Green Child Magazine’s Facebook page with 117,000 followers was hacked and stolen in April 2023. Despite having all recommended security measures and an advertising account in place, Meta/Facebook did not retrieve the account. Here’s the story of what happened.
We’ve been hearing from you over the last few weeks, so I decided to share what happened lest you think we abandoned the platform or our beloved readers there. I also want to make sure you still know where to find us!
I know Facebook is much less relevant to our younger moms than the ones who’ve been around since our start in 2011, but it was still an outlet for us to share natural parenting and green living advice with our audience there.
The Good Ol’ Days of Facebook
Now that I don’t have to keep up with the Facebook Page, I rarely spend time on the platform. It’s been a source of discontent for a while, but I always kept it because I loved the Green Child community there.
And now, I only keep it for Messenger conversations with friends and family members. And it’s the only way to find out where our favorite Thai food truck will be on the weekends!
But there was a time when Facebook was a happy, wonderful place. Parents were so engaged and eager for positive parenting advice and connecting with like-minded moms. Every launch day of our digital magazine was like Christmas morning as soon as we shared it to our Facebook page.
Our article Want Happier Calmer Kids? Simplify Their World used to go viral almost every time it was shared. In fact, it’s had millions of views from social media, most of those from Facebook.
We were fortunate to build an active, engaged audience from 2011 to 2015. You know, back before Facebook learned that the angrier it makes you, the more time you spend on their platform.
A Brief History of Why OG Bloggers Loved Facebook
Before influencers, there were bloggers. And you used to have to go to each of your favorite mom blogs daily (or subscribe to their email newsletter) to read what they had to say. This was before social media and the thousands of accounts competing for your attention in one place.
With the advent of Facebook Pages, you could see a digest of what your favorite bloggers published that day and choose whether it was interesting enough to click through to read. When I took over the editor role at Green Child, we had 5,000 followers. Over the next few years, we rapidly grew to more than 100,000 followers in a mostly positive, caring community.
It was also a time when Facebook would actually show you the posts of the people and pages you chose to follow. Our actively engaged readers on that platform fueled part of the magazine’s growth and helped land many of our eco-friendly and wellness celebrity interviews.
As you probably know Facebook hasn’t been the same for several years, but we’ll always be thankful for the ability to inspire thousands of parents to think more about gentle discipline and helping their families avoid toxins. And to be completely honest, losing our Facebook page now is nowhere near as devastating as it would have been prior to 2017.
Major Security Issue: What Happened With Green Child’s Facebook Page
All that said, there’s a huge security issue happening with Facebook. Over the last two years I’ve watched as friends and colleagues with huge audiences were hacked and unable to retrieve their Facebook or Instagram accounts. Verified accounts have been hacked to impersonate Facebook and Google.
Knowing this was a risk, our team took all the recommendation precautions. We had a complex password and two-factor authentication in place. We only had two team members with access to administrative privileges. We also had an advertising account. To get one of those, you have to provide your bank information and even a copy of your driver’s license.
Despite all of this, a hacker was easily able to take control of the page and my Business Manager account overnight. That stinks, and yes, you might say, “Well, things get hacked all the time…” and they do.
But how should Meta handle this?
They are, after all, a billion dollar business that was built on you sharing your baby pics so Aunt Betty can see them and people like me who created content to attract people to their platform for the last 13 years.
Did Meta ask for their driver’s license or ever require any information to confirm their identity?
Were they asked to provide anything linking them whatsoever to the website associated with the Page?
It doesn’t appear so.
Meta requires this information from the rightful owner but not the hackers
But when I reached out about the stolen account, here is a list of verification that I can provide to prove it was my account. The account I’d been an admin of since 2011.
1. Copy of valid government-issued ID (of the individual signing the statement)
– Government ID
– Driver’s License
– For Civic requests, Government Employee IDs will be accepted.
2. A signed statement with the following details:
a. Government Letterhead or Seal, Company Letterhead (where appropriate)
b. Clear and readable signature (signed by hand or digitally confirmed)
c. A description of requestor relationship to the Business and the Business ID (and authority to request access to the Business, as applicable)
d. An explanation of the request (example: there has been a termination of the employment and/or business relationship with the named person(s)/Business and another person needs to be added as Admin)
e. The Facebook account (URL/ID/associated email) needing to be added as an admin
f. One of the following:
– The name of the current person(s) who manage the BM as applicable the relationship of the above person(s) to the Business OR
– A reasonable explanation of why the current persons who manage the BM is/are not known to the requestor
g. A declaration that the information you have provided is true and accurate, e.g. “*I certify that the information provided is true and accurate*” or similar
3. Evidence of a claim to ownership (one of the following):
a. Option 1: Individual amounts of the past three invoices on the ad account(s) that the BM own and include the last 4 digits on the credit card +the credit card expiration date.
(Note: Invoice information will only be accepted if included directly in the body of the signed letter/statement)
b. Option 2: Credit Line Monthly Invoice for owned ad account
c. Option 3: Provide at least one supporting documentation:
– Domain Name Assignment Agreement
– Deed of Assignment of Intellectual Property
– Utility Bill
– Articles or Certificates of Incorporation, Formation, or Organization
– Business Licenses or Permits
– DBA documents
– Tax Certs. and Licenses
– Bank Statements, Summaries, Letters
– Credit Score Reports
– Securities and Trading Documents- Trademark/registered/copyright document: e.g. Certificate of Federal Registration.
Clearly the hacker provided none of this because there’s no way they could.
Other Cases of Facebook Page Hacks
This also happened recently to my colleague Cai Dixon. She ran Copy Kids (250,000 followers) and was the admin for several other large Facebook Pages. Copy Kids was a page dedicated to encouraging kids to eat healthily. It was stolen by what appears to be a Pakistani crime syndicate that posts animal cruelty images and videos.
The stolen page owners also collect payments for her page. Meta still sends her the invoice (I’m still not sure if she can dispute it on her taxes) but the payments are sent to the thieves who replaced her U.S. bank account with their presumed Pakistani account.
She has worked one-on-one with Meta employees to teach them how Page owners use the platform. Despite her connections within the company, no one has been able to help her retrieve her page. This is why, after exhausting the few options Meta offers when your Facebook page is hacked, I stopped putting energy into trying to get it back.
Cai has, however, compiled a spreadsheet of just the hacked pages she personally knows about and the number was 368 last I checked. Some notable hacked accounts have been:
Jill Krause, blogger, 67k followers
Joyce Deeb, musician, 512k followers
Mary Fredette, singer, 375k followers
Serenity Ford, nutrition coach, 75k followers
Ivana Nadal, actress, 273k followers
Several people have asked if there’s anything they can do. We so appreciate the concern. At this point, I don’t think we’re going to get the Page back. But we love to hear from you here or on other platforms.
You Can Always Find Us Here
But you can always find us here on our website or subscribe to our email newsletter so you don’t miss anything new. And if you have any questions or comments, you’re always welcome to comment here or reply to our emails to talk to me personally.
Wherever or however you found us, our entire team is so thankful to have connected with you.