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Meta urged by US states to prevent Facebook, Instagram account hijackings

A blue verification symbol and the logos of Facebook and Instagram are shown in this photo illustration shot January 19, 2023.

NEW YORK, March 6 (mod1s) - Forty U.S. states and Washington, D.C. called on Meta Platforms (META.O), opens new tab to clamp down on fraudsters who steal Facebook and Instagram accounts, to address a "dramatic" spike in account takeovers. 

In a letter to Meta's top counsel, states headed by New York Attorney General Letitia James claimed fraudsters are "winning the war and running rampant on Meta," after the firm in November 2022 announced thousands of staff cutbacks focused on security and privacy.

The states stated New York has since 2019 experienced a 1,000% spike in complaints about fraudsters who access accounts and change passwords, allowing them to read private communications and masquerade as legitimate users to trick contacts and the public. 

Four of the states -- Illinois, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Vermont -- recorded increases in complaints reaching 250% in the previous year alone. 

"Social media is how millions of Americans connect," James said in a statement. "Having your social media account taken over by a scammer can feel like having someone sneak into your home and change all of the locks."

The states encouraged Meta to invest more money to prevent account takeovers, especially via expanded manpower, and to interact more closely with individuals whose accounts are compromised. 

In an emailed response, a Meta spokesperson said the Menlo Park, California-based firm spends "heavily" in technology and people to detect hacked accounts, and shares recommendations with users and law enforcement to address the issue. 

Also signing the letter were Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. 

In October, 41 states and Washington, D.C. sued Meta, saying the business structured its platforms to addict minors, hurting their mental health.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/

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