A Story of two Ransoms: The Dark Side of FaceBook and Bitcoins
First, it was WannaCry. To be fair, I had my own doubts about BitCoins and other cryptocurrencies even before the havoc. In spite of all their benefits, those currencies seemed anarchical to me because of the distributed design and the absence of any regulator. It is quite well known that these currencies are widely used to launder money, buy and sell drugs, and do all sorts of illegal transactions because it’s simply impossible track the user’s information hidden behind the layers of encryption. And then WannaCry comes, encrypts files on your computers, and asks you to pay in BitCoins to restore them. Talk about a safer world! Enough has been written about WannaCry so I won’t delve into it here but you may find this CNET article useful.
Cryptocurrencies are not yet mainstream and they may never be if such instances make us question their real purpose. However, I’m more worried about the way something that’s already mainstream works and it’s scary!
FaceBook: Monopoly creating monopolies?
I am afraid that FaceBook has become too powerful and unempathetic towards its small customers. Since last two days, I am trying to put Facebook Promos for my passion project, www.remoteexplorers.com. All those promos have been disapproved by Facebook stating policy violation without giving any specifics. I am a risk manager, an admin of 40k strong community on Facebook, and I do content quality check for a Website that generates millions of pageviews a month. There is no way I can let any content get published that doesn’t fit into the policy. However, just to make sure, I have rechecked the content several times and haven’t found any violation. I’m not as worried about my promos being disapproved as I am with regards to Facebook’s attitude towards its small customers like me.
The ‘Our say’ attitude
When I contacted the customer care regarding my issue, I received following response:-
I have seen numerous ads for similar products and services running on FB and I was shocked to receive this. Thus I responded back stating my concern and I received following response:-
These are clearly not the words that any customer-centric company will use. Notice that they have not tried to explain why my promos were blocked and what was the reason for violation. Lack of transparency, isn’t it?
I kept on following up and sent them another irate message this morning and I haven’t got any response yet:-
Like it or not, Facebook is probably the most preferred platform for ads related to lifestyle products with over a billion people out there. Most of us use Facebook almost every day and I won’t deny that it helps me stay connected with my friends, find help from communities, and much more. However, be on the other side and it is acting like a dictator. To make it a truly great company and to justify its valuations, Facebook should start listening to their customers first. How will they? They don’t even have a support phone number listed for their customers!
Instead of having a phone number listed, they have this chatbot which must often be irritating already irate customers exponentially.
I am a technology enthusiast and open to change. However, I will never employ a half done bot to deal with an irate customer. The bot simply can not understand the emotion behind what the customer is saying. Here are some snippets of my romantic conversation with the bot:-
Ransom of different form
In a way, WannaCry and FaceBook’s attitude towards customers are similar. WannaCry Publishers want to extract money from you and are clear about it while Facebook has prohibited me from getting something that I deserve and am ready to pay for.
Don’t be evil, Facebook!