! I hope other authors find it helpful!
    Edited to add: the way I was final able to fix it and get back on FB is detailed on my blog post PG linked to. PG, if you want to share that info on your site as well please feel free.

  10. Facebook is like the weather — everyone complains about it but no one does anything about it.

    I would love to see an alternative to Facebook out there. Don’t know enough about the logistics of it:

    How do you somehow balance freedom to communicate with others while weeding out the spam machines?

    How would they make enough revenue to support the site and keep it going?

    How do you make it easy for people to manage their “feeds” so they can control what they see and prioritize … and make it EASY so people can meaningfully control this? (Instead of Facebook’s deceptive practices of actively blocking the info you have already said you want to see while filling your feed with ad-crap they know you don’t want to see but bring in advertising dollars?)

    But the basic idea — let users have profiles, set different levels of access, let people freely communicate while giving users the ability to block those who are abusive, etc. has to be achievable.

    If only Reddit let people set up profiles, blogs, etc. that worked as personal homepages …

    • Heh, don’t forget the couple times they’ve made changes and dropped everyones’ settings so any private info suddenly became public! (which was why I didn’t do more than the very basics setting up the one account and don’t bother updating it …)

  11. FB changed my 5000 friend account to a “page” because I was using my account “differently than intended” or some such.

    In the process, they deleted all the comments I had made in every group I’m part of, deleted the events I had created, locked me out of the group I had created, and who knows what else…..

    So I went from having 5000 people to choose from to invite to my events to hoping people will notice my page……or pay to get more eyes.

    Then I watched this video and it confirmed some suspicions I had (based on limited experience with paying FB for traction) https://youtu.be/oVfHeWTKjag

    FB, “no better option” is the best praise I can muster…

  12. Wow. That video in the link is amazing. I have an account under my real name and then a business page under my pen name. I dislike that I can’t send out a message on my pen name without it going to my friends, who don’t need to see my promotions. It is a flawed system.

    Ironically, some authors claim they’re doing well with Facebook ads to get email sign ups and to sell books. I don’t know. I tried an ad or two to promote a book, but didn’t know what I was doing. And the ad did nothing for me.

  13. FB spammed my time line for weeks trying to get me to pay for running an ad. They even, ever so helpfully, provided a proposed ad for me. Finally, as much to shut them up as anything, I agreed to pay for their proposed ad to run for two weeks.

    The next day I got a message from FB. They said they would not run my ad, the one they had provided to me, because ‘it does not meet Facebook standards.’

    Nothing those smug, arrogant little jerks do will ever surprise me again…

  14. I got rid of my Facebook for my author name (it’s my first name and middle name since at the time I was getting married and knew my last name would be changing.) Glad I never had to do anything like that. I did close a personal account and opened another. Funny thing though, FB doesn’t delete accounts completely. It’s still there and if I accidentally log in, everything reactivates. That really rubs me wrong. They should let people delete their profiles complete.y.

    • Yes, I recently “deleted” my author page when Facebook announced that they would no longer be supporting such pages unless they were linked to a personal page.

      I did not have a personal page, only the author page. And I found there was no way to start a new personal page and then link my author page to it.

      So I deactivated the author page.

      I was annoyed to see (but not surprised) the message that popped up as I clicked the last of a series of “okay” buttons. It informed me that I could reactivate the page at any time by logging in to it again. Ugh!

      I have been enjoying the personal page, largely because I have been using it in a personal way to stay more closely connected to my amazing and wonderful and warm cousins.

      But every time I log in, I have to be careful to log into the personal page. Because the old deactivated author page is lying in wait on the pull-down tab to trap me if I slip. Feh!

      Long story to say: I AGREE WITH YOU! 😉

    • Deactivate and delete are two different things on Facebook. When you deactivate, you can sign in again-no matter how long you are away and everything pops up again. Deleting takes a few more steps and everything is swept away–supposedly. They might still have things stored somewhere but it’s gone for you. Sounds as if you did profile deactivation not profile deletion, maybe?

  15. Speaking of dead bodies . . .

    Ice is up at The Log of the Antares.

    Find an Easter Egg and win a prize.

  16. I’m about to start indie publishing under a pen name that I don’t want linked with my real name. Those of you doing the same and who have (or or used to have) a Facebook account for the pen name… is it worth it? The possibility of being shut down the way Shoshanna was, the tracking mentioned by Bill Peschel above — should I even bother doing FB?

    • YMMV as they say, so I won’t tell or suggest you not use facebonk.

      That said, if you ‘do’ use it, never cross your accounts — don’t address someone not known by the account you’re using, that’s how this mess started.
      (and as you saw, it can be a fight to get things cleaned up — including them changing your pen name to your real name on the pen account!)
      If you think it’s worth the risks, have fun! 😉

    • My suggestion is to hire someone to run a Page for you. There are lots of social media companies out there that can do that for you (they handle multiple businesses) and then you don’t even have to open an account.

      • Interesting, I will definitely look into the Page option. Thanks to both of you for your replies.

  17. My experience of the web has been Facebook-less since May 2010. Not only did I delete my account at that time, but I blocked them using the nanny software on my router.

    This is what I’ve learned since:
    * I knew FB tracked you even if you weren’t logged in to FB. What I didn’t know was how much they slow down web page loading. Lots of popular news sites that try to make a point of being social media friendly sped up quite a lot.
    * Anyone trying to get a message out doesn’t use FB alone if they care about the message. I do know some indie film-makers who use FB for everything, but most everyone else uses a variety of tools. If you can’t communicate one way, use another way.
    * Your real friends will stay in touch with you other ways.
    * Everyone is on FB because “everyone is on FB”. *No-one* seems to like the site.

    I quit because the UI annoyed me so much, and because I was actually having a hard time finding information on it. I work in software development and used to test web sites — not exactly a Luddite. The privacy stuff was just the last nail in the coffin.

    FB is relying upon saturation and apathy to retain users. The value-add for users had been going downhill for some time. And while they love to publish their usage numbers, I seem to meet more and more people who just use it minimally and without enthusiasm — or who have quit it altogether.

    So no, in my limited experience, that doesn’t sound like a good environment for discoverability.

  18. I’ve had my moments with Facebook – just like everyone else.

    Originally there was no way for FB to make money the way it was set up. Now they are changing the software so they can make LOT’S of money.

  19. You know, I’ve been telling my friends on Facebook for two years now not to open accounts under their pen names because FB doesn’t allow it. I know it’s stupid (the FB policy is TOTALLY stupid) but that’s the TOS they sign when they get an account. I know several people who lost their accounts and cried foul when, really, they knew they were violating the TOS from the get-go. I’m glad Ms. Evers got back her account because I truly hope this policy changes in the future, but everyone else BE WARNED. Facebook and Zuckerman are not likely to bend on this issue for several years. If you still want to do business on FB in the meantime, close up ranks.

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