Facebook: account recovery if you’re still in the accountIf you search ‘Facebook account recovery’ on Google, you’ll find half a dozen methods, because Facebook has changed their process so many times over the years. It makes sense – as the social network got bigger and instituted more complex security methods, scammers got more sophisticated in their ways to steal accounts. That’s why you’ll see online (and perhaps remember) some methods to recover your account, like having your friends report it was hacked. Some recourse, some method. But now, if someone else got into your account and changed the password and recovery email, you’re done. The account is gone. Because, for all that Facebook calls it a ‘Help Center,’ it only offers one route to reset the password: send it to the email address on file.
Y’know, the one changed to the hacker’s email address.
There was a brief window to contest the password change: if we’d clicked on the possibly-phishing email, there’s a now-expired link to tell Facebook that this was a hack. But there’s nobody to make our case to, now. The hacker has the last decade of my mom’s digital life. And access to all the accounts she signed up with using Facebook – y’know, like Facebook encourages.
Two-factor your parents’ digital lives. Now.
Former baseball pitcher Vernon Law might have said it best: “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.” While the lesson here is obviously to add 2-factor authentication to everything, it’s also that you need to do this for your parents and grandparents, too. We’ve entered an age where their digital lives – not just financial but social – need to be safeguarded.
Most of them probably won’t make the jump to the next Facebook, if there is one. Their friends are on one social network, and so is their digital history. They’ve settled in. They’re (digitally) home.
Like any human being on the planet, they won’t want to go through even more hassle to get into their accounts. Tough. Download a free Authenticator mobile app (Google Authenticator, Microsoft Authenticator, or Authy) and load Facebook into it or set up a security key. Make them open their phone to authenticate every time they want to idly scroll their timeline and comment on posts. Have them change their password at the first whiff of strange activity.
Because if you don’t, and a hacker locks them out, you won’t have much recourse beyond tweeting desperately at any Facebook-related account. Or writing a blog pleading for Facebook to listen.
So that’s it, Facebook – I’m begging you to reach out to me on Twitter or over email [david(dot)email@example.com] to get my mom’s Facebook back. I promise I’ll turn 2-factor authorization on the second she’s in.
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