Creators: BEWARE! There has been some major drama going down in the IG community—now more than ever, it’s important that you take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and all of your hard work. We’ve seen an alarming number of creator accounts getting hacked or deleted recently, so we decided to get the inside scoop from two victims who initially reached out to us for help to see what advice they had for other creators in similar sticky situations. These are their stories:
What is your name / IG handle? What is your focus?
- Winnie: I’m @winnspiration and my feed focuses on fashion and lifestyle.
- Sarah: I’m @thebirdspapaya and my feed focuses on lifestyle and self-love.
How long have you been a creator/influencer? AKA how long had you spent building your account / following?
- Winnie: Almost 3 years.
- Sarah: 2 years as an influencer, 5 years building my account.
When did you realize your account was inaccessible? What was the first thing you did?
- Winnie: I realized about 3 hours after the hackers got a hold of my account and changed the e-mail, username, password, etc.Once I confirmed I had been hacked, I panicked. Then I DM’d Instagram and the IG co-founders. I also filed a report within the app. I made my private account (the one I use to plan my feed) public, and published some IG stories tagging people who may be able to help (Instagram, IG co-founders, fellow creators, #paid team).
- Sarah: I tried to login, and when I couldn’t, I realized my MAIN account had been deleted when attempting to delete a linked account. Immediately I got online to file a support request.
What happened next? How did you go about getting your account back?
- Winnie: I responded to the hacker 12 hours after their initial e-mail, asking how I could get my account back. I continued to exchange e-mails with them to get more information and to stall as I waited for a response from Instagram. Fellow creators reached out and offered contacts/advice. I e-mailed and/or DM’d those and any other contacts I could find at Facebook and Instagram. I followed up 48h after not hearing back from anyone. A contact from Facebook responded to my follow-up e-mail. He said he filed a task for my account recovery, and that I should receive a password reset within the next few hours. I didn’t, so I e-mailed back. He responded the next day (day 3) and hours later, I received the password reset e-mail (THANK GOD!)
- Sarah: I quickly realized there’s no IG support line, but many fake ones that try and just gain your information.
Did any third parties aid in the recovery of your account? (Instagram, fellow creators, #paid, etc.)
- Winnie: Yes. Facebook, fellow creators, my team at #paid who shared my story
- Sarah: (Instagram, fellow creators, #paid, etc.) TONS of fellow creators began to give an outpour of support by emailing those they knew that worked at FB/IG and tagging the CEO and CTO of IG as well. So many followers put it in their stories and feeds what had happened so people could find me in my backup account, which grew to nearly 10k in 2 days as I braced myself for a complete rebuild.
How long did this process take? From when the account was down to when you got it back?
- Winnie: 3.5 days
- Sarah: 45 hours. Facebook support told me that I had about 48 hours likely before my data would be deleted along with my account, so I knew I was working against the clock.
Were there any changes to your account? (posts, followers, DMs, etc.) Did this downtime affect any of your current campaigns / partnerships?
- Winnie: No, not that I’m aware. Luckily, it didn’t affect any current partnerships, but I was almost taken off of a campaign (and would have been if the account recovery process took any longer). The content for said campaign was due the following day, so the timing worked out in my favor.
- Sarah: Because mine was deleted via a glitch/error, it just all remained the same. That said, because I had campaigns in the works I felt I needed to be honest and immediately communicate what was happening. It was going to be a loss of income, but ultimately – I couldn’t fulfill my end of the contract and had to inform them.
Any advice to creators to help them avoid this from happening? Advice once it’s happened?
- Winnie: Prevention! Set up two-factor authentication. Change up your password every few months and make sure you have a strong password. Potentially consider a password manager app. If you’ve been hacked, my advice is to do what you can to get your situation noticed by Instagram/Facebook. E-mail all the relevant contacts you can find, DM them, tag them in stories, Facebook message them. Keep your messages concise and to the point. Be patient as it may take a few days for them to respond.
- Sarah: Put 2-factor authentication on your account, and change your contact business email that’s linked in your profile to a different one. This is just a security measure. Additionally, even if you have a linked account you’re no longer using, maybe just let it sit there instead of trying to delete it and avoid my mistake.
Anna Kate is a lifestyle, food, and booze blogger living in New York City. (Find her on Instagram @kissmysthrnsass.) She is also the creator + content marketing manager at #paid.
Featured image by energepic.com from Pexels