An Open Letter to Sheryl Sandberg & Colleagues

Dear Facebook Executives,

I understand. You are busy people, not just photo icons on Linkedin but real human beings wrestling with technology, the pandemic, the impact of your remote workforce, and the heaviness of the role you play in our current social landscape and even economy. And so, I hate to ask, but I need a favor.

Like so many folks in my generation, I bought into all that Facebook promised. In fact, I would go so far as to say I am a model user. My usage is a veritable treasure trove of data. I did all that you ever asked. I put the app on my phone. I connected with old friends. I invited people to parties and events. I purchased after clicking on your ads. I left you open on my browser. I visited you multiple times throughout the day. I help manage my company’s Facebook page. I leaned in.

Like some kind of digital pupa, I shed the constraints of paper scrapbooking and eschewed my diary to use your platform to record important moments. Recorded in your archives is the history of my mother’s battle with West Nile Virus along with the date she victoriously came home after a 7-months in rehab attempting to regain independence. Believing you would never fail me, that date was entrusted to you. Old photos, birthdays, graduations, homages to a friend who took his own life, dance recitals, all meticulously recorded and commented upon. Memories of the day my husband had been with me more than without me in our lives and all the commentary from friends who may not have thought we would see that day. My brother’s battle with COVID-19 chronicled in your archives along with the day he left the ICU. You have it all.

For West Wing enthusiasts, you became my very own Dolores Landingham, reminding me about birthdays and events. Old posts became a looking glass into the past, recording moments of insight but just as often moments affording personal growth. And like Dolores looking at President Bartlett, your platform’s reminder of opportunities to do better propelled me forward to at times make different choices, write kinder things, and put more positive into the Universe.

While others criticized your role in our democracy, I stood fast that it was the user’s obligation to search out the truth even while my conscious questioned if perhaps, a little responsibility was on my own shoulders because I was unwilling to walk away. Through multiple format changes, like a friend’s bad haircut, I kept my opinions to myself and looked forward to our morning meet-up.

A few weeks ago, while having my morning tea and preparing to participate in my daily rituals, the New York Times Bee, scrolling through Facebook and eventually sojourning into headlines and my own eventual post. I received a text that my password had been changed. At 5:26 a.m., I watched as someone took over my beloved account. Words like helpless, violated, and vulnerable cannot even begin to convey my emotions that morning or since. And, because I was a believer, I turned to my trusted friend of more than 10 years and did everything you requested. I have reset my password, sent my photo ID, I have waited patiently for you to respond.

I hate to be whiny but I have missed a season of holiday greetings, the chance to revisit holidays past and to share my 10 Things, a yearly manifestation of all I have learned and all I need to work on. If it isn’t asking too much for all that I have shared to help drive up your ad revenues, could you please help me take back a decade of my life?

With hopes for a reunification with my past, lessons learned about relying on a single platform, and a renewed commitment to cybersecurity, I remain hopeful that I can once again be your user.

Respectfully,

Vicki Platke

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Vicki Platke

Vicki Platke

Human seeking justice and possibly Erma Bombeck in an