On the 18th of April 2023, around midday, I opened up my emails and found seven emails that had arrived in quick succession from Facebook. Unfortunately for me, they’d be sitting for about an hour. The first one, sent at 10.34 am, asked if I’d added a phone number.
It came with the message ‘…if this was you, you don’t need to do anything…’
But it wasn’t me. It’s a stupid premise because if you don’t get the message Facebook/Meta assumes it was you who made the changes.
Two minutes after that Facebook/Meta sent another message. ‘Did you just reset your password?’
No, I didn’t.
And in quick succession after that:
‘Did you just add an email address?’
‘Facebook primary email changed to [email protected].’ (Eh who is this piedadbariasuspro fella anyway?)
‘Did you just remove your phone number?’
‘Did you just remove your email address.’
And finally at 11.40 am the email – ‘Someone may have accessed your account.’
No shit, Sherlock!
When I hit the ‘Secure Your Account Now’ button, a pop-up told me a code had been sent to my phone. But my number had been changed and Facebook/Meta was sending the code to the hacker Mr Piedadbariasuspro?). Basically, this Piedadbariasuspro person had broken into my Facebook account, kicked me out and changed the locks.
When I tried to tell Facebook/Meta about this, I was taken through a series of online forms the final one being an invite to upload my photographic id to prove the Byddi Lee account was really mine. This wasn’t going to work because I use my nickname and not the name on my id. And I didn’t use my real date of birth because, doh, I was worried Facebook/Meta were not very secure… And I was right.
Never at any juncture was there an opportunity to talk with a real human being. There are no phone numbers, not even a live chat (or any chat.) When I searched ‘Facebook hacked’ online there were literally thousands of people in the same predicament. A few email addresses were bandied about, but the general consensus was that no one had ever answered these. I tried all sorts of approaches… eventually starting a new account and flagging up the old account as being hacked. Nothing worked. And Facebook/Meta refused to take down my old page saying that it complied with community standards and my complaints were unfounded…grrrrr!
My Messenger was inaccessible – all those contacts, groups, and messages – all lost.
The Armagh Writers Page I’d set up had been taken over too. The hackers had run ads on it. Fortunately, friends flagged that up and it was closed down quickly. I was still charged $90 for the ads but my VISA refunded me – cancelled the old card (and all the hassle that involves.) I was gratified to see that Facebook /Meta took the hit for the lost ad money. Small comfort.
A private group I’d set up for local writers is also in the control of the hacker. Although there are a couple of other admins, Facebook/Meta wouldn’t let us shut it down because we didn’t have the passwords anymore.
I contemplated leaving Facebook completely. But after 6 weeks, I’ve decided to go for it again.
I need help with this, especially if you have been my friend on my old Facebook account. Please consider doing the following:
- Post this blog to your Facebook/social media to help me spread the word with our mutual friends. https://byddi.com/2023/05/facebook-fiasco/
- Unfriend the old account – https://www.facebook.com/byddi (mostly to protect yourself.)
- I’d welcome friend requests on my new account (sadly it doesn’t have the snazzy email address the old one had) https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100092529934849
- If you were a member of the private Armagh Writers Group leave the group… https://www.facebook.com/group
I’d recommend you never save any debit/credit card or PayPal details to any social media account, or indeed to any account that doesn’t give you a customer service phone number and allow you to speak with a real human being should you need to. And don’t count on always having access to your social sites. You get what you pay for and, well, I don’t pay for my social media and so if it gets pulled from under me, that’s how it is.
I will admit to being upset about losing my old Facebook. I found the whole thing ridiculously stressful and while I searched for perspective (I mean, it’s hardly life or death) I chided myself for getting so frustrated about it all. But that’s what it was – infuriatingly frustrating. It’s time to move on and start over, and maybe, do it better this time!
Thanks in advance for your help.