When Tiffany White’s Facebook accounts were hacked and she couldn’t log in, she lost a lot. The Seattle-based entrepreneur spent at least $ 10,000 advertising his GC Jewelry Collection business page, which had nearly 53,000 followers. Her personal page included photos of her 11-year-old daughter and sister, who died unexpectedly three years ago from cardiac arrest at the age of 29.
White spent the next two months using Meta’s automated processes to restore the account and archive reports. She sent a lot of emails to a customer service line – she didn’t have a phone number to call – but nothing worked.
“You’re stealing my money and now my memories,” White wrote in an email to Meta.
Last week, after GeekWire sent an email to Meta’s press office about White’s struggles as part of our report on the story, White finally got his bills back.
Her experience highlights the dangers of trying to reach out to customer service on giant social media platforms. “Facebook and Instagram serve nearly 3 billion users a day with a support desk that is closer to zero,” The Wall Street Journal reported last month.
“They’re a huge company,” White said. “They know we all rely on them for so many different things. But they really missed the mark when it comes to customer service. “
White, who is also an Alaska Airlines flight attendant, was hacked in early April when she responded to what she considered a legitimate Facebook email. It turned out to be a phishing scheme.
Before she was hacked, most of what White posted on her business page included photos of rings and necklaces she made, accompanied by links to her Etsy store, an online marketplace through which she sells her wares.
While she was locked up, the person who took over the page was busy posting “spam” content on her show, White said. The GC Jewelry Collection has become a mix of video posts with simple descriptions showing men catching catfish or dental care animations. And it turned out that the publications are made every day, every three hours.
Meta said using its automated process is the first step users can take to recover a lost account. This may include providing identification, such as an SMS code sent to a mobile number associated with the account, or a photo of the user’s driver’s license. If that doesn’t work, the next step users can take is to file a report. If this fails, users may try to send an email to a customer service line without a phone number to call.
“We know that losing access to your account can be a worrying experience,” a Meta spokesman said in an email to GeekWire. “We have sophisticated measures to stop bad actors before they get access to accounts, as well as measures to help people recover their accounts. We work hard to keep our community safe, with special teams and technologies to detect and block malicious activity, but we know that no system is perfect.
Consumers who are desperate to take matters into their own hands may be attracted to third-party IT charlatans, as The Wall Street Journal calls them. White said she has encountered many of these so-called “hackers” who have offered to help her log in to her account for $ 150. She said she refused their services.
Some users who are desperate to regain access to their accounts are making requests, reaching unusual sizes, so that someone who can help can pay attention.
Reddit users, for example, speculate that buying Oculus VR headphones may at least connect you to Meta, because Oculus has a dedicated customer service line. And in a widespread podcast video, the senior artist even claims to have slept with Meta employees – on three separate cases – to unblock her Instagram account.
Media members also intervened. The Chicago I-Team broadcast the message to two small businesses in the region that hacked their accounts, helping entrepreneurs get their bills back.
In an email to Meta White, she clarified her intentions to use media coverage as a tool to get the company to respond.
“Maybe when I go to the local news to explain what happened to me, then you will answer,” she wrote.