By Tim McGuinness, Ph.D., Chairman of SCARS

One of my activities as Chairman of the Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams [SCARS][www.AgainstRomanceScams.org] (ok, you can stop laughing now), is to help guide the organization towards the development of global awareness and standards that help protect the victims of these insidious worldwide crimes. We do this through our own efforts and groups around the globe that fight the daily battles online via the web and through social media. We do this through education, advocacy, and support of scam victims (which numbered 1,000,000 new victims in 2016 alone).

This is a large scale battle across many fronts, especially social media. We empower and support partnerships that has lead to the world’s first universal scam offender reporting system and website called www.Anyscam.com that is a component of a fully functional network where these reported offenders are distributed across the web to websites, social media empires, governments and law enforcement, and accessible to help potential victims identify scammers before it is too late and websites screen against known scammers and fakes. The reported scammers are communicated to social media such as Facebook, and others.

However, as we know in other advocacy and nonprofit arenas the specter of competition and jealousy can rear its head, and in social media can lead to internet troll campaigns by one petty group against another. Despite all of Facebook’s assertions to the contrary, they play into these Troll’s desires to destroy others perfectly. All it takes is a quantity of false complaints and Facebook is only too eager to delete legitimate user profiles without any due process or discussion, while at the same time largely remaining ambivalent toward real criminals reported to them using their platform to defraud real people around the world. Our organization has countless cases of reliably known scammers being reported to Facebook’s poorly trained decision makers only to have those criminal profiles ignored and allowed to continue their criminal behaviors. While the employees or staff of groups fighting scammers are deleted and removed from Facebook. Not only is this not fair, it is obviously not in Facebook’s own best interests.

In our opinion, this is negligence, complicity, and just plain stupid. But regardless of what it is, this is fundamentally harming Facebook as an environment and its billion plus subscribers. Facebook needs to reexamine some of its policies and the poor decisions it has been making. Businesses and organizations need to have their employees have separate profiles for their business or organizational use without exposing their personal profiles to the throngs of haters and Internet Trolls running rampant across social media. Companies and organizations should have the ability to inform Facebook of profiles it needs for its employees and members and have these recognized and protected. As it is, these would be deleted as fake profiles. If Facebook wants to be a business platform as well, it needs to better understand business and organizational needs.

More importantly, social media needs to better understand the methods and campaigns that trolls use to damage and destroy others and be able to differentiate these from legitimate reports of criminal or bad behavior. Facebook needs to reach out to organizations such as SCARS (www.AgainstRomanceScams.org) and others to remedy these abuses by others AND their own incompetent staff. If this is NOT done, then as amazing as Facebook and other social media is, they run the risk of becoming the next MySpace – a leader that stumbled and its public largely abandoned.

It is for these reasons that the Society declares Valentines Day February 14 as TURN OFF FACEBOOK DAY! Go and spend your time with real people in person or pick up the phone and have a conversation. We hope those of you reading this post will share it and help the Society spread the word. Let’s show Facebook that they are not our lives and that we CAN live without them, especially if they are just another problem to be avoided.

To the executives of Facebook we say that until you are willing to listen and correct your mistakes and abuses you will continue to support criminal behavior, and as much as you talk about cyber bullying, YOU are the largest cyber bully there is!

We hope to meet with the Federal Trade Commission in the next few months (that helped realign MySpace) to review the reality of what is happening on Facebook today, but it would be better to work together than throw stones. Maybe someone from Facebook will see this and extend a welcoming hand instead of the slaps they normally hand out!

Originally published on LinkedIn.