After the Webinar: Surviving a Social Media Hack. Q&A with Sarah Boyd

Webinar presenter Sara Boyd answered a number of your questions after her webinar, Surviving a Social Media Hack. Here are just a few of her responses.


Audience Question: Our animal care and control business page is hacked over a year ago. I did all the things Meta said to do. I even got an e-mail from someone asking me to send all of our proof of ownership, and I did. But three days later, they told me we wouldn’t like their answer of no, that we would not be getting their page back. I tried again, and again, no response. So, the question is: Is there an approach? Is that what you’ve heard? Is that what other agencies have heard? 

Sarah Boyd: I have heard some of that, like you saw in the, in the video there from the agency in, I believe, it was the first one video that we saw, he said that they told him, he had administrative rights back, and he didn’t. So, I think that is common. Like I said, they have reduced to the teams that will help you with that, so that having that human being there is what you need. You need someone on the inside, and Cynthia has volunteered to be that person for us, and I think that’s wonderful, because the traditional methods that they say work, don’t work, and we experienced that. You guys have experienced that, it sounds like. Other agencies have experienced that. So, you got to back door it. I feel like, I’m sure they wouldn’t like me saying that, but that’s what has worked with our issue and with other PIOs that I know who’ve had issues with those platforms.


Audience Question: Given the number of hacks and the lack of support, are you aware of any agencies that are opting to just shut down their Facebook and Twitter accounts? 

Sarah Boyd: I am aware of agencies that are shutting down their Twitter accounts mainly because they’re losing followers on them because the business model is changing on them so much. We’re seeing that it’s kind of becoming a pay to play system. Some have said that they don’t want their followers to have to pay to access public information from them. Others have said that they just don’t agree with the changes the platform has made, so they’re not using it anymore. I have not heard that about Facebook. In fact, most of those people who are shutting down their Twitter pages are becoming more active on Facebook to say, continue to follow us over here.  And so, yeah, I have not heard that. I don’t think anybody knows the extent to which, I mean you guys do, to which that they have cut back support. And I only knew that because, you know, I had met Cynthia, and then they had those three folks at the IACP PIO midyear meeting just a few months ago in May of this year, and we met them, and it was great. And then I tried to reach out to one, I got a bounce back, and I asked Cynthia, what happened to them. It’s like, “Oh, they got laid off.” So, I don’t think the general public knows that those changes have happened at Facebook. They had heard about the layoffs, but I don’t think they know where they happened. So, I don’t see it happening at Facebook. I do see it happening at Twitter, which I refuse to call X, by the way, you can’t just rebrand that radically that quickly.


Audience Question: Are there any other ways that you’d recommend for getting a contact at Meta, Twitter, or any other platform? 

Sarah Boyd: Like I said, for me, it was networking. It was knowing people who worked in Silicon Valley and had contacts there. So, getting in touch with your PIOS that are in like Palo Alto, that’s Palo Alto, California. That’s where Facebook is headquartered. Things like that. Getting in touch with those folks. They have to work with those companies on a regular basis. They have to provide security for the employees that come and go each day from there. They have to police those areas. So that might be a good way to do that if Cynthia’s not available or is unable to help with your issue, that’s how I did it anyway.


Audience Question:  Can you restate the name of the company that provides monitoring services for your Facebook page, and exactly what do they monitor?

Sarah Boyd: OK, so, actually, it did not monitor our Facebook page, and we do not use a social media monitoring company. There are some good ones of those out there. They are not cheap, though. Meltwater is a good one for that. I’ve seen Cision. What we use was a media monitoring company and that’s called TVEyes, like, your eyes that you see with, TV Eyes. And that’s when I was able to see that the radio show had put out. They record the clips that are aired, radio and TV, and I can go back and watch them anytime. They see me like well e-mail roundup every day or I can, I can go in and search for specific things. And it was very affordable compared to some of the other options that are out there. And so that’s how I was able to go back and correct what the radio station had said that we had weak passwords, that we didn’t use two factor authentication. So, the different service. There are some, I think, like Cision will packager that together. Social media monitoring and media monitoring.


Audience Question: : My organization’s Twitter was hacked recently, and they were able to change the password and e-mail. Twitter said they could not give us access. Do you have a Twitter contact that is your go to? 

Sarah Boyd: I used to, I used to, her name was Lauren, and she was laid off So, that lack of support, I think, is why a lot of agencies are leaving it. She was great. But, yeah, they wouldn’t give you access to your own page back. It’s just despicable, and I think indicative of kind of the direction that that platform is going, which is really sad because it is a great way to share information quickly, especially in crises, and the media is all over it. And I hate to see the downfall it’s experiencing, but I wish I did have somebody there because I said I used to, and she has gone.


Audience Question: Do you think having a verified account would help avoiding it? 

Sarah Boyd: Our account was verified when this happened. So, it didn’t then, I don’t know if it would now. I don’t know if that escalates it, in terms of what Facebook will do to address it. I think it does a little bit, so as where you know, if you’re just Joe Smith saying, “Hey, my Facebook page got hacked.”

They’re not going to jump on that, but maybe if you have a verified account, it will get you a little more attention from the helpers at Facebook or Meta. But other than that, I didn’t see any benefit to preventing it for us.



Click Here to Watch a Recording of Surviving a Social Media Hack.


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