One of the rules I strive to live by, and consistently fail at, is to never underestimate human stupidity. If somebody responds to a news article or some reality show flub with “Nobody could really be that stupid”, my go-to response is that yes, they can. And yet I’m somehow still amazed on a consistent basis in spite of that.
Yep, this post is about Facebook.
When I signed up for Facebook, I did it using an e-mail address I pretty seldom check. There’s a reason for that: I don’t give two wet farts about what Facebook sends me. (Another reason is that I didn’t want any risk whatsoever of being looked up by e-mail.) I can’t tell you how many times I turned off e-mail notifications for various categories, which was an annoying and laborious process at the time. But recently, I logged into Facebook and received a message that my e-mail address was invalid. I tried to re-confirm it, but nothing worked at the time, so I shelved it for later—but I did find where they had a setting that sent me e-mails to tell me I had pending notifications, and disabled that so it would stop happening. Then I got the same message again today, and I can’t find any way to re-confirm.
The entire reason this happened was that I went on vacation. Nevermind that I’ve done this before and it hasn’t been a problem. This year, for whatever reason, Facebook sent me one of those “Hey, all kinds of notifications are waiting for you!” e-mails and I didn’t read it right away, which I wouldn’t have done even if I was here. And there weren’t even that many notifications—it was like seven. So I leave the country for five days (not even five full days), and this time they freak? At what point did Facebook become an obsessive girlfriend who needs to check up on me at all hours? My social network of choice (well, actually I was just coerced by my family) has turned into a cloying parody of a character I wrote.
I didn’t sign on to Facebook for four days. That’s it. I checked in on a Sunday, left Monday morning, came back Friday afternoon, and signed into Facebook that evening. It was less than 120 consecutive hours, more than 96, and in any case there’s no reason to flip out and decide after I don’t immediately respond to one e-mail (which, again, I wouldn’t have anyway because I hardly ever check the box) that my e-mail must be broken.
This level of stupid wouldn’t be so bad, but they keep confronting me with this box that says “Your e-mail is invalid.” And they give me a box to update it, and a big Update button. I re-enter the exact same address, because it’s not invalid at all, and they say there’s a problem and they can’t use that address. Yes, I get that you’ve flagged it as broken, guys. I’m saying it is valid, and the least you could do is offer me a way to confirm that and remove that stupid flag.
I sent in a bug report. The word “moronic” came up, because this is a multi-billion-dollar entity that ought to have their ducks in a row. I’m hostile to bad design, especially when a very large team of people is capable of fixing it and it’s not a difficult thing to take care of.