What To Do If Youre Locked Out Of Facebook
Jennifer Eiss, a real estate agent in Boulder, Colo., felt confused by Facebooks recovery tool and eventually gave up after her account was hacked in July, she said. She reached out to Hacked.com, a service for people locked out of online accounts. Eiss paid $500, and a Hacked representative got her back into her account within the week, she said.
Worth every penny, she said.
Hacked.coms employees dont use any actual hacking to get back into accounts, founder Jonas Borchgrevink said.
Instead, Borchgrevink and his crew have become experts in the oddities of Facebooks recovery tool. For instance, some Reddit threads suggest sending Facebook photos of your ID up to seven times a day until you receive a response. A Facebook spokeswoman said repeated requests wouldnt make a difference.
Borchgrevink walked me through what he described as a typical Facebook account recovery. It is elaborate if you have the time and energy. He recommends the following steps if you get locked out a Facebook account.
How Congress Has Changed In The Last Four Decades: From Civility To Open Hostility
Retiring Associated Press reporter Alan Fram explains why he has loved covering Congress and why he has recently felt dispirited.
WASHINGTON In the waning moments of Democrats four-decade hold on the House, I saw a gesture that seems unthinkable today. On the evening of Nov. 29, 1994, they let the top Republican preside, briefly, over the chamber.
It was a display of respect and affection toward Minority Leader Bob Michel, R-Ill., retiring after a 38-year House career served entirely under Democrats. He embraced with outgoing Speaker Tom Foley, D-Wash. Republicans were taking over in January under the combative Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., abandoning Michel’s consensus-building style.
Those feelings between leaders are all but gone. In their place are suspicion and even hostility, most starkly symbolized by magnetometers lawmakers must pass through before entering the House chamber.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., installed the metal detectors over GOP objections after the brutal Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. Democrats also expressed concerns about Republican lawmakers who carry guns.
As I retire after nearly four decades covering Capitol Hill, that contrast and the forces behind it illustrate why Ive loved covering Congress and why I’ve recently felt dispirited.
Social Media Companies Are Juggling Account Security And Recovery And Failing Users In The Process
For Jonca Bull-Humphries, a clinical researcher who lives in the D.C. area, being locked out of Facebook after a hack was more thanjust an inconvenience.
She was missing important updates from family and friends. She worried that whoever got into her account and changed the password and associated email address could misrepresent her to people she cares about.
Bull-Humphries said she tried for six weeks to get her account back, following the steps in Facebooks official account recovery process. She pored over threads in the companys community forums and even sent a picture of her drivers license to verify her identity. Nothing worked.
Im feeling increasingly like a lesson to all of those hundred of millions of people out there. When something goes wrong, its really hard to get it corrected, she said.
A quick Google search for locked social media account suggests plenty of people have already learned the hard way. Reddit threads, advice columns and emails to The Washington Posts Help Desk show social media users are plagued by lost and hacked accounts and often driven to despair. Account recovery processes are frustrating and circular. Getting in touch with a human is rare, although Facebook said it will start testing a live chat option this week for a small number of people who are locked out of accounts because of unusual activity or violations of the sites community standards.
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Common Ground Seems Narrower
Since coming to Washington in 1983, Ive seen debates over wars, terrorism, recessions, government shutdowns and taxes. Three of historys four presidential impeachment trials. Fights over social justice, abortion, a pandemic.
I still overhear Democrats and Republicans making dinner plans. The sorrow over this months traffic accident death of Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Ind., and two aides was bipartisan and heartfelt.
Yet todays common ground seems narrower, the atmosphere darker, the stakes higher.
Pelosi referred to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., as a moron after he opposed mask mandates in the House as the coronavirus pandemic spiked. McCarthy said it would be hard not to hit her with the gavel if he becomes speaker. His spokesperson called it a joke.
Both parties have fewer moderates. House districts increasingly drawn for partisan advantage push Democrats left, Republicans right as they appeal to their most activist primary voters.
Voters self-sort among social media and news outlets they believe. That hardens constituents views, further constraining lawmakers willingness to compromise.
Senate filibusters requiring bills to garner 60 votes are commonplace, derailing nearly anything without broad bipartisan support.
Through early this century, most Supreme Court nominees were approved easily.
What About Other Social Media
Each social media site will have its own account recovery process and some may be easier than others. Despite being owned by Facebook, Instagram is much harder to get back into, according to Borchgrevink.
A Facebook spokeswoman said account recovery rates are similar for Instagram and Facebook. She declined to share recovery rates.
If you forget a password, lose access to an email account or fall victim to a hack, there are a few things you can do. First, go to the app or sites log-in page and check for account recovery links like I forgot my password, I dont have access to this email or My account was compromised.
If that doesnt solve the problem, look for the companys help center or message its customer support email. In your email, feel free to include screenshots of any suspicious activity you noticed, like email alerts of log-in attempts or text messages with log-in codes you didnt expect, said Anna Larkina, a web content analyst at cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.
It might also help to send all communications from the IP address you usually use and to share that IP address with customer support, Larkina said.
Most importantly, take steps now to prevent hacks. Once an account is compromised, getting it back is a pain, Gleicher said.
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Why Is Account Recovery Such A Nightmare
Hackers target social media accounts because they want to spread scams, phishing links or misinformation, said Jon Clay, vice president of threat intelligence at cybersecurity firm Trend Micro.
When bad actors get their hands on social media account credentials, its often through phishing attacks that trick people into entering their passwords or by buying stolen credentials in shady corners of the Internet, Clay said. But sometimes, they exploit the very tools that help people get back into hacked accounts. Thats why the account recovery process is so complex, according to Facebook Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher.
Any system that we build to help users get their accounts back, we also have to recognize that it becomes a threat vector for threat actors to exploit, he said.
Facebook uses a combination of automated systems and actual people to help users when they get locked out, it said. As for its notoriously hard-to-navigate review process, Gleicher said, the company needs to improve, and that those improvements are in the works. The company would not share details or a timeline.
This is an industrywide problem, Gleicher said.
But the difficulty of balancing security and recovery is only part of the story, said Bruce Schneier, a cybersecurity expert and public policy lecturer at Harvard Universitys Kennedy School.
Schneier said that users are stuck. Facebook has no meaningful competition, he said, so frustrated users cant leave and go elsewhere.