back to article Facebook deletes hacked Pages, destroying years of work

Businesses and individuals using Facebook Pages are getting booted off their fanpage with no way back on, and it's costing some of them money. Typically, the administrator tries to access the Page, only to discover that someone else has managed to get admin privileges and then deleted their admin status. Because they are no …

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  1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    But Shirley you're joking?

    Why don't they just restore from a backup? Oh wait, no backups?

    Duh

  2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    @Shirley

    I think the point is that the agent in a position to make a backup is Facebook whereas the agent that bears the loss if there is no backup is the usurped owner.

    It's called externalisation of risks. In this case, there is no incentive for Facebook to get their act together unless people start moving their operations away in large enough numbers for it to hit advertising revenue. Since Facebook's userbase is already self-selecting for those who don't mind being screwed over, that seems unlikely.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Honest question

    I don't do this Facebook thing but surely a Facebook Page is a page so why the capital P?

  4. Dave N
    Coffee/keyboard

    Capital P

    Because it's a content type like Group or Chat - and not a web page (lowercase p).

  5. TheOtherJola
    Facepalm

    That's absolute fucking bollocks.

    Facebook's lying help pages, not this article. This article has actually probably saved me a bit of time, as the FB help pages say that giving someone is a good way to ensure that you never lose admin, as you can give access to someone else and if they have been admin for a shorter time than you they can't delete you.

    Nice to know it's a crock of shit. Time to go and tidy up my facebook pages!

  6. EngageToday
    Black Helicopters

    where?

    Can you please post a link to the FB help page that says

    "...giving someone is a good way to ensure that you never lose admin, as you can give access to someone else and if they have been admin for a shorter time than you they can't delete you."

    I have never seen such a page. The only guidance I saw was the page linked from this article where FB warns us all that making someone else an admin gives them the same level of control as we have. As admin we can promote anyone we want to admin, remove people, ban people, and revoke admin privilages. Promoting someone else to admin obviously gives them the same level of access... that is what it says in the help page. Giving someone else that level of control over a page that you spent two years developing, someone who is not on your payroll, employee or outsourced service provider, is just silly.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Happend to us....

    This exact same thing happened to our business facebook page.

    We run a small guest house in Blackpool and our facebook page kept us in contact with many of our guests. We had posted hundreds of photographs and there was thousands of comments on those photographs until it was compromised.

    To this day, I have no idea how they got access... facebook claims the only way they could have gained access is through my password, which i find very unlikely....

    Facebook were not interested in the slightest. they just did not care a single bit. The only thing we could do was start again, we still had lost hundreds of photos and comments, and over 6 months later we only have quarter of the traffic we used to get on our page.

    I can understand the security implications of facebook re instating peoples admin rights that have been removed, but there needs to be a facility in place for the legitimate owner of a page gaining access to the site again !!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    You don't own the page in Pages.

    You are there simply as a guest of Facebook Imperial.

    They are both Judge and Jury. What they say (despite the silliness) goes.

    Emperors new clothes and all that...

    Another reason to avoid everything to do with FB is possible.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    "Another reason to avoid everything to do with FB is possible"

    actually, since I promoted my business on facebook, trade has improved massively at only a cost of time....

    Just because they have a poor policy on returning access to peoples content is not a reason to avoid them.

  10. Ross 7

    It's not about security

    My main point is this - refusing to reinstate admin privs is *NOT* a security issue, it's a money issue. If FB have to deal with 1000s of requests to reinstate admin privs they have to either -

    1) spend hundreds of man hours investigating those requests/claims and actioning them; or

    2) just action them blindly.

    1 is a very expensive option, and given that FB already has quite an expensive operation, adding to that cost pressure is not good for share price. 2 is just going to get abused left, right and centre so won't happen. Instead FB say that the security of the page is your job, like it or lump it (pun unintended).

    As an aside, I have to agree with FB that on the balance of probabilities the fault for loss of the page lies with you. The user/pass details were likely compromised either due to them being written down somewhere or shared with another party, any of the PCs used to administrate the page being compromised, the account being left logged into FB and accessed by another party on that PC, etc.

