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We continue to add our personal data onto Facebook. People willfully share their favorite books, brands, and beverages, all in a quest for a social validation that will almost inevitably end in unhappiness.
Given how much data we add to Facebook, it’s more important than ever to make sure you keep your Facebook secure. However, even the most security conscious users can have their account hacked. A strong password isn’t enough; you could lose your phone or accidentally leave yourself logged in on a public computer.
Luckily, Facebook offers a few safeguards to keep you safe from hackers. Here’s how to find out if someone has hacked your Facebook account.
Check for Unrecognized Facebook Logins
Facebook tracks all the devices you use to log into your account. Typically, they’ll be your smartphone, tablet, laptop, and—if you have a generous employer—your office computer. If you ever receive a login request from an unusual device or browser, you can get Facebook to send you a notification.
To set the feature up, log into your Facebook account, click on the small arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, and select Settings from the menu. Next, in the panel on the left-hand side of the screen, click on Security and Login. It’s the second item in the list.
Now you need to scroll down to Setting up extra security > Get alerts about unrecognized logins. Click on Edit to see your options.
You can request a smartphone notification, an email notification, or both. Mark the checkboxes next to your choices. When you’re ready, click on Save Changes.
(Note: This feature does not block the login attempt; it just informs you that the login occurred.)
Look at Logged-in Locations
Even if you’ve not set up notifications for unrecognized or unusual logins, it’s still possible to see evidence of someone hacking your Facebook account. You can check a list of your active Facebook sessions, and see a complete history of your recent activity.
To check the location where your account has been accessed, you once again need to click on the small arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the Facebook home screen and choose Settings from the drop-down menu. In the left-hand panel, select Security and Login. Next, scroll down to Where you’re logged in.
You’ll see all the active and recent Facebook sessions. Sessions that are currently live will have an Active now indicator alongside the device/browser name.
For each session, you can see the type of device, the location, and the date. If you see a session you don’t recognize, click on the three vertical dots alongside the session’s name and select Not You > Secure Account. Facebook will guide you through the various options it offers to make your account more secure.
To close all active sessions, you can select Log out of all sessions at the bottom of the list. If you take this step, it’s a good idea to immediately change your password and enable two-factor authentication. It will prevent hackers who know your password from regaining access to your account.
(Note: This list is based on your IP address, so many not be entirely accurate. I have not been in Tijuana for several months, but as you can see in the screenshot Facebook thinks I am there right now.)
Tell-Tale Signs Your Facebook Has Been Hacked
Remember, being hacked doesn’t necessarily mean someone has access to your credentials. As mentioned at the start, you might have accidentally left your account logged in on a public computer.
If someone had access to your account, you might be able to see some tell-tale signs you’re being hacked:
- Have your personal details (name, birthday, location, employer, etc.) been altered?
- Are you now friends with people you do not recognize?
- Have messages been sent from your account without your knowledge?
- Have you seen unusual posts on your timeline?
Third-Party Anti-Hacking Tools
In addition to Facebook’s own internal anti-hacking tools, you can also turn to a few third-party sites that’ll let you check if your Facebook account has been hacked or not.
One of the best is Have I Been Pwned. The website lets you enter an email address or username which is then used to scan the site’s database of hacks. If a hack has occurred, you’ll be told which accounts were breached and where the breach originated. It’s an easy way to check a list of hacked Facebook accounts.
You can also register your details and receive a notification if any new hacks occur in the future.
Remember, if you’re the victim of a hack, you should immediately change your password on the affected account. It’s also a good idea to set up two-factor authentication.
Notify Facebook Immediately
If one of the tools we’ve discussed in this article makes you think that someone has compromised your Facebook account, one of the things you need to do when your Facebook has been hacked is notify Facebook immediately.
Luckily, Facebook now offers a dedicated tool for reporting a hacked account. You need to navigate to facebook.com/hacked and tell Facebook why you believe your account to be compromised. The four choices are:
- I saw a post, message or event on my account that I didn’t create.
- Someone else got into my account without my permission.
- I found an account which uses my name or photos.
- People can see things on my account that I thought were private.
Only the first two lead you through Facebook’s internal account security questionnaire. The others take you to information pages about privacy and plagiarism.
Do You Stay Abreast of Your Facebook Sessions?
To summarize, Facebook offers two native tools that help you determine whether you have been hacked:
- Alerts for unrecognized logins.
- A list of all your recent Facebook sessions.
If you combine these tools with a third-party site and some basic common sense, you’ll be able to know immediately if someone has hacked your Facebook account.
And if you can no longer access your Facebook account, be sure to check out this guide explaining how to recover your Facebook account when you can no longer log in.
Concerned that your Google account was also vulnerable? Here’s how to spot if Gmail has been hacked and what to do next.