Its been over a day since the bug has been fixed. All the affected accounts have been reinstated.
Yes! You read the title right. Sharing the photo of a cat in a suit (via a private message) is all it takes to get locked out of your Facebook account. I did not buy it, but a few screenshots later I realized it was totally true and set out to find what triggers the Facebook algorithm to flag accounts that share the image.
I tried some basic changes like changing the file name, removing exif data. The end result always remained the same. It was confirmed on 7 other accounts and none of the accounts have been re enabled yet.
Facebook’s support makes me cringe. There is no way to contact a real person with ease, the best you can do it search the help section and reach a form. The only form that was related to this situation has to be this:
Filling it up with relevant details for 3 accounts led to the same reply from Facebook:
Fine. Okay, maybe Facebook had a hidden form which needed to be filled. No. Facebook replied with a link that is broken!
It happened with every account that we tried on, while this shouldn’t be happening in the first place the support makes it even more worse. There are people who rely on the site for a number of things (luckily, I am not one among them) and in all honesty, reaching support shouldn’t be this difficult.
Ironically, the best place to contact a human rep from Facebook would be to reach out to them on Twitter !
We wanted to hear a response from Facebook over this, but sadly there is no email that is available via which we can reach out to them. Until then, If someone asks you to share a photo of a innocent looking cat wearing a suit, just don’t do it.
Few blogs have picked it up but have a misunderstanding that another blogger was the first to experience & report this issue. It is totally false & the sole purpose of this post being made was because no other site had covered it at the time writing. The bug has been around for over 2 weeks now.
Pro Tip: Learn to mention your sources!