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AG Nessel Joins Bipartisan Coalition Calling on Meta to Protect User Accounts from Scammers

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a bipartisan coalition of 41 attorneys general in sending a letter to Meta Platforms, Inc. (Meta) addressing the recent rise of Facebook and Instagram account takeovers by scammers and frauds. When bad actors break into a user’s account and change passwords, effectively hijacking the account and blocking out the rightful owner, it is an account takeover. AG Nessel and the bipartisan coalition are calling on Meta to thoroughly review the data security practices that protect its users’ accounts from being unfairly locked or taken over by scammers.

“Being the victim of a social media account takeover can cause significant harm to users, including small businesses that rely on their Facebook and Instagram accounts to connect with their customers,” said Nessel. “When this happens, accountholders should be met with supportive customer service and a swift resolution. I stand firmly with my colleagues in asking Meta to enhance its investment in account takeover prevention and mitigation.”

Once scammers hijack a Facebook or Instagram user’s account and change the password, they can steal personal information, read private messages, pose as the user to scam contacts, and even post publicly as the rightful user. All these actions cause undue harm and stress to account owners and their connections. While account takeovers are not a new phenomenon, there has been a dramatic increase in these schemes over the past year. As users have struggled to receive help from Meta, they have turned to their state attorneys general seeking assistance and support. In 2022, the Michigan Department of Attorney General received 50 complaints about social media account lockouts. That number more than tripled in 2023, reaching 185 complaints.

To address the account takeover crisis and provide better quality services to the millions of users who rely on Meta platforms daily, the letter from AG Nessel and the bipartisan coalition outlines a series of commonsense steps Meta should take. These include the need to increase staffing to respond to account takeover complaints and greater investment in account takeover mitigation tactics. The attorneys general also call on Meta to adopt new procedures for users to protect themselves from account takeovers, including multi-step authentication measures. Additionally, AG Nessel and the bipartisan coalition urge Meta to take this issue more seriously and take stronger enforcement actions against scammers.

Users who experience an account takeover from scammers are encouraged to raise this concern to Meta immediately. Users unable to get in touch with Meta or unable to have the issue resolved can refer to Facebook's Hacked and Fake Accounts page for information on how to address an account takeover situation.

In issuing the letter, AG Nessel joined the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


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