HACKED! Regain Control of Your Social Media Identity

Imagine receiving a call from a friend asking about a new money-making opportunity you just posted on your social media account. Only, you did not post it. This is a story that many social media users face as the number of hacked social media accounts continues to rise. In a letter dated March 5 2024, 41 state Attorney Generals wrote Meta Platforms Inc. highlighting a significant rise in the number of hacked accounts being reported to their offices, (noting increases from 2022 to 2023: 730% increase in Vermont; 330% increase in North Carolina; 256% increase in Illinois; and 270% increase in Pennsylvania), and urging Meta to take immediate action. In a world where social media is engrained as a daily part of our lives, losing control of your social media identity can cause stress and have an impact on your professional and personal brand. Here are some suggested steps you can take to prevent having your account taken over and address it should hacking occur.

Prevent the Hack

  1. Use a unique and strong password for your social media accounts.
  2. Enable two-factor authentication.
  3. Limit the number of external applications you allow to access your accounts.
  4. Confirm the email address and phone number associated with your social media accounts are accurate and accessible.
  5. Respond immediately to any emails from social media sites regarding suspicious activity on your account.

Address the Hack

  1. When you receive notice of a potential hacking, immediately go to your account and follow the steps provided by each platform to try and regain control.
  2. If your attempts to follow the recovery steps are unsuccessful, contact the platform directly. Sometimes hackers, who are aware of the recovery steps provided by social media sites, will have already acted in a way that keeps you from regaining access to your account – such as removing your phone number or changing your recovery email address.
  3. Contact family and friends or use your account on other social media platforms to inform your followers that your account was hacked.
  4. Don’t give up. Losing control over your online identity can damage your personal and professional brand, and can allow the hackers solicit money from unsuspecting followers of the account or undertake other nefarious activity.

Contact counsel. We have guided several clients through the stressful matter of regaining control over accounts and intellectual property online.

By Alexis C. Douglas and RiKaleigh C. Johnson

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