Meta Urged To Beef Up Efforts To Protect Users From Account Takeovers

Attorneys general from 41 states are asking Meta Platforms to increase efforts aimed at preventing hackers from gaining control of Facebook and Instagram users' accounts.

“Our offices have experienced a dramatic and persistent spike in complaints in recent years concerning account takeovers that is not only alarming for our constituents but also a substantial drain on our office resources,” the officials say in a letter sent Tuesday to Jennifer Newstead, Meta's chief legal officer.

The attorneys general are asking Meta to “take immediate action and substantially increase its investment in account takeover mitigation tactics."

They are also asking the company to respond to users who are unable to log into their Facebook or Instagram because hackers accessed the accounts and changed the passwords.

“Consumers are reporting their utter panic when they first realize they have been effectively locked out of their accounts,” the officials write.



“Users spend years building their personal and professional lives on your platforms, posting intimate thoughts, and sharing personal details, locations, and photos of family and friends,” the attorneys general add. “To have it taken away from them through no fault of their own can be traumatizing.”

The officials also say the account takeovers pose “a significant risk of financial harm to both the affected user and other individuals on the platform.”

“Many use Facebook as a hub for their businesses or to engage in consumer transactions through Facebook Marketplace; some users even have credit cards tied to their accounts,” the attorneys general write, adding that they have received complaints about fraudulent credit card charges.

The officials also say they have received reports that hackers used account holders' banking information to purchase ads.

“In some cases, the ads violate your terms leading to user accounts getting banned,” they write.

The letter cites an increase in complaints about account takeovers in several states.

For instance, in New York, the attorney general received 783 complaints last year about account takeovers on Meta, up from 73 complaints in 2019. Vermont saw a 740% increase in complaints from 2022 to 2023, while North Carolina experienced a 330% increase, according to the officials.

A Meta spokesperson said, "We invest heavily in our trained enforcement and review teams and have specialized detection tools to identify compromised accounts and other fraudulent activity."

The spokesperson added, "We regularly share tips and tools people can use to protect themselves, provide a means to report potential violations, work with law enforcement and take legal action."

Next story loading loading..