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Do ‘hackers’ pick up on your emotions? How I lost my Facebook page

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Oh, what a challenging week this has been! On Sunday, I started observing how posts from my blog were not getting any reach when shared on my Facebook page. With a following of over 316,000, my Facebook page remains my biggest promotional tool, as majority of traffic to my blog comes from there.

So when people don’t see the posts or links shared from my blog on Facebook, it means low traffic, low productivity and even more importantly, low revenue (laugh out loud, yes that’s why I keep telling people on Facebook to click and read and not just make comments). Anyway I soon started complaining on social media and friends started giving suggestions as to what the problem could be and how to solve it.

Chris Handler suggested that new Facebook policy was against showing lead photos that have a play button on it (and I am guilty because that has been my new strategy for video content on the blog for some weeks now). Heeding to his advice I immediately removed such posts and read this insightful article on phrases and words to avoid on Facebook.

Based on the article it is clear that I have been doing some of the things stated ‘to avoid’, and I am now convinced that Facebook has blacklisted my page for spamming/click baiting. Anyway I started looking for ways to turn things around after I noticed it was not a matter that affected just posts from my blog. In fact, any link I shared on Facebook is prevented from reaching people.

I now get a reach of 3 to 20 people, compared to the original averages of 2,000 to 200,000. I started to use a strategy of posting a photo from my story and waiting for it to gather enough reach, before adding the link to the blog post to it. After doing that for a while I soon received a worrying mail from ‘Facebook’ regarding copyright and the threat to my account. I later realized that this email resulted ultimately in the hacking of my Facebook page. This is why I’m wondering whether ‘hackers’ monitor your emotions and pick when you are most vulnerable to strike? I received an email from ‘Facebook’ saying:

Hi Facebook has removed content,Video uploaded on your page (https://web.facebook.com/ameyawofficial), because we received a report that it violates someone else’s intellectual property rights. Your page is being removed for violation of our Terms of Service. A Facebook page is a separate presence used solely for professional or promotional purposes. Among other things, Pages that are hateful, threatening or obscene are prohibited. We also remove Pages that attack an individual or group, or that are configured by an unauthorized person. If your page is being deleted for any of the above reasons, it will not be reinstated. Continued misuse of Facebook features could result in permanent loss of your account. You can Appeal in the link below if you think that this is a mistake:https://facebook.com-copyrights.support/

Since I was already in a state of wondering if my Facebook page was in the black books of Facebook, I quickly clicked on the ‘Appeal’ and immediately started filling options in the form with hopes of safeguarding my account. Although I asked myself some questions while going through the process (I was expecting to, as usual, see information on the specific video that had infringed on someone’s copyright), I couldn’t be too bothered, because I was in a hurry to secure my account. This is called phishing. Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

The word is a neologism created as a homophone of fishing due to the similarity of using a bait in an attempt to catch a victim. After a few clicks, I was asked to enter my re-enter my password to complete the process. Voila, that was how the ‘hackers’ got hold of my password. Right after that I headed out to town. While in the car I started getting email notifications, warning me of irregular activity on my Facebook. Mail after mail, I soon got notified that my business page had been removed, and my admin rights had been removed by a certain Arjana Bajrami .Since I didn’t have my laptop with me, I couldn’t respond timely on most of the warnings, and use of mobile phone was pretty slow. After the last email warning I realized from my Facebook page manager that I no longer had access to my page. I took some snapshots of the emails and shared on social media, worried and looking for answers.

An executive from Red Media called to ask me to send him an email on my issue, so he could forward to Facebook on my behalf. I also started replying the Facebook security emails that I received to explain the issues to them. I then called Sena who had Editor rights to my Facebook page to see if he still had access.

He still had his Editor role access and noticed that my alternative Facebook account still had Administrator access to the page. So we logged in with that account and after some security challenges, we finally logged in and I gained my admin access back.But we also noticed that in spite of having Admin access, the page ownership now belonged to a Business Account Manager created by the ‘hacker’. My Facebook Audience Network ID/app, which I use for my Instant Articles, had also been removed. Thus I no longer have access to all the unpaid money I earned through the Audience Network, and I don’t know if any money would be paid to me when payment is due later this month.Well, it was not long before the hacker removed my Admin access again. This time it was even worse, all our Admin roles were removed. My frustration was heightened and I kept emailing Facebook back and forth. Finally after many emails, and the support from Red Media and Sena, I managed to get my admin access back, and this time the page was not own by anyone…PHEW! So there you have it, dint fall victim and stay safe!

#YUNPLUGGED

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