Instagram influencers who have seen their accounts gone bad and their personal information exposed, say they were forced to hire hackers themselves to regain their profiles.
Several "influencers" told VICE Motherboard that the procedure followed by the Instagram to recover the audit of accounts is so slow and difficult, they have been forced to find alternative means to recover their profiles. Despite repeated calls and emails for help with Instagram, influencers whose accounts have been scratched say they only receive automated emails that do not help them at all.
Influencers on social media have turned their online activity into lucrative full-time jobs by promoting products from advertisers to tens of thousands of followers. These accounts, on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, have become a basic means of living for them and hackers have perceived it.
"Emotionally damaged," influencer Cassie Gallegos wrote in a blog post. “I had worked so hard to become an influencer, to make the life I wanted to live, I had collaborations with Hotels.com, PierHouse Key West, Dick's Sporting Goods, Living Proof. Lost. All my work was lost. ”
According to the Motherboard report, many hackers get access to the accounts of influencers, appearing as brands interested in sponsorship or advertising. Using emails that contain phishing links, hackers get access to the influencer's Instagram and change their email and password, which then leaves the legitimate account holder.
But when the influencers approached Instagram to recover their bills, the platform seemed inadequate. Instagram policies say that without the email and password of an account, users must follow a verification process to ensure that the user is actually the account holder. The process involves taking a selfie with a code that Instagram sends directly to them, written on a piece of paper.
Even though the appropriate steps were taken, hacking-affected people told the Motherboard that their efforts were not working. An influencer said on a blog post that she took back control of her account just after the fans and some others pushed Instagram.
So users have turned to third-party social media experts and white-hat hackers to help them recover their accounts. One such expert told Motherboard that he was aware of tricks to speed up the process of recovering an account. Another method is to identify the person behind the hacking and then hacking that person in order to get the account back.
"We know that losing access to your account can be an unpleasant experience," an Instagram spokesman said in a statement. "We have implemented sophisticated measures to stop hackers from accessing accounts, as well as measures to help people recover their accounts."