So, it’s officially been a month now since my Instagram was hacked. How am I doing now? Better actually, I feel like I have become smarter and can spend more time doing things I love to do even more than scrolling the app.
I remember in the moment I was devastated at first that I tried endlessly to reacquire it but the hacker kept managing to get back in and it was a severe blow to me that my anxiety skyrocketed.
Then, I was angry, not over the fact that I was hacked, but moreover that Instagram themselves were not doing anything more to help me. They stopped answering my pleads from the emails I sent explaining the situation clearly, the photos of me holding the written code they had given and the video selfies I did through the app; I did this three times.
Twice they sent the eight-digit code to allow me back in but then that was when the hacker struck again, and again. How did Instagram not know this was happening? It’s like they were trying to blame me, the victim, for the situation. Should we be smarter about what we click on? Yes, absolutely, but also apps and websites need to take these security measures seriously.
Many articles tell you that if the hacker changes your account’s email, you can revert this, but there was no option for me to do that. Every article is the same that tells you how to get your account back. I have tried all of that crap and still, the hacker regained control. I have told friends and colleagues that I did literally everything that I was supposed to do with no success. To top it off, there is no other way to get help from Instagram because the support system is run by bots that direct you through the help system. There is no phone number or email you can contact that gets you in touch with an actual person that can resolve the issue for you, which is outrageous.
That is why the app has become an easy target for cybercriminals due to its flawed security system and the fact that billions of people use it for their business or personal endeavours.
What’s worse is that there are even more cybercriminals out there who will try to help you regain your account. If you tweet that your Instagram was hacked to warn your followers, get ready to be swarmed with replies from users claiming to be experts who will help you regain your account, or users sponsoring who you should contact to do it for you. But these are also scam too so don’t trust them, they will take your money and run. I made sure to research this as well.
I was able to move on from the hack by simply choosing to leave Instagram for good. It was the easiest thing to do for my own sake and my mental stability.
I took down the remaining account that I was using to promote my content here and stopped trying to regain the new account I made (which was disabled for some stupid reason). It’s actually easier for me to promote my work on here on Facebook and Twitter anyway.
Before leaving the app, I reached out to my closest friends on Instagram to add me on Facebook so that we wouldn’t lose touch with each other, I added more people on Discord too, and then, miraculously, remembered I also had a Snapchat account and managed to log back into that recently. It may not be as polished or popular (at least not anymore regarding the latter) as Instagram when it comes to stories and it could use more options in the music feature, but it is the original creator of vanishing stories and it is a little more intimate.
Leaving Instagram, albeit it being somewhat forced on me, has also been relieving for me. I no longer feel the immense pressure to keep up with my favourite actors and musicians and post photos and videos of things like whatever game I’m currently playing, the occasional selfie, etc. I have also been able to make time for things that matter more ever since I left Instagram so maybe this day was coming after all.
I still do that on my remaining social media platforms from time to time, but there’s just something about them that generate less demand. Facebook for instance, can be toxic depending on where you go like the comment threads. But it is a modest place compared to Instagram, whereas the latter is so visually appealing, it’s easy to get sucked in, scroll for hours through photos, reels, stories, and shop for things, therefore you’ll feel that stress to keep updating yours.
Many people have quit the app because of that or they begin to struggle with FOMO (fear of missing out) since we’re all inclined to post only our best moments there.
After I left, I started doing excessive research and discovered that hidden among all those articles telling you the exact same things over and over to regain your account (and even a few that did more than that like got in touch with someone who works for Meta or they hired someone and it wasn’t a scam, or they did the worst and made a video for the hacker claiming the money promotion was not a scam just to get their account back, and did), I was not alone.
One article here written by a local news web, shared a story of several hack victims in my area, some of them got their accounts back, and some didn’t and didn’t bother pursuing it further. This is the tactic that was used to hack my account and it’s only getting bigger.
I also found this petition created by another victim of hacking whose account was deleted by the hacker. I signed it in a heartbeat and I strongly suggest you do too, even if this hasn’t happened to you, or you know someone who has.
While you’re at it, please report my hacked account for spam, I want it to be deleted. If you’ve seen it posting trashy Bitcoin posts or silly stories about winning money, that’s not me. I would NEVER give out money or promote things like that. If the hacker tries to message you, do not respond by calling them out because they will block you, just report like I said.
It needs to be deleted because if I can’t have it back, then no one can have it at all. It’s absolutely disgusting that Instagram has done nothing to help me regain it for good after the hacker kept reacquiring it. If it reaches a point where a victim has tried everything to get their account back that Instagram’s help page recommends and the hacker just keeps re-hacking the account, then there should at least be someone, an actual person at Instagram’s HQ that they can call or email to resolve the issue. But sadly, there isn’t, so victims who reach this point, like I have, are left with two options, leave the app or make a new account.
Some of my friends were sad to see me go but they respect my decision and what’s most important is that I can still talk to them in other places.
One of my friends even said to me once that Instagram will eventually die because of how poorly security is managed there. Oh and just so we’re clear, this experience has not made me anti-Instagram. If you want to keep using it, go ahead. Maybe my experience has just led to me seeing the true colours of the app where they have no people there to help you in this type of mess and they just copy features from other apps and make it look prettier to steal users from places like Snapchat and TikTok so that everyone will use theirs. Pathetic. Why not just come up with something of your own?
Long story short, when I wrote the last article about this, I concluded that I was considering deleting my remaining account because the trauma from the hack just made me lose all desire to keep using the app. Yes, this happened before with the incident in 2016 that made me leave, but now that this has happened twice, I don’t think I will return this time.
Goodbye Instagram, it’s been fun, but I will thrive without you and to the hacker well I have only one thing to say to you: