An Open Letter to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg, 

 

My name is Elmir Simov and I own 45 apartments in MA. I have been a landlord for over 26 years. 

There is a problem with your Marketplace feature – in order to save money you are relying too much on Artificial Intelligence computers and not enough on real people!

My access to the Facebook Marketplace was suddenly and without a warning removed by Facebook. I asked for a review twice but it’s been blocked for over a month now and I was just told it won’t be restored because I am “in violation of the Community Standards”, nothing more specific than that after two requests for a review like what exactly I was doing that might have been a violation of the community standards.

Like in a futuristic movie AI just blocked me – no warning, no prior notice, no 2nd chances, no customer support phones to call or emails, no name of a person sending the email about me being blocked permanently, no appeal possible…Meta’s annual net profits are more than $100,000,000,000. Why don’t you guys have any call centers to call or any live people who can respond to an email?

I had one apartment for rent, a kid’s bed, maybe a juicer, and an old oil boiler – nothing unusual, nothing in violation of anything. I have had the same language for the apartment for rent on other platforms like Zillow, Craigslist, Apartments.com for a decade without a problem.

I have no idea why I was banned but my guess is one or more people didn’t like that they could not qualify to rent my apartment due to bad credit and flagged my post out of spite which triggered your oversensitive AI.

This is not only happening to me. This Marketplace AI treatment issue is a common complaint against Facebook on the Internet. Your company has an average of about 2 out of 5 stars by tens of thousands of reviewers.

I have not been a big user of Facebook (in fact I only have one post in my personal account) because I am not a fan of the disturbing and graphic viral videos I am bombarded with and not a fan of the multiple levels and sub-levels of hidden menus and I have also not been a big user of your Marketplace.

I have been using Craigslist for many years but last year in March I decided to test your Marketplace and to place an ad for an apartment for rent. Almost immediately I started receiving reports from people that someone is possibly impersonating me asking prospective tenants to first ZellePay him $60 for an application processing, something that is illegal in MA. He was using the actual address of my apartment. I caught the guy. I pretended to be a prospective tenant and he texted me his real ZellePay phone number where he wanted me to send him the $60. Facebook did nothing about it. Then I filed a police report and emailed them the screenshots but the police never told me if they did anything. I filed with the MA Attorney General but after a month they informed me that their Criminal Bureau “will not be conducting a further review” of my complaint. 

In December I decided to give your Marketplace a 2nd chance and I got permanently banned by you. 

At this point I am so offended that I don’t care if you restore my access to the Marketplace because even if you do I won’t be using it from now on.

2024-04-01 UPDATE: Today Facebook suddenly unblocked my Marketplace account. I received a message from a robot saying “Thanks for letting us know about the issue you were experiencing. We’ve been able to fix the problem, and we’re sorry for any inconvenience in the meantime.” Again, no reply email or number included.

Really, Facebook?

In the meantime I was told that Bj Mccallum from Chicago, Illinois (a black guy with dreadlocks) was impersonating me on Marketplace advertising one of my already rented apartments with my language, the correct address, my pictures, etc. I was sent the screenshots earlier today by one of my tenants and I also personally saw the actual listing online once I was able to log in. I reported him and Facebook responded “we reviewed the profile you reported and found that it doesn’t go against our Community Standards.”

Ah, OK! Good to know that you not only refuse to provide customer service but are also clueless. But you know what, apparently a lot of young people don’t mind such an abuse and this business model is working for Facebook.

Who knows, maybe his fraudulent listing was reported by someone and somehow I was blocked.

Whatever!

Clearly Marketplace is not a good place to advertise apartments for rent because they allow too many impersonators and because they use AI to block people like me without any customer service. 

So they unblocked me. In return I logged in, deleted all my old listings and deleted the Facebook app from my phone. Never say never but I NEVER plan to use Marketplace, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger or any other Meta products.