DENVER — It’s an on-going issue that Denver7 continues to hear from Coloradans: becoming permanently locked out their Facebook accounts after hackers break in and post harmful content such as child sexual abuse material.
Many have lost access to their connections with their personal friends and memories. Some, in addition to that, have lost access to the way they make their livings.
Denver7 spoke with Roger Hill, who runs a storm chasing business and sells nature photography online. Facebook, he said, has been an indispensable asset for him since he joined back in 2007, which is why he was especially troubled by the string of notifications he woke up to Tuesday morning.
“It told me that my account had been suspended, and I’m like, ‘Well, that’s not right, I didn’t do anything to deserve this,’” Hill said. “And so, I filed the appeal, and the first thing they asked for is a copy of my driver’s license… Well, an hour later, I get an email back from them that says ‘Unfortunately, you are not eligible to use Facebook. Your account has been suspended, and you are banned for life.’”
That basic story has been told to Denver7 dozens of times: after hackers break into their Facebook accounts and get them suspended, their rightful users appeal to Facebook, only to meet a series of communication dead ends. We’ve reached out to Facebook’s parent company, Meta, multiple times since September, and have never received a response.
Hill has filed a formal complaint with the Colorado Attorney General, accusing the company of “unfair business practices.” He said he’s spent thousands of dollars on ads for his businesses on Facebook, and stands to lose tens of thousands in sales if he can’t get his connection to his customers back.
“This is absolutely ridiculous, and totally uncalled for,” he said. “There is no due process, there’s no recourse that you can take. You’re banned, and there’s nothing you can do about it."
Facebook, on its website, lists these tips to protect accounts against hackers (all of which can be done in accounting settings):
- Make sure you have two-factor verification turned on
- Create a strong password, without anything personally identifiable like your name, number, or birthday
- Remove your personal profile from search engine results