If you notice something fishy going on with your social accounts, it's best to take action immediately before inadvertently spamming your friends, family, and coworkers. So what can you do if your social media gets hacked? The process of identifying the issue, reporting the hack, and securing your account can take a bit of time and effort, but following the necessary steps will not only put an end to the unwanted activity, but help protect your personal information in the long run. The mountain of personal data from Facebook's nearly two billion users is a particularly attractive target to hackers — but all social sites are fair game. If you store a password in your browser for easy logging in or tend to post while using a public wifi connection, you could be putting yourself at risk.
To get started, first, you must determine if your account has been hacked or hijacked. Some signs are subtle, such as friend requests sent to strangers, follows or unfollows you don't remember, or small changes to your profile. Other signs of hacking are more obvious — be it a name or password change, a message from the App warning you that your account may be compromised, messages sent to your friends that you didn't write, or posts that you didn't create. If you notice any of these behaviors, don't panic. Simply follow these steps for your social account and you'll stop the cycle of spam and regain control!
If you notice suspicious activity on your Facebook account, the first thing to do is log into your account and change your password. Review the activity on your account, and be sure to check your login history for anything suspicious — like a computer or phone you do not recognize. Once that is complete, comb through your recent likes and posts and your Activity Log, deleting anything that you were not responsible for. To be extra careful, check your installed apps and games that have access to your account and make sure to delete anything you do not want.
If you notice strange Tweets, DMs, or other weird behavior, Twitter recommends that you first attempt to reset your password. Enter a strong password that you have not used before (8 characters with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols). If you are concerned that your email address is no longer secure, update the one attached to your account by following these directions. Next, delete the App on your phone and reinstall it with the new password. Be sure to also check third-party Apps that have access to your Twitter in your Account settings and revoke access for any that don't seem familiar (make sure you update the password in the ones that remain).
It takes hard work to create a curated Instagram profile — so when your account begins posting unauthorized content, it can feel like a betrayal. If you notice suspicious activity start by changing your password or sending yourself an email with a password reset link. Picking a new, strong password is key, and Instagram recommends using a "combination of at least six numbers, letters and punctuation marks (like ! and &)." For extra protection, you can also switch on two-factor authentication, so every time you login to the App on an unknown device you'll be prompted to enter an SMS security code or backup code, as well as your username and password. As with Facebook and Twitter, you will also want to review third-party apps that have access to your account and revoke access to those you deem unnecessary. If you are not able to access Instagram at all, go to their troubleshooting page for further directions on how to identify the issue and unlock the account.