Trying to recover your business after a Facebook and Instagram Hack 2022
September 15th, 2022 my personal Facebook account was hacked and it took down my linked business accounts @AlanaMcCarthyArt and @GeekyPet.
I received an email that at 5am someone had gained access to my personal account and posted “child sexual exploitation” which of course went against Facebook’s policies and instantly locked me out of my account. Because this account was linked to my two business pages, it locked me out of everything.
The hacker then proceeded to change the administrator of my two business pages - @GeekyPet and @AlanaMcCarthyArt, steal my credit card and rack up fraudulent ad charges around $300.
Meta - the new name of the umbrella company encompassing Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and MetaQuest is so incredibly unsupportive to small business owners. The process of filing a complaint is to fill out forms through their AI links, then wait, and eventually receive a form email circling you back to those same links.
Beyond frustrating and infuriating.
YEARS of hard work growing business audiences, posting reels and catering to the algorithm had been taken away in a second. At first I was in denial. This could be fixed. This was a mistake - it would be easy for anyone to see that obviously my account was hacked. I would never post child exploitation content. You could easily see I was a human.
I jumped through Meta’s AI-run hoops. Filled out the forms, but mainly just hung back, waited and tried to ignore the situation into fixing itself. My household had also just contracted COVID and I was too sick and exhausted to deal.
Every time I posted to my new accounts about the hack all the scammers would come crawling over. “Johnxyz fixed my account” “I tried everything until @rosalita6969 came along and unlocked my account.” Never give money to any of these people. They’re usually just affiliated with the hackers who broke into your account in the first place and no one can do more than what you’re doing on your own.
As of today November 9th, 2022, I’m still unable to access the accounts.
I spent hours and days trying to get the accounts back.
I finally stumbled on this blog by Johnny Africa that suggests to purchase a Facebook ad so you actually get to CHAT WITH A HUMAN.
This was a huge discovery. I paid $10 and got the chat option through the business manager.
But after chatting with about seven different humans, explaining my situation, sending them screenshots, personal ID and proving my identity over and over, it always ends up with me waiting to hear back around a week - only to be sent a form email with the same links to the “I’ve been hacked” help page.
<BANGING HEAD AGAINST DESK>
All of this has me questioning. Is it really worth it?
Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, is one of the largest and most successful companies out there yet they barely have any support for their customers who are responsible for their success.
It’s so frustrating and demoralizing to be made to run in circles. To have put in so much time and effort building on this platform to have it all taken away in a moment. But that is the risk you take putting content on a platform that isn’t your own. This is also a reason that I’m so interested in all that’s happening with blockchain technology and web3. It gives us the ability to own our digital content, whether it be art, music, or that weird meme you came up with.
On September 26th and I restarted all my accounts from the ground up. I feel like I have no choice. I’m still half-heartedly trying to regain access to my pages and instagrams in the background, but I don’t have high hopes.
The funny thing is that before this I was ready to move away from Instagram and Facebook. I was going to focus my efforts on TikTok as IG and FB just weren’t performing the way I wanted them to. However, this hack has hooked me back in. I’m a problem solver and now this is a problem that needs to be solved.
So where do I go from here? I really don’t know. I know I need more control over my information. I think maybe a pivot is needed. Maybe it’s finally time to focus on building up my audience, mailing list and spend less time worrying about social media that I don’t control. But how does one get the word out about anything they’re building without social media? I feel like I’m stuck in a loop.
I’m starting to focus a lot more of my marketing efforts on TikTok. The algorithm on TikTok favours good content and pushes it to the “For You” audience beyond your followers. I’m seeing much more reach and much better results. Where one post gets 20 views on IG and FB, the same post will reach a minimum of 200 people on TikTok.
Learn from my mistakes. If you don’t want to go through the same thing I did ensure that you have really strong passwords. My personal Facebook account had an old weak password that the hackers broke through quickly. Also enable 2FA or two factor authentication - where your account sends you a text or email when you try to log in.
Remember, if the platform is free then you’re the commodity, and a company as big as Meta really doesn’t give a crap about their individual users. Good luck out there and stay safe.
My new accounts - if you’d like to help me move on from this loss