Lessons Learned After I Was Facebook Hacked

I’ve loved Facebook ever since I gleefully made my profile account and started virtually reconnecting with friends and family eleven years ago. I love Facebook so much so that I started earning my living as a social media marketing professional in 2010. A lot has changed over the years in Facebook-land, but so much has stayed the same, including the threat of dreaded HACKERS.

I’ve assisted many many many clients over the years to recover their profiles or pages after being hacked. After all, I’m a Facebook professional. I can reach out through the Facebook support channels available to super-users and digital marketing strategists like myself and beat down enough doors until I get some help. I am an expert. I know what I’m doing….

And then, last week, the unthinkable happened. My profile was SO hacked. I coach clients/family/friends that it is really essential to enable two-factor authentication to minimally secure your account. If you haven’t done that, go do that now. Of course, I had enabled two-factor authentication for my profile, but last week, that was no match for my hacker.

I had also set up Trusted Contacts for my profile: friends connected to my profile that could send me a recovery code if I were ever locked out of my account. If you haven’t done that, go do that now.

Lesson #1: Once you are hacked, you are a NObody.

In the past, I’ve been able to access Business Support and rally on behalf of clients when their profiles or pages got hacked. However, when I was hacked, I no longer had that access. I figured out really quickly that I was no one. I asked my business partner to remove me from every client Business Manager, Page, Ad Account, Pixel…

Of course, I emailed every contact at Facebook in my email inbox… ever. Now, I realize this is a luxury that the average user does not have, but, don’t be jealous… it had zero impact on recovering my account. I realized at this point that I was all alone, so I went to Facebook Help.

Lesson #2: Hackers have infiltrated Facebook Help Community

Y’all…. THERE IS NO PHONE NUMBER TO FACEBOOK HELP. I know this. Yet, in my panic, I called that number because it was the most voted on post in the Facebook Community for getting help when your account is blocked. Those hackers on the line are super nice, but it’s obvious they aren’t in the US. Y’all…. FACEBOOK SUPPORT IS LOCTED IN THE UNITED STATES. I know this. I am a professional. Yet, I was in such a panic that it did not even occur to me… until the guy told me to go to the store and buy a Google Play card and put $100 on the card and give him the number so he could recover my profile. (Scam. Scam. Scam. Scam. – Do not ever ever ever do this!)

Have I mentioned that I am a professional? Well, in that moment, it sure did not feel like it. In that moment, I knew exactly how I had been hacked because a similar situation happened to a client of our with over 2 million followers in January (the hackers hijacked the page for two weeks before we could shut them down… posting porn, messaging fans with porn… it was a nightmare). Way back then, I learned Lesson #3… and even though I KNEW BETTER, I was hacked.

Lesson #3: Hackers use “Login with Facebook” to Hijack Your Profile

Back when our client was hacked several months ago, we learned through that harrowing experience (of being up 24/7 for two weeks straight to delete all the porn posts/messages on our client’s page) was that hackers these days can access your profile and wreak their havoc when you use the Facebook Login button to gain access to other websites. During that experience, our entire team went to our profiles and removed any app that was not completely necessary. We all removed dozens of apps from our profiles that we did not even remember were there.

I am personally a sucker for shopping ads… show me cute shoes for a great deal, and I’ll probably click on the ad. Well, that’s what I did a few days before I was hacked. Now I remember…. I wasn’t even thinking. Logging in with Facebook is just so easy….

Y’all…. don’t click that blue button if you know nothing about the site (#facepalm).

Now, how can you check to see what apps you have connected to your Facebook profile and remove all the sketchy ones? Just do this.

So, the whole reason for this post is to share my experience with those who don’t know any better.

There is a happy ending to my story because I was able to reach out to a former colleague who is also a friend who happens to know someone at Facebook who had mercy on me. Without that very inside track, I would have lost everything.

Hopefully, after reading this, you have learned from my mistake and will immediately go to your profile to enable two-factor authentication, set up your Trusted Contacts, remove any unnecessary apps from your profile, and, for the love, don’t go shopping on websites that require you to login to shop!