A two-step authentication process can't stem social media negativity

Charles Owens

To say that I am frustrated at times by Facebook would be an understatement. In fact, my love-hate relationship with the global social media giant that conquered the world hit a new level of discontent last month.

It was a week in mid May where everything that could go wrong at work did go wrong. It all began with me, and everyone else in the building, getting locked out of the Daily Telegraph’s official Facebook page. Yes, there was a day last month when I was unable to post anything to the newspaper’s Facebook page.

We, along with most newspapers across this great nation, add new stories to our social media platforms — specifically Facebook and Twitter — throughout the day, each and every day. I handle a lot of those weekday postings to Facebook and Twitter (although other staff members help out as well, particularly during the late evening hours and weekends).

On a good day, we try to post hyper local stories, including breaking news events here in the mountains. But we also post stories about West Virginia and Virginia, and of course national news events, including stories about President Donald Trump that are generally well received in our market.

However, on this particular day, we were not allowed to post anything to Facebook without first completing a new “two-step authentication process” required by the social media giant. Yes, apparently we had to prove that we are actually the “Bluefield Daily Telegraph.” Who knows. Maybe Russia is trying to hack us or something?

It all should have been simple enough, but once our IT department started looking into it, we were told that we had to link a cellphone and a cellphone app to the two-step authentication procedure. Well, one of the immediate problems with that was the fact that the bulk — and I would say about 95 percent of our updates — are done on a desktop (we use mostly Macintosh computers here at work) as opposed to cell phones.

Yet, here was Facebook saying we had to not only link a cellphone, but also a specific celphone app, in order to access our own Facebook page once again. Or, at least, that is how the IT folks explained it to me.

Long story short, we weren’t not able to use our own Facebook page until a good five or six hours later. And once I was reconnected to Facebook, we promptly got locked out again. Same problem as before.

Editor Samantha Perry was on vacation that week, so we had to communicate back and forth on our cellphones until the problem was — finally — solved. It all proved to be quite an unnecessary headache.

•••

Yes. It is a love-hate relationship with Facebook. What I hate is all of the negativity and anger on Facebook. Post a good story, and expect for a barrage of negative comments to follow. Take the King Coal Highway project as an example. What was the point of all of the hate about this project last month on Facebook? 

The King Coal Highway is a massive infrastructure improvement initiative for our region. It is a $60 million project. That’s huge. These are new dollars being invested in our region, and new construction jobs. Never mind the fact that we had to wait an excruciatingly long 10-years for the project to begin.

Folks, a new four-lane interstate corridor is being constructed near Bluefield. This $60 million contract creates a usable segment of the future Interstate 73/74/75 routing in Mercer County. A mountain is literally coming down so that we will no longer have a bridge to nowhere.

There is no reason to be so negative about the project. Yes, secondary roads need to be fixed, and they are being repaired all across southern West Virginia thanks to the passage of the “Roads to Prosperity” bond referendum that was approved by Mountain State voters back in 2018. So we are getting both our secondary roads fixed and a usable segment of the King Coal Highway in the process. What is there to be so negative and angry about?

Lighten up Facebook posters, please. Everything isn’t all bad.

Maybe one day I will go negative. Maybe one day I will unleash a barrage of angry comments on Facebook. Maybe. But probably not. That’s not me.

Honestly, I find the best policy is to be silent and to just let everyone else fight it out on Facebook. I’ll just sit back and keep reading all of the angry responses for now. Can’t we all just be happy online? 

Charles Owens is the Daily Telegraph’s assistant managing editor. Contact him at cowens@bdtonline. Follow him @BDTOwens.