The Instagram Hacking Debacle
In case you haven’t been following, our Instagram was hacked over the weekend! Yes, HACKED! It’s been a crazy situation to deal with, but we are finally getting things back under control with our Instagram account.
Here’s what went down:
On last Friday afternoon, I was checking our Instagram – you know, just scrolling. I received a notification while using the app that an Android user was trying to log into my account. Since I’m #TeamiPhone, I knew it wasn’t me, so I confirmed that this person was not me. About an hour or so later, I tried to get back onto Instagram, only to find out that I had been logged out of my account, my username had been changed, password was changed, profile photo was changed, and bio was changed.
I had been HACKED!!
Immediately, since the username was changed, my first instinct was to create a new account with the username @mawbeauty so that no one else snagged it up before me. After all, I AM @mawbeauty!! So here I was with a new Instagram account, and an old account that had been hacked and I had no access to it whatsoever.
I started to get messages from family, friends, and my team asking what was going on with my insta because they, too, noticed the changes on my page. I couldn’t believe this situation! The worst part about it is because I’m a business, I had converted my Instagram page into a business profile and linked it with my Facebook business page – meaning that since my original Instagram was linked to it, and hacked, I had no way of unlinking. All sorts of crazy things were running through my mind at that point, so I decided for the time being, that I would unpublish my Facebook business page just in case this hacker decided to go crazy and post inappropriate things to my business profile on Facebook. Luckily, that didn’t happen.
The entire situation was actually nuts!
I began reaching out to Instagram and Facebook, since they are both owned by Facebook. Let me tell you – they do NOT make it easy to get in touch with them. They, of course, do not have a published phone number for you to call them at. They also don’t have an email address where you can reach them directly. You HAVE to go through their support center links on the website. This was frustrating, to say the least.
Since my page had been converted to a business profile, Instagram made me verify that I actually own my business by sending documents for proof. I sent over a copy of my salon license and a rent invoice with a utility reading on it. This got no attention from them. What DID get attention was when I began to BLOW THEM UP on social media. It was beyond my comprehension that this billion dollar company wouldn’t have a whole team of people working on issues like this, so I started tweeting. Yep. I tweeted my fingers off to Instagram. They were unresponsive. Then, since the issue had to do with Facebook too (since my insta had been linked to my Facebook business page), I started blowing THEM up as well! I went hard! During my research on trying to fix this problem, I started looking on Facebook to see if there was a way that I could unlink through that platform instead of having to do it through Instagram. And, surprise, there was not. In their help forum, I saw that there were maybe a handful of other people experiencing the same issue – being locked out of their converted to business Instagram, and not being able to unlink their business Facebook page. One lady even said that she physically went down to the Facebook headquarters and filed a written request, but still had no luck. These other people had been fighting with Instagram and Facebook for MONTHS!
Its crazy to think that a billion dollar company like this has such poor support for small business owners who literally RELY on these platforms to promote our businesses. If, as a business owner, you don’t have up to date social media and you can’t control your presence, people literally will look at you like you’re not even a business – no matter how much experience or talent you have. For whatever reason, people today have decided that social media is KING, and bottom line, you need to be up to date with it. The Facebook company makes it pretty difficult to get in touch with them and Instagram if you’re experiencing a difficult situation like this one.
Over the course of 2 days, I sent countless emails, tweets, and mentions on Instagram. I also had some of my followers unfollow and report my original Instagram account. All of these flags finally got their attention, and they sent a link for me to reset my password and get back into my account – thank the Lord!! Thankfully, the hacker did not compromise my account by posting anything inappropriate. They literally only changed my login information, profile picture, and bio. I’m honestly not sure who did this or what the purpose was for it, but I’m so glad that this situation is over.
SO, here’s what’s going on with our Instagram accounts (because, now we have two!):
@mawbeauty is my original account that had been hacked. This is the account that most people are following. Since I now have access to this account again, I will keep it as @mawbeauty. It will remain a public account, and I’ll be posting images of my work, mixed with a tiny amount of my life so that you guys can continue to get to know me. I have a personal relationship with many of the people who follow that account – I’ve either worked with you professionally, you may be a client, a past bride, friend, family, or local resident who likes to see my work – and I thank you for the support that you’ve given me and that account over the last few years. Please continue to follow!
@mawbeautystudio is the account that I created after the hacking. I changed the name to reflect my studio. On this account, you will see pretty much nothing but work from myself and my team. This account will highlight what happens in our studio, on our weddings, and happenings with our team. If you’re a bride or potential client looking to work with us, this is the account that you’ll want to follow because it will have the most up to date work from both myself and my team. I’ve already added some images and started to gain followers (almost 400 in 3 short days! Woohoo!). This page will be all business, and lots of fun…because my business is very fun lol.
So many of you were so very helpful during this really frustrating situation. I just want to thank everyone for, first, notifying me that this was an issue – I’m glad that you guys were following me close enough to know that the hacker wasn’t me! I also want to thank everyone for offering advice on how to possibly fix the issue. Although Instagram made it impossible for me to remedy the problem, you guys offered the best advice that you could in order to help me, and I truly appreciate it. Thank you guys for reporting the page too and helping me to gain Instagram’s attention, and also for letting me know when the page finally had been taken down by Instagram. Thank you to all of the people who offered to take screenshots of my profile (since you guys could see it, but I could not because the hacker also made my page private once they kicked me out!), and also thank you to my cousin for offering me her own password and username so that I could log in and try to get whatever pictures I could. You guys are all so amazing, and I’m grateful for your help!
So, that’s that guys. I was HACKED, and now I’m back!
Please make sure that you’re following at least one of my accounts if not both! I’d love for everyone to continue to stay up to date with what’s going on at M.A.W.Beauty Hair & Makeup Studio in whatever way you can. I truly appreciate everyone’s help and patience with this situation!
My final word and tip to everyone out there: Be aware of who is following you, and MAKE SURE YOU ARE CHANGING YOUR PASSWORDS REGULARLY. Change them all. Change them regularly.