While many people use Facebook and Instagram to stay connected with family and friends, others use the sites to make money.
Fraudsters have taken a number of actions in recent months, and Kelly, who has a food page on the social media site and asked that her last name not be published for privacy reasons, Kelly said, is endangering his life.
She said she is a full-time social media creator who posts recipes and Texas style online. Last week, she lost access to her Facebook and Instagram accounts, KellyCooksTexas, which has more than 140,000 followers. He has over 550,000 followers on Tiktok, not Meta, and has not been hacked.
“I have $20,000 in bonuses that will come from having the contracts signed. I get about $500 from Instagram and $1,000 from Facebook every month,” he said, adding that even though he can’t access his accounts, someone else can still post videos and other information without there is an issue with his business.
He’s one of many unknown small businesses that have lost access to their accounts in recent weeks and months.
A recent report that looked at the impact of identity theft and cyber attacks on small businesses found that half of those surveyed had lost control of a social media account to a cybercriminal, and 87% of them have lost business income because of it.
More than a third of victims said they lost between $1,000 and $10,000, according to a report by the Identity Theft Resource Center.
Of the compromised accounts, 38% were on Instagram, 31% on Facebook – both platforms are owned by Meta – and 11% were on YouTube, the report said.
The survey was conducted before many Instagram users on Monday received notifications that their accounts had been suspended for violating the site’s guidelines. A spokeswoman for Meta told The New York Times it was working to resolve the issue, and some said they would get their money back within hours.
But that’s not the experience of many people who told NJ Advance Media that their accounts have been inexplicably and permanently suspended in recent weeks and months. Consumers and small businesses report that they have been unable to access their Facebook and Instagram accounts, many of which have been shut down because hackers posted fake or other offensive images. and the terms of service of the social media.
When users apply, they say they are often denied, even after the user submits the photo requested by the company. Frustrated users say they don’t know how or why they decided to delete their account because they can’t reach a real person to listen to them.
Meta did not respond to multiple requests for comment on those accounts.
Businesses and community groups across the country told NJ Advance Media that losing their accounts has cost them money and access to the communities they serve.
Kelly said she received an email about logging into her accounts differently from Germany, and even though she uses two-factor authentication and shows Meta with her photo ID in the appeal, the company has suspended the account and stopped the decision, show screenshots.
It’s also happening right now with Carrie Knott of Erie, Pennsylvania, who has launched a photography business.
He said he was locked out of his personal page and by extension, his business page, in October when his account was hacked. After he appealed, the company said his account had been reviewed with a permanent disability and the decision was overturned.
“I have no heroes. I get all my business from word of mouth and sharing on Facebook,” he said. “My business is going to die. I don’t have a business without Facebook.”
Garrick Conner, a pastor in North Little Rock, Arkansas, has also closed his account.
“Facebook did me wrong,” he said. “Someone accessed my account earlier this month and allegedly posted something offensive that violated their social standards.”
He said that after his account was hacked, it was suspended, causing him to lose 2,800 “friends” and several ministry pages linked to his personal account.
“I lost my pictures, my memories, and because Meta is the parent company, they also deleted all my ministry-related Instagram stories,” he said. “The most disturbing thing is, they deleted my Messenger account, along with 15 years of emotional messages from people – some of whom are now dead.”
He said he used accounts to supplement his ministry.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I will never post anything they claim to be posted – not even on an account that claims to be a licensed minister or counselor, the powers that be I did it faithfully for 20+ years,” he said. said. “To be honest, I feel like I’ve been judged without a trial. I’m sad that ‘high tech’ has so much power in this world.”
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Karin Price Mueller can be reached at KPriceMueller@NJAdvanceMedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KPMueller.