    To be fair, locking down a PC that has more than one user, and is used to access the internet is no easy task (some may say even impossible). I would advise that on your current page you set up a couple of "fake" FB accounts and give admin privs to them. Then use those accounts to do the work - if one is compromised you keep your "root" account as they can't delete that (it being older than the account they compromised). If you do lose an account just delete all admin accounts except your "root" one and start again.

    You could still lose your "root" account and be screwed, but it will be much less likely to happen as you'll hardly ever be logged into it to have it compromised. Only log in to that account from your smart phone and you limit the options for hacking it even more. A pain? Ofc, but that's security of any type for you.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no!

    "I have to agree with FB that on the balance of probabilities the fault for loss of the page lies with you."

    in all probability in most cases it is.... but in my particular case it was not compromised by my neglect.

    The easy fix is that the original creator of the page should not be able to be removed from admin will be status of a facebook page unless they receive the request in writing from someone who can prove that they are for example the owner of the business and is confirmed by the creator of the page and they should even charge a nominal fee for the removal !

    maybe a temporary suspension from admin status while paperwork is sorted out will be a wise move to prevent malicious mischief from an employer, but would only be actioned by an existing co-administrator

    I am sure that in most cases the page will just be left alone and only if someone has legitimate concerns over a page owner remaining in control then the expense and time will be worth the end result.

    Its not that hard is it?

  12. Richard Jones 1

    Just Who owns the Gold Mine? It is not the User!

    The problem is that a user does not own the gold mine that this lot dig.

    Suckerbook own the mine and you are the dirt it digs and pans for gold, so what if they get rich and you get the shaft?

    They do not care!

    Any surprise that I do not have a backside book wall/page/slab on the pavement?

  13. Mark 65 Silver badge

    @Ross 7

    Surely that is the problem - that it is not the case that the oldest admin cannot be deleted. From other posts on here it seems that it can, otherwise the solution would simply be as you stated (create root and don't use then add more admins).

  14. Gordon Shumway
    FAIL

    Contingency plans.

    Not a STD. You should have them.

    You should have had them.

  15. Naughtyhorse

    RTFA

    thats all

  16. Naughtyhorse

    not a reason to avoid them

    until it happens to you

    <cough>astroturf<cough>

  17. Robert Brockway
    Linux

    Other options

    There are various other options too, like requiring multiple admins to agree to delete another admin (or perhaps this could be applied only in the case of the page creator).

    Another option would be to only allow temporary suspensions of the creating account, not deletion. Most Hax0rs will get bored and forget to renew the suspension so the original account could be recovered. A legit business wanting to keep the original account suspended could do so indefinitely.

  18. Paul Johnston
    Alert

    Remind me!

    How much does this service from Facebook cost?

  19. auburnman

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    Just because it's free doesn't mean it's not a dick move to ignore anyone having trouble with admin access. Then again they can't sell on the personal preferences of businesses to marketeers so second rate assistance is probably par for the course.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    actually it doeshave a cost.....

    in return for me promoting my business on facebook, facebook gains revenue from adverts that they place on the page....

    the cost is not a direct fiscal one to me, but the cost is that I do not have control of all content on the page !!

  21. Naughtyhorse
    Joke

    cost???

    not much,

    just your soul :-)

  22. Dave Murray

    Serves 'em right

    Just another reason not to use Facebook. If you want to advertise your business online create a website, don't just sell your soul to fugly Satan.

  23. Dave N
    Happy

    Tin foil hat please

    And of course their member base is decreasing in size. Oh wait, no it isn't, so I guess they're not going away any time soon. Rather than just walk away, maybe it'd be better to open a dialog with the devs to fix the problem?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Re: Serves 'em right

    OK, I'll bite.

    Stepping back from the world of geekdom and back into the real world, not everyone has the time or knowledge to set up a website. Your average small business does not want, or probably have any idea how, to do this.

    Find a reliable domain host, choose a relevant domain that hasn't already gone, find a website developer.

    Once that's done, you need to maintain a mailing list. Time and admin required, and more hassle as you're probably entering the world of the Data Protection Act thanks to the name and email addresses.

    Or, sign up for a page on Facebook, bung up a few words and you're done.

