Question of the week: Has my Facebook account been hacked?

Question: I’ve been a Facebook user for many years now. I don’t want to actually close my Facebook account, but all these recent data scandals have made me nervous. Can I even check whether my Facebook account has been hacked?

Answer: This is indeed a problem. Instances of data theft involving millions of records have been anything but rare at Facebook of late. As an example, in early 2018 it came to light that Cambridge Analytica had access to the data of 87 million Facebook users. And then in the autumn of the same year, up to 90 million Facebook accounts were hacked by exploiting three security vulnerabilities. Facebook has since plugged these holes in its security armor, but how many more are there? At least Facebook itself offers a quick way to tell whether your account is one of those that has been impacted.

How to check your Facebook account

  1. Go to Facebook and log in. Open another browser tab and open the Facebook page: An important update about Facebook’s recent security incident.
  2. Keep scrolling down until you see a light-blue box titled “Is my Facebook account impacted by this security issue?” Read the information Facebook provides about your account. You’ll then learn if your account has been hacked and what steps you should now take.If you see this message, your Facebook account has not been impacted by the recent hack.
  3. You should definitely check to see if your password meets the latest security requirements. It should be at least 16 characters long and include upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters. If necessary, change it on your Facebook page by clicking the small arrow on the top right followed by Settings, then Security and login. There, click Edit next to Change password. Don’t forget to click Save Changes after updating your password.If necessary, change your Facebook password.

How to delete your Facebook account

The best way for you to be safe is of course to delete your Facebook account. Click this link to do that: https://www.facebook.com/help/delete_account. Following that, click the Delete Account button. Now enter your Facebook password and the string displayed in the reCAPTCHA challenge. Click OK. By clicking OK again, you confirm that you want to permanently delete your Facebook account. After 14 days, your account will be toast.

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