My Nightmare with Meta Verified & My Hacked Account

meta verified

I’m going to take a little diversion from the usually fluffy content of hair and home decor to share a little story about how my Instagram was hacked a year ago and I’ve tried everything to get it back. At first, I did all the usual channels. I reported it to Instagram repeatedly. I did selfie video after selfie video only to receive emails that said that my “information could not be confirmed”. I read Reddit boards and every Google search on how people got their accounts back and tried those things, too.

Nothing worked. Finally, after months of trying everything and becoming generally disenchanted by the lack of concern that Meta has for their users and their privacy, I gave up for a few months. And according to this article published in March, I’m not alone. Due to the lack of response from Meta, 41 state attorney generals penned a letter about how stolen user accounts is skyrocketing and that immediate action from Meta needs to be taken. You can read it here.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago when I saw an older post on a Reddit board talking about how people paid for Meta Verified and were able to access a real human being via their support chat and email options. They were able to escalate their situation to a manager and get a real human being to look at their pictures, match the identity, and help them get back in. Second to being a celebrity like Selena Gomez, who’s account was hacked and then quickly returned to her by Meta, this seemed like the best way to go for a normal, non-celebrity, non-rich person. So, I set up Meta Verified on TWO accounts – Facebook AND one of my business Instagram accounts. Both were approved quickly, because quite frankly, it is obvious that I am the person who owns these accounts. This gave me hope that in time, I would be able to use the support chat option to confirm my ownership of the account that was taken from me.

If only it went that smoothly. Keep reading to find out what Meta Verified actually is, what happened when I tried to use the support chat and email, and Meta’s response when I posted on my social media about my negative experience. Turns out, Meta can actually do anything they want with your accounts – but they won’t actually use that power to help you – unless you’re a celebrity.

What is Meta Verified?

meta verified

This is a monthly subscription program that Meta started that charges users to verify their identity. You know it’s verified if there’s a little blue check next to their profile picture. Basically, it’s supposed to cut back on imposter accounts and hacked accounts. It’s a way for people who own businesses to confirm which account belongs to them, and for important people to say, hey, this one is me, not the other 202 accounts using my name. In order to get that little blue badge of owner, you have to prove your identity with a variety of steps, including your photo ID, and you pay $11.99 or $14.99 (depends on the account, I guess), a month, to have access. I paid $14.99 for my Instagram, and $11.99 for my Facebook. There are more expensive options for Business Plus and Business Premium and Business Max as well. For the option most people will choose, here is what you’re supposed to get:

meta verified

It says it can take days to be verified, but mine happened much faster and I was off to the races with their very labrynth like support quickly after.

What is Meta Verified Support?

One of the incentives of signing up is that you’re supposed to get access to support chat and email that responds with human beings. Well, friends, let me start by saying that it takes a lot of hunting around to actually find the options for support chat and email, at least for us regular folks. They don’t make it easy to get that support you’re payin for. Once you find the buttons and reach out, it doesn’t get much better. I’ve contacted chat support and sent emails many times since being verified, and from what I’ve seen, it is a lot of bot responses. The bots simply send you regurgitated information from the help pages. They just repeat it to you over and over again. And, sadly, when I do think it’s a human, they do pretty much the same thing. You’ll know if it’s a bot, because if you ask a question that it doesn’t have a response to, you’ll get a bot response like this:

meta verified

Then, if you continue to ask for something that it doesn’t understand or have a pathway for, it’ll send you a response or a form email that will close the ticket. The survey usually follows, and as far as I can tell, nobody reads these.

meta verified


So, you are paying monthly to chat with bots that will close your support ticket even though there has been no resolution. Both the bots and the agents send you the exact same information that you can find yourself in their help section, often linking to it, and quoting it directly. So, if you can find the help section and you can read – then you already have the value of the support chat and support email options of meta verified.

Then, you are sent a survey where you can rate your interaction. I always scored these low, and very dissatisfied, because I did not receive a resolution and then in the box where you explain what happened, I was very clear what the issue was, and they closed the ticket without resolution. At time of publishing this post, I have yet to hear any response from any of those survey responses, so I’m not sure if anyone is looking at them.