    Not everyone is computer-literate, not everyone has the time to maintain a website and mailing list.

    One other thing you're missing, people are quite happy to click Like on a Facebook page, as you can click Unlike any time you want, and the updates stop. Sending emails to sign up and then again to cancel is more hassle and means handing over your details to companies and organisations that do not have the know how to protect those details.

  25. Rob
    FAIL

    Business Sense

    It's not just an alternative to having a website it's also an 'additional channel' to your website as any good ecomms/emarkerteer will tell you.

    A good example being dear old El Reg, they have a website and a facebook presence (haven't looked to see if they have a twitter presence as well).

  26. Peter Mc Aulay
    WTF?

    Re: Serves 'em right

    Regardless of the fact that Facebook's explanation is transparently a load of bollocks (everything else being equal, the fact that they actively resist attempts to back up your stuff (contacts/pictures/whatever) or export it from their site should be a big fat hint), anyone whose business depends on a free web site not under his control is a fool.

    The argument that not everyone has IT skills or is capable of putting up a web site is void - for a few hundred Euros you can get someone to do that for you. I can't draw so I get the graphics for my flyers from some free web site - if it goes away, does anyone seriously think I have the right to complain just because "I can't draw"? Do you get many free lunches where you live?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    and just to add a few more pennies worth in....

    no matter what you think of facebook or social networks, they have a massive userbase and if the people that use facebook are your target market then you would be stupid not to have a facebook page....

    I would imagine a £1,000 per night 5 star hotel with a 3 Michelin stars restaurant will not attract the facebook generation, nor would they want them ... but lets say a £25 per person per night Blackpool B&B who's customers ARE the facebook generation and the custom you generate from word of mouth recommendations are very valuable... a quick message about a upcoming event and that generates business....

    as a IT geek its so easy to get snobby about facebook and other social networks, but only a fool will ignore a relatively cheap source of advertising that gets results, just because they use your personal information YOU share to target adverts....

    also, I have to add that checking out the web stats, most people these days that visit my website then click through to the facebook page and will post a enquiry on the wall sooner than send emails!

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if i may...

    "anyone whose business depends on a free web site not under his control is a fool."

    I totally agree.....

    but only a fool will ignore a free advert that gets results, just because its free....

    it just maybe possible that 100% of your revenue comes through that stream, what do you do? ignore it and hope it goes away, just in-case it does?

    can we have a head burred in sand icon please?

  29. Dangermouse

    @AC

    But the fact of the matter is if you run a business site on Facebook, then the information gathered - whilst being important to you - DOES NOT BELONG to you.

    "....means handing over your details to companies and organisations that do not have the know how to protect those details."

    Oh, the irony.....

  30. wolfmeister

    really?

    really? so you can show me a google search for a cheap hotel at any location on the planet which returns facebook pages in the results?

  31. The First Dave
    Megaphone

    @AC

    Not everyone has the knowledge to set up a proper shop, and deal with taxes etc, when it is so much easier to just sell things out of the back of a van, so surely that is how everyone should operate?

  32. Steve 149

    Big Surprise

    Obviously another 'company' that uses the Ebay school of customer support.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    I can't get them to remove a bogus personal profile...

    Someone has cloned me on FB, now all I need is for them to start posting offensive updates on the wall and anyone who looks for me on FB as part of a social networking search for a new job will probably reject my application.

  34. TonyG

    File a DMCA request

    If there's pictures of you (that you own) then file a DMCA request claiming that the account is infringing copyright and hopefully it'll get taken down.

    Not ideal but they'll take more interest in a DMCA request as there's a legal backup (i.e. you can sue facebook) if they don't do anything.

  35. Gerhard Mack

    that happened to my aunt as well

    Some Nigerian cloned her Facebook profile and started trying to get money out of her friends and family. The solution is to use the report button on the bottom left side of the coned page and report it as someone pretending to be someone else. I got my aunt's friends to all do that and they had the cloned page down a few hours later.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook does not care about you

    as long as people click on things, the owner of those things is of absolutely no consequence

  37. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    It's because

    The "owner of those things" is Zuckerberg and Co. and the so-called "users" are his farm animals. Those who can be milked are kept while they still produce clicks and personal data, those sick or injured (aka "hacked") are culled.

