The trust of many Meta users has been lost over the last couple of weeks. Although the company refuses to answer and clarify the issue, many users have publicly expressed their disappointment.
Social media users noticed unusual activity on their Facebook and Instagram accounts, such as changes to their profile photos, different usernames, and content they had not created and shared appearing on their feeds. A segment of these platforms has apparently been taken over by hackers. In spite of this, Meta didn't notify its users about the security issue. Instead, it suspended their accounts for 30 days, after which the company warned them their accounts would be deleted if the issue wasn't resolved.
After the platforms’ users sent their appeal to disagree with the company’s decision and outline that their profiles have been hacked, they received the following message: “It usually takes us just over a day to review your information, but we have a lot of reviews right now, so it may take longer. If we find your account does follow our Community Standards, you’ll be able to use Facebook again. If we find your account doesn’t follow our Community Standards, it will be permanently disabled, and you won’t be able to disagree again.”
Despite the fact that the IP addresses of the hackers were probably different, Meta did not detect or at least did not outline any hacker activity. Moreover, based on the nature of the messages behind the new posts and changes, external intervention could have been suspected. However, as outlined by Meta's users, this was not the case.
The disappointment of Facebook and Instagram users continued to escalate when the company not only did not respond within 24 hours or a week but it did not in a month, which resulted in deleting the profiles.
However, while some may perceive creating a new social media profile as a reasonable solution to the complex issue, the social media diaries these users have kept for years will be forever lost.
As a result of losing her Facebook profile, Shannon Evens lost all the messages she had sent to her father, who was suffering from cancer. As they communicated on the platform for many years, Shannon's profile became the place where she kept memories of him after his death. After driving to Meta's Dublin headquarters, Shannon demanded her profile be returned to her. However, as she outlines - ‘All they did was tell me to go through the Facebook help centre.’
In an attempt to blur a weak security spot in its system or just to avoid responsibility, Meta has disappointed numerous of its users worldwide. The company’s silence around the issue raises questions regarding privacy, transparency, and company ethics.