What Happens If You Share Your Experience:

So, this is where it gets really discouraging. After writing many emails and starting multiple chats and just getting the same canned response, I decided to share some of my screenshots of this bot or agent with an attitude problem on my Meta verified Instagram account. Yeah, this was a little scorched earth, but there are things that really fire me up. First, I’m a mom and my hacked Instagram has pictures of my kids. Second, I really hate paying for something and not getting the value of what I’m paying for. I feel duped by Meta and don’t feel Meta Verified actually offers anything of value to users, besides a little blue check mark. I’m also once again feelings like Meta only cares about big creators, huge businesses, and celebrities – who get better support, while the millions of regular people who actually made these sites what they are today get their sites stolen from them with no recourse. 

So, that was all floating around in my mind when I posted a series of Instagram stories sharing that I paid for Meta Verified and still couldn’t get any help. I posted this screenshot showing how I kept requesting a manager or supervisor. At this point in the chat, I had figured out it was a bot so I was trying any language that I thought could trigger a pathway for the bot to send me to a human being.

Instead, the bot just regurgitates more help desk information.

meta verified

I decide to get it in writing, maybe just for kicks that the bot is refusing my request to speak to a human being or be escalated to management. The bot responded by closing the ticket.

I shared screenshots of this on Instagram and tagged Meta, Facebook, and the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, and asked them – where are the humans that work at Meta? 

You Won’t Believe What Happened Next:

After a YEAR of trying everything to get my account back and finally paying for TWO Meta Verified accounts to try to get support from a real human who could tell in FIVE SECONDS that this is my account, I finally got fed up and shared my experience on my social media.

INSTEAD of actually HELPING me, providing customer service – that I am now paying for – I get ZERO response from my stories, but within the hour, my Meta Verified subscription is canceled, I receive a Paypal refund for the amount, and my FACEBOOK ACCOUNT IS FROZEN.

meta verified

Yup, screenshots don’t lie my friends! I was kicked out of the program, refunded my money, and still haven’t gotten my account back! Then, when I tried to get back into my account, by clicking the big blue button that says “Get Started” – this popped up:

meta verified

Here’s proof that I also received a refund that I did not request for my Meta subscription and my Meta Verified was canceled for this account:

meta verified

My guess is that they issued this refund so that they could remove my account without explanation. I never actually said I wanted a refund or that I wanted out of Meta Verified – but what I did want was access to the support chat or email agents that I was promised when I signed up.

There’s a lesson here, it’s just not a good one:

The real lesson here is that they are monitoring these accounts. They do see these things and they act on them. But, only when it benefits them. They don’t care about their users unless they have enough money or clout to impact their reputation or bottom line.

Meta DOES have the ability to help regular people get their accounts back, or to freeze their accounts, or to take them away entirely – and they will absolutely exercise that power when it behooves them. But, they’re not going to do it for the right reasons. The people that created profiles, share our daily lives, and made these sites what they are today  – made them places that big businesses want to advertise, and celebrities want to reach their audiences, and content creators can monetize their lifestyles – are not going to get any support or service at all, even if we are paying for it. 

After this awful experience, I felt like I just can’t trust Meta to ever look out for the best interest of its users, even if you are a paying customer, even if you are “Meta verified”. Even if you say “please” to a stupid bot.

I wish there was a way that the users and even the creators using Meta could come together and start a petition and challenge Meta to stand by their users, to protect their privacy, and to do their part to provide real value with their Meta Verified subscription service. Or, to just have a real, valid way to get accounts back from hackers. With the way things are going now, the hackers have more protection than the users. But, as long as people are forking out money for Meta Verified subscriptions, ads, and relying on the sites to run their businesses – Meta isn’t going to do anything about it.

If you are considering Meta Verified, just know that all you’re paying for is a blue check mark – well, unless you’re Selena Gomez. Then you might actually get one of those human agents they supposedly have, although, at this point, it seems like an urban legend.

What happens now?

I wish I could walk away from the account. But, I’m nothing if not tenacious and I really, really don’t like being taken advantage of. So, I’m going to keep trying anything I can in the hopes that someday, a real person who works at Meta, can help me get my account back.

In the meantime, would anybody else out there like to create social media sites with actual protections for users and customer service with real humans, that we can all switch to?

Because I’m all in.



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