Hello faithful fans of the Foreigners in Taiwan website and blog.
I have some happy news! Our Facebook Page which was recently hacked and stolen has been recovered!
You can find our recovered page here: https://www.facebook.com/foreignersintaiwanblog. Please follow this new page to keep up to date with our blog, and share content to help promote the amazing free country of Taiwan to the world.
In this blog, I will tell you how I was hacked so you can avoid the same problem, and protect your business and assets that use Facebook Pages.
I will also show you how our page was recovered (hint, it was not by using another hacker, those are all scams) and give you some ideas and effective methods you can try.
The recovery process took about four months total for me (first hacked on September 30th, 2022, recovered on January 29th, 2023).
Short Summary of How I was Hacked:
My FB page was stolen through a phishing scam. Phishing means sending an email with a malicious link or attachment. First, they send an email saying "We want "Sponsored ads" on your Facebook page, you will be paid $1800$ per week". Then they send an invitation to manage their Meta Ads account Then once you log in they take ownership of your page.
I was NOT hacked because they found my username and password.
For a more detailed story of how we were hacked, check out our previous post here.
Reaching out to Facebook Support for Help:
From the beginning (Sept 30th, 2022 when our page was first hacked) I sent multiple reports to Facebook using every possible means I knew how. Most of these reports went unanswered. The most responsive way was contacting the team through the help button on the Meta Business platform. They email you kind of fast, like once every three days. Anyway, I sent them the info they needed above.
A few weeks later, I receive the awesome news that I have been placed as the sold admin of my Facebook Page, and the hackers have been removed! But after checking, this was not the case. I was not made the admin and still do not have ownership of the page. I have no Idea how Facebook Support could make such a mistake. I think they may have mistook my new page for the old one. More on their incompetence later.
Later I received the email above. Our team's initial review that "there is evidence to suggest there was a compromise" is ridiculous and totally unacceptable. Just by visiting the page https://facebook.com/Foreignersintaiwanblog this was clear to see, the hackers posted weird videos every day that have nothing to do with Taiwan, and then stopped posting on Nov. 8th.
Contacting My Attorney General:
I read on a Reddit Group www.reddit.com/r/facebookdisabledme/ that a lot of people have had success getting their Facebook Pages back by writing letters to their attorney general. I tried the same, but I did not get favorable results (see above). The reply from Facebook to my attorney general was as follows (Jan 9th, 2023):
Thanks for contacting us!
After reviewing the consumer’s inquiry, we found that the account is currently unrestricted. Thus, the matter resolved.
We appreciate your hard work on behalf of your constituents.
My Facebook page was still hacked. I had no control over the page. I did not follow up further with the attorney general.
Contacting a Facebook Employee
It turns out my cousin works for Facebook in the USA. I asked if he could help, and he said he could file a family and friends report. That report went unanswered. He filed the report in November 2022. My cousin, like many Facebook employees, has no control over the complaint process or timing and does not have the power to bring your Facebook Page back online.
Contacting a real person at Facebook Support through Live Chat:
After sending multiple emails with no result, I really wanted to have a live chat with Facebook. But they have no phone number, no support email, no way to contact them at all.
How do you contact Facebook through a call or live chat?
Go to Meta Commerce Manager, press the help button, press contact support, fill out the form, and select the "chat" option.
See below for a video on how to contact Facebook via live chat.
I had multiple live chats and also phone calls with Meta Pro Support.
As you can see above, I was able to enter the live chat. Later Facebook sent me an email which I responded to with a copy of my ID and a signed written statement. One time they even asked me to provide business information. Because I had never registered as a business there was limited information I could provide.
But the same thing happened again; I received an email that said they did not see any evidence of a compromise.
Also, almost every email was written by a new employee. My case was passed from person to person like hot potato, so it is no wonder that the team could not resolve my issue when the new person doesn't even know what is going on.
I received the same message again on Jan 26 that there was no evidence of a comprimise. At this point I had given up all hope of recovering my old page, and I had already started a new Facebook page.
Filling out the Meta Support Survey sent by email
Our of desperation, instead of replying to that email, I decided to fill out their satisfaction survey. I gave them an honest report as per above the same day Jan 26, 2023. I also sent them comments about how the situation was not resolved and Meta employees were not helpful.
Then on Jan 29th, 2023, I got this message from Facebook.
I was a little annoyed. I logged onto Facebook and they told me to change my password again. I have changed my password five times in the past four months. I thought it was because I logged in from another computer.
But after logging on, lo and behold I had access to the Facebook Page!
Years of work on the page had not gone to waste, and all my followers were back! I am not sure if filling out the survey was the thing that made it work or not, or if someone else got around to looking into my case. I still do not know.
In summary, I tried some things that you can consider:
Possible Ways to Recover a Facebook Page:
Ways you should not try to recover a Facebook Page:
Thanks for reading and thank you for all your support during this difficult time. Seeing someone steal my Facebook page was like watching someone steal my car and reek havoc around town while I watched helplessly. Luckily they didn't steal anything, and somehow they also gained 10K more followers for the page in the process.
Now we are running on all cylinders. We will continue in our quest to share Taiwan-related content to the English-speaking world and bring more attention to this amazing country.
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We are US Expats that have extensive experience living, working, and travelling in Taiwan. In our day, we had to learn many things about Taiwan the hard way. But we have come to learn that Taiwan is one of the best places in the world for Foreigners to live. Our blog does not represent the opinions of every foreigner in Taiwan. We are just trying to help others learn more about this beautiful country.