A lot of people see social media as fun, and a lot of people take social media very seriously. At the heart of the social media ecosystem is the concept of trust.
We generally believe that the people we speak with on social media are, by and large, real people, expressing their real opinions. We believe that they are saying what they really believe and that they are who they say they are. This understanding is built on trust.
Hacking social media accounts violates this trust in a very serious way. Whether you have been hacked because a spammer found an inactive account or you have been the target of something more sinister, just a few days of your social media presence in unfriendly hands can have a deleterious effect. You’ll have to rebuild trust after being hacked on social media.
The Three Major Types of Social Media Hacks
The first, and by far the most common, form of social media hacking occurs when a bot or a spammer takes control of an account that has been abandoned or left alone for a long time. Some people have left a trail of old social media accounts behind them, from Myspace to AOL, and rarely think about accounts that they haven’t used for decades.
Such accounts often have older passwords that are easier to crack and easier to guess. Large-scale hacks may be more likely to steal them, such as when hackers stole passwords from tax collection software a few years ago.
This may occur when people seek assistance at alcoholism rehab centers, as the progression of addiction might have upended their lives, caused them to be careless with their data security, or put them into contact with people who took advantage of their vulnerability. Misuse of information is a problem that can occur for years without people being aware of it, but it’s usually possible to fix once it’s detected.
Another type of social media hack is the targeted hack. This occurs when somebody uses subterfuge or advanced computing techniques to take over somebody’s social media account.
Targeted hacks can happen with accounts that are still in daily use and they could happen with celebrities’ social media accounts. People discover hacks like this more quickly, but the hacks have the potential to be more harmful while they’re happening. But since they’re discovered quickly, people may be able to remedy them quickly.
A third type of hack happens when somebody spoofs an account. This means that they create a fake account that so closely resembles a real account or service that it fools people.
Spoofed accounts can often operate with wide latitude inside legitimate platforms, and they can deceive a large number of unwary people without technically violating the platforms’ terms of service. After all, people are often unable to discern the difference between an open parody and the real thing, so this method might fool many.
There are also problems with emails and other messages that use subterfuge and deception to try to get people to visit fake platforms. Unlike other tactics, sometimes people may not be able to do as much to fix these hacks.
What to Do After Being Hacked
Procedures for repairing trust after a social media hack can be as easy to describe as they are difficult to carry out.
One of the first things to do is to close the barn door. That is, you should report and remove the offending accounts and social media users. In some cases, it may be necessary to close the account entirely.
Delete all spurious messages and hacked material. Change all passwords and work with the hacked platform to make sure that only you have access to the account in the future.
The next step is to post a message letting people know what happened.
Remember that it is not possible to truly apologize for what one did not do, so don’t apologize for the particular content that was hacked. This only draws attention to it. If necessary, repudiate it in the most general and positive terms.
Finally, it is necessary to move on. Be sure to post lots of regular, high-quality content. Avoid the topics mentioned in the hack for a while.
For example, if somebody hacked your account to ask for Bitcoin, stay away from the topics of bitcoins and fundraising for a while. Rest assured that the constant pressure of our busy social media world can divert attention away from the unfortunate hack and on to other things in less time than you thought possible.
Even the most memorable events sometimes barely make a splash in the modern world. Just go on being yourself and rebuilding trust, one social media connection at a time, and before you know it, people will forget the hack.