How it all happened
I woke up to an email saying my Facebook account had been logged into. But it wasn’t me. I’d been sound asleep.
I logged in and changed my passwords quick smart, and all looked fine. I thought, phew, crisis averted. Nothing looked amiss, thankfully. I’d just set up a Facebook page for my daughter’s netball team, and I’d just kicked off their online fundraising auction, which was off to a fabulous start. So, I breathed a big sigh of relief.
But……. later that afternoon, I got the email of death. Ok, that’s probably a little dramatic. But I received an email from Facebook to say my account had been disabled for breaching community guidelines. 🤯🤯 Say what???
- I had 2FA.
- I’d done everything right (or so I thought).
Over the past month leading up to the dreaded day, I’d received an email here and there advising someone had been trying to log in to your account, etc., but no one had, and nothing looked a miss.
If you receive these emails, my advice to you – CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD.
The reality of having your social media hacked
- My personal profile was gone
- My business page was still active, though,
- the new netball page was GONE!!! My heart felt like it had literally stopped at that one
- Business Manager – gone too.
- 6 years of interacting and helping out and giving advice in business groups – gone
- School groups – gone
- Kids sporting groups – gone
- Kids messenger access – gone
You get the picture. It was all GONE!
How do I restore access to a hacked Facebook account?
Meta gave me the option to appeal Facebook’s decision, but it seemed they could take up to 30 days to make a decision. WTA!!! And, they don’t communicate while you wait.
What do I do??? I decided not to panic (too much). It’d come back in a few days. It’ll be fine. But during those few days, as you read above, you realise how much of your life revolves around Facebook.
The days were going by, and my access wasn’t coming back.🤯🤯 And I was wasting so much time Googling and hoping for a magical way to contact Meta or for a solution to appear. But there wasn’t one. 😢😩
Light at the end of the Facebook hacking tunnel
Luckily a colleague of my husband’s put me onto a cyber security company they’d had success with.
I reached out to them; long story short, there was light at the end of the tunnel. BUT it was a waiting game. We needed to wait seven days after I’d lodged my dispute to escalate with their Meta contacts. But at least they had connections. They couldn’t promise they’d get anywhere, but it was better than I currently had, which was nothing.
Facebook Ads charges
Could it get worse? Oh yes, it could.
I’d heard the stories, but I thought I was safe. I didn’t do ads.
Then I received an email from PayPal 3 days after my Facebook account had been disabled, charging me for Facebook ads.
In one way, luckily, it was with PayPal, as once I disputed the transaction, they severed the connection with my ad account, and nothing else could be charged.
I say luckily, as they’d set up 10 ads with an ad spend of nearly $2k each 🤯🤯🤯 and added six other people to my ads account. So, who knows where it would have ended if PayPal hadn’t severed the connection when I disputed it? But how they managed to charge it 3 days after my ad account has me baffled and probably something I’ll never find out the answer to.
After racking my brains, I realised I’d set up my website, Facebook pixel, a few years as I was going to do some ads but never got around to it. But I’d had to set up an ads account and link a payment option to it as a part of the process.
How I managed life while I waited for Facebook to make a decision
In the meantime, I set up a new email address to use for my new temporary (or so I hoped) Facebook account. I decided the netball team’s online auction couldn’t wait anymore and we needed it back up and running as their trip to Qld was fast approaching.
Not that there’s ever a good time. But seriously, this had to have been THE worst time to have my Facebook hacked.
Nine days after all this started, I received the magical email from Facebook with a reset link. And I was back!!! The cyber security company had success. Thank you!
What to do when you get your social media back?
I went through my friend list, and Meta actually prompted me to do so, which was good.
And then, I went through my ads account. Although it’s still disabled, I wanted to check what was happening and see if anyone had been added.
What did I learn?
It sounds silly, but it was 9 very stressful days, not knowing what was happening. And even though I had access to my Facebook page, I still couldn’t actually update any of the settings or update the admins, so that didn’t make my page viable for very long.
The whole experience really drilled home how much I need to do what I tell clients.
“Don’t put all your eggs in the one basket.”
I’d never actually set out to do so, but as time passed, more social media crept into my marketing.
Although an unfortunate experience and not something I’d wish on anyone. But it was a reminder to explore and pursue other marketing strategies.