Meta pushes US states to battle Facebook and Instagram account hijackings

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Meta pushes US states to battle Facebook and Instagram account hijackings
Meta pushes US states to battle Facebook and Instagram account hijackings

In reaction to a “dramatic” spike in account takeovers, 40 US states and Washington, D.C., have encouraged Meta Platforms to crack down on scammers who hack Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Forty U.S. states and Washington, D.C., have urged Meta Platforms (META.O.) to crack down on scammers who hack Facebook and Instagram accounts in response to a “dramatic” increase in account takeovers.

In a letter to Meta’s senior lawyer, states led by New York Attorney General Letitia James stated that fraudsters are “winning the war and running rampant on Meta,” following the company’s November 2022 announcement of thousands of staff cutbacks aimed at security and privacy.

According to the states, New York has seen a 1,000% surge in complaints about scammers who get access to accounts and change passwords, allowing them to read private communications and appear as legitimate users to deceive contacts and the general public.

Four states—Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Vermont—recorded complaints that increased by more than 250% in the previous year alone.

“Social media is how millions of Americans connect,” James explained in a statement. “Having your social media account taken over by a scammer can feel like having someone sneak into your home and change all of the locks.”

The states encouraged Meta to invest more money in preventing account takeovers, including greater manpower, and to collaborate more closely with people whose accounts have been hijacked.

In an emailed statement, a Meta spokesperson stated that the Menlo Park, California-based firm spends “heavily” on technology and staffing to identify compromised accounts and shares information with users and law authorities to address the issue.

The letter was also signed by Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

In October, 41 states and Washington, D.C., sued Meta, claiming the company’s platforms were meant to addict minors and harm their mental health.

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