  38. DutchP
    Linux

    This is not a title

    Amazing how many people still believe that somehow facebook exists for their benefit, or that their benefit even matters one little bit to facebook.

    The penguin, 'cos I like to be in control myself

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Mushroom

    FB is a toy

    don't depend on it for anything that isn't trivia, keep copies of everything you upload (such as photos). don't use it for business...

    How does that sound?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    toy?

    its only as much of a toy is lets say a Xbox or PS3,

    whatever you like to call it, it IS a communications tool and a very good one for keeping in touch with clients/customers/friends/families....

    yes, it has its faults and a lot of people like to bitch about those faults, but the fact remains, for my particular business it works wonders. It works wonders also when someone has a complaint and you make that complaint publicly on that companies website...

    also, you can backup all of your photos etc as much as you like, as far as I know there is no way to backup the comments and tags to things like photographs or videos.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    FB Backup

    There is supposed to be a backup facility for comments etc but I have never got it to work properly. It says it does the job but when you download the ZIP file it's either 1% of everything or an empty ZIP file.

    Suffice to say, no-one at FB cares whether it works or not.

  42. MrCheese
    FAIL

    Muppets

    Free or not Facebook is NOT a business tool and anyone using it as such should know what to expect form these monkeys, Facebook handle everything in the same way; make a change, don't tell anyone, disrupt many users services, release PR waffle, panic and make mitigating changes.

    The PR and marketing wonks who've decided to jump on the Facebook bandwagon without so much as considering things like this will only encounter them more and more frequently

  43. Robert E A Harvey

    Dong business on the cheap

    I have little sympathy.

    If someone's business model is to freeload around the media space, and depend upon the cybergypsies they pick up along the way, then the old biblical tale of building a house on sand sounds like a far better planned arrangement.

    Look, cheapskates, there is a reason that hosted web sites and web designers cost money: they are a proper way to do business. The electronic equivalent of flyposting is not.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    freeload?

    I can pay for a advert in newspapers around the country to promote my business and its very hit or miss when it comes to responses.

    I can use facebook that is free, and it is where a lot of customers for my business will look first....

    just look at how many big companies all have facebook pages now. to most of them the cost of hosting a website is negligible, so to describe them as cheapskates is ridiculous.

    There are plenty of businesses that solely survive on being on facebook..

    i suspect that there are many very bitter web devs and hosting companies losing out to facebook, they should learn from the music industry when their business model went tits up

  45. Robert E A Harvey

    Yes, But

    The right way to use Farcebuk is to use it grab your customers and funnel them to a web site. If necessary, feed and cater for them there, with daily content changes, webcams, feedback forums, special offers.

    >There are plenty of businesses that solely survive on being on facebook.

    If they have no other plans they could be in real trouble. No-one plays golf with one club, or sets out to shoot a rogue elephant with a single bullet.

    Like ebay traders who were suddenly soaked for bigger ebay premiums, or the entire country of Uruguay exporting only the one thing - corned beef - you are in severe danger of catching a cold in a monculture.

  46. Skymonrie
    Mushroom

    *nods head at freeloader*

    Rolling with your analogy of newspaper adverts, I have a simple question.

    Would newspaper adverts be your entire business? I believe not and, in the case of yes, say hello to Darwinism. For a business, big or small, it should never really be more than "an advert in the newspaper" but quite simple (and correctly stated already) puts people on the right track to your website.

    For me the biggest reason not to solely rely on FB would be the absolute and complete lack of branding other than a logo.

  47. Harry
    Thumb Down

    Simple answer ...

    Don't use facebook or similar for important business purposes.

    Put it somewhere you have a reasonable amount of administrative control -- like a properly hosted *real* web site.

    Not only will you be able to control your own backups but you will also be able to ensure better privacy, both for you and your users.

  48. This post has been deleted by its author

  49. peyton?
    FAIL

    It would appear

    That Facebook's help pages containing misinformation is a common enough occurrence that, if you click "no" for the "was this helpful", one of the options is "this page contains incorrect information".

    Does not inspire confidence when the documentation about your own site is crowd-sourced.

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