You have probably heard that Facebook was offline today… like all day. What could happen that would cause one of the largest companies in the world to go dark?
Then, also consider that affiliated companies were also down (Instagram and WhatsApp). This is one of the largest outages in the history of the internet and it turns out, it was probably planned.
Imagine you are Mark Zuckerberg, the owner of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, and you get woken up in the morning with one of your minions telling you that the personal information of 1.5 Billion Facebook users is for sale on the internet to the highest bidder… at first you would be groggy and be like, “of course it is for sale, that is why we collect it!”
Then you are told that it is for sale by a third party on a hacking site. Your minion has no idea how the data was retrieved. No idea when it was lost. No idea the scale or the limitation of the breech, if there is a limitation. And all of this on the same day as a former employee announces to the world that she is changing positions to become a whistle blower and sharing about how you have made deliberate moves in the company to spread hate and violence all in the name of revenue.
Well you might shut down all your sites for the day to investigate what the hell was going on too.
How does this affect you?
Simply, you need to log into Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp and change your passwords immediately. But you need some guidelines before doing so.
- You need a new password. One you have never used before. Not on any other website anywhere.
- You also have to look at your old password and change every site that you ever used that password on.
If your old password was “ZuckSucks1234!”, first off, congrats… that is a great password! But if you used that for your gmail account, Disney plus, and banking site, hackers now have a list that includes your email address and that password that they are going to start running through every site they can think of. They will first try that site against social media accounts so that they can get any data they are missing. Then they will try 50 of the world’s largest financial institutions, then the largest dozen email providers, then start going through entertainment apps like Netflix, Disney plus, and Amazon.
How can I make myself more clear… NEVER use the same password on more than one site. Use a password management app like LastPass or 1Password. Do not save passwords in your web browser or a notebook in your drawer.
The second greatest Facebook advice should become a habit!
There is one more thing that you should do, just in case Facebook goes offline one day and never comes back. This might be due to hacking, company failure, legal recourse due to all their unethical activity, or maybe they just turned off your account and only you disappeared.
This can happen for many reasons but it happened to a wonderful woman last month that I don’t get to hang out with enough, let’s call her Sandra for this story.
Sandra went to log into Facebook one day and realized that she was locked out of her account. Facebook sent her an email saying that she send something to Bob that breached their code of conduct or something. She asked me how to get it back or appeal their decision. I went through what they sent her and sadly told her that this was the way of the world. Facebook was a corporation with more power than the President of the USA. They could do whatever they wanted.
She was somewhat bewildered that they were watching her private messages. This was something that she shared with one solitary person and she was removed from Facebook. Facebook has been used for many not-so-honorable acts… Antifa organized peaceful protests where they destroyed stores and burned buildings, BLM scheduled attacks on innocent people, mobs arranged the Jan 6 march on the US Capitol, and the Taliban organized their overthrow of Afghanistan… just to name a few.
And now Sandra was in the dark because she posted a message to a friend. I asked her if it was funny and she gleefully acknowledged that it was quite funny. I asked her if it was inappropriate and she laughed out loud, “absolutely!” That is part of why I love that woman. She has a great sense of humor and she just doesn’t give a shit about those Psycho Liberal Housewives and their whining.
Well, that came back to bite her last month when she realized that those Psycho Liberal Housewives don’t all sit home all day home schooling their kids. A whole lot of them work for Facebook.
So what habit am I talking about?
Sandra has been using Facebook as her own personal photo album for her family for over a decade. She had 40,000 photos all saved in there, assuming they would be there forever. She was wrong.
You need to make a habit of backing up your Facebook account. You no longer need third-party tools or anything, Facebook actually makes this quite simple.
Log into your Facebook account…
- click on the triangle pointing down in the top right corner
- click on Settings & Privacy
- click on Settings…
- click on Your Facebook Information
- click on Download Your Information
- click on Select Dates
- choose All Time and hit Update
- click on Create File
This may take a few hours the first time but you will end up with a Zip file that will include every comment you ever made, every picture you ever saved or shared, every group you belonged to and every friend that you ever had. This file will make recreating your profile much easier if you ever find yourself needing to start over.
Depending on how often and how much you post, you might want to add a saved file once a month and do another complete backup every year.
I hope that saves just one of my friends the misery that Sandra is going through right now…
The best advice I can give you about Facebook is to stay the hell off it. The second best advice is now covered too.