After three long and torturous days away from Facebook, I have my voice again. On Monday at 4:00 PM, I received an email from Facebook telling me that I had been a naughty boy: I shared a video that I did not have the rights to and the owner of said video did not like it and I was punished by having my account completely blocked for 72hours. Not only was I disallowed from posting or sharing as Bitchy Waiter, my own personal page was also blocked. I could not post, respond to messages or even click the like button. I felt like Ariel in The Little Mermaid when Ursula reaches into her throat and with her slimy, smokey, sea witchy hands and pulls out her voice box. I had been silenced.
The video in question was one that went up last week of a woman who was at Taco Bell trying to order french fries thinking she was in a Burger King. I shared the video after downloading it. I could have shared it from the page it was on, but I thought it would do better if I shared it directly from my own page. “Besides,” I thought. “It’s just a shaky ass cell phone video that someone posted onto YouTube. It’s not like it’s a highly produced Merchant Ivory period piece.” So I shared it.
When I got the notice that the video was being removed, I was totally fine with that. After all, it had been up for almost a week and I had forgotten all about it. But to learn that I had been blocked from Facebook for three days seemed a bit much. I immediately replied to the email, apologizing for the indiscretion and asked for them to reconsider the 36 hour jail time. No response. I wasn’t even allowed to use their stupid Facebook Messenger which they practically force us to use on our phones. Also, I went to see Hello, Dolly on Broadway Tuesday night and I wasn’t allowed to check in or post a photo of the Playbill. The horror! Three days of jail for sharing a video I “don’t have the rights to” is harsh punishment when you think of all the accusations that Facebook is dealing with when it comes to Russian meddling and the sharing of biased news items to sway the opinions of voters in the 2016 election. But, yeah, the video of the drunk girl at Taco Bell is the real issue, Facebook.
After 24 hours of being in Facebook jail, the one and only admin for the page realized he was still allowed to post. And by the way, the admin is not my husband as so many people assumed. Mark couldn’t give a rat’s ass about being the admin for the Bitchy Waiter page and would rather have a root canal than hear much about anything Bitchy Waiter related. The admin is my friend Ron who I have known since 1985 and trust completely. He posted a poll about sever super powers just to see if it would be allowed and it was. I then asked him to post about me being in a “time out” so that the followers of the page would understand the radio silence. That was on Tuesday evening and nothing else has gone up until now.
So, I’m back and have learned a valuable lesson: some people are going to report you to Facebook if you share something and it gets more of a response than it got when they originally posted it because they are jealous haters.
When I posted the video about he Applebee’s margarita, it got over 15 million views and countless shares. I saw that video everywhere: Twitter, People magazine, news outlets and all over Facebook. Some of them shared it from my page and some of them downloaded and shared it on their own. Did I report it? No, I didn’t because I knew it was just a shaky ass cell phone video that didn’t really have ownership other than by the person who originally sent it to me (and whose name will be a secret now and forever).
I will continue to do my best to bring laughter to those of us in the food and beverage industry. I will also try to shine a light on things wrong with our industry and make every effort to walk the thin line between brutal honesty and offensiveness. Facebook has been a great opportunity for me and I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me. However, they also have allowed me to amass almost 650K followers on my page, but only let my posts reach a fraction of them unless I am willing to pay. I will not do that. I don’t pay to boost posts and I don’t pay for new followers. I try to post interesting content that will grow the following organically and if Facebook wants to punish me for that, fine. I’m ready. (I will also take this opportunity to publicly apologize for the three Diply posts each week. I know a lot of you hate them, but I deserve to make a little bit of money on this crazy thing called Bitchy Waiter. You don’t have to click them, but I wish you would.)
Okay. Time to keep on bitching.