I mean, the timing, and everything?
First was released on Monday September 21st. I'd done some promotion on Facebook, with a couple of ads. If you haven't done these before, once you've submitted an ad, Facebook then checks it. They did refuse one, once. Said there was too much nudity in it. (Like I'd put out an ad like that..... the very thought!)
Anyhoo, once it's checked, they email you and tell you it's a go.
Tuesday 22nd... it's just gone 9pm in the UK, dinner is over and I'm waiting for a Skype call with Dirk Caber. I check my phone, and find Messenger has just logged me out. So has Facebook.
"What's wrong?" asks the hubby.
I tell him. THEN I tell him that the last two times this happened was when FB blocked me.
"What have you done?"
Dirk pops up on WhatsApp. "What's going on? All your parts of our FB Chat conversation have just disappeared."
I open up the laptop. There's a little box on FB telling me that someone has reported a link to Amazon. Not an image - a link. I start taking screenshots of everything - Jesse Jackman taught me well! Then they drop the bombshell - I'm blocked from posting for THIRTY DAYS.
You're kidding, right?
I Skype Dirk and tell him what's going on. I was not the calmest of people by this point. (If you know Dirk, just ask him...) Then the threeway conversation begins - I find I can message on FB, I just can't post or comment, so I have Jesse on Chat, who's talking to Dirk on his phone, who's talking to both of us... I send Jesse all the screenshots and info I have, which isn't a lot. What really p***** me off is that there seems to be no way to contact FB. Jesse starts putting together a post, bless him, while Dirk is doing his best to calm me down - the glass of wine helped, too.
Actually, he did pretty good.
The hubby walks in at this point and says hi to Dirk - he's sort of getting used to seeing him on my laptop - and then says, "Nice breasts, Dirk. I'm assuming it's your breasts that got the cover banned because there was certainly nothing else showing!"
Dirk laughs his ass off.
And that's what p***** me off most - Facebook's Community Standards regarding nudity, which apparently the cover of First contravenes:
"We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks. We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures and other art that depicts nude figures. Restrictions on the display of both nudity and sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless the content is posted for educational, humorous or satirical purposes. Explicit images of sexual intercourse are prohibited. Descriptions of sexual acts that go into vivid detail may also be removed."
So.... please, take a long, hard look at this cover and tell me exactly how it contravenes FB standards. Hmm?
Jesse wrote a wonderful post on FB and people used it to complain to FB - the only way to do this was to report a technical problem. His post went out on the 22nd, and people wrote immediately. To my knowledge, the first responses from FB arrived yesterday - October 2nd - and were an automatic response. In other words, no help at all.
The truly amazing thing that came out of all this?
Authors, readers, friends - there was such overwhelming support on FB that I was rendered speechless. (Yeah, it does happen occasionally :P ) People like Alexa Land who got people to post the link everywhere, in support. Friends who changed their profile pics to the cover, to show their support. Kristy Eichelberger, bless her, who has posted the blurb for First in at least twenty FB groups EVERY DAY since it happened. My wonderful group - Helena, Jason, Sue, Serena, Patricia, James, Bev, Debra, Lily, and sooooo many more of you - who shared links and reviews. Will Parkinson, who told people what had happened in the first place.
When someone in a group suggested that it could have been a wonderful bit of marketing on my part or the part of someone else, my fans stepped in to put him right. (I should stress he never once said that I did this, it was more of a 'what if...?' scenario) Jesse weighed in too and put my case forward - I'm still blushing at his sweet words - and then there were so many PMs that I think they caused a meltdown!
So where are we now?
I haven't been able to appeal. My only way to contact FB is to try to post something, whereupon I get the following message:
See the little bit that says, 'let us know'? I've used that four times so far, and yet not one word from FB. And as you can no doubt see, I have nineteen days and so many hours left.... SIGH. I'm trying not to be despondent - there is enough going on in my life right now without FB adding to it - but yes, there are times I get really frustrated. I am very thankful to those people who share posts / links / reviews for me. I AM still here, honest....
If you're one of the wonderful people who's supported me - THANK YOU! And please, keep right on doing it.
This is KC Wells, reporting to you from Facebook Jail, signing off.