Most Facebook users have either been hacked themselves or know someone who has.
Usually, it involves a third party cloning an account, then making friend requests. The suspected end game is to use that cloned account to spread malware and scam other Facebook users. Technically, it’s not a hack at all - it’s a duplication.
What Big Little Lions experienced was an elaborate hack.
Helen Austin of Big Little Lions reached out to the Record with the following submission, detailing the ordeal for use as “a cautionary tale” in hopes that by publishing their misfortune, others will pay heed.
When scammers purporting to be a renowned singer-turned-podcast host offered the folk-pop duo Big Little Lions a sponsored live-stream opportunity in early March, the band was naturally interested. The message linked to a verified Facebook page, and the named host does, indeed, present a podcast – it all checked out.
After booking their performance time, the band was told they’d have to configure their Facebook Page to allow a simulcast event so that the performance would be on both the host and Big Little Lions’ page. One of the host’s tech crews video-chatted the band through those configuration changes, adjusting their Meta (Facebook’s owner) business profile.
They were told to add an “Online Event” profile to their business profile’s administrators. The band now believes that was the step that allowed the fraudsters to gain access.
Within hours neither the band, their label or managers could access the page. Within days, Greek political interference campaigns, disinformation and fake news was being spread from the Big Little Lions page through paid adverts.
Now, over a full month later, Meta has taken down the page, and Austin has been locked out of her personal Facebook account, meaning she can’t even log in to check in on family and friends or send and receive business messages through Meta’s companion app Messenger.
“It’s been really upsetting,” said Austin. “I’ve cried a lot through frustration and loss of control. We thought we’d done our due diligence, but just one extra step, trawling through the comments on the podcasters page, would have shown us it was a scam. It’s so frustrating.”
A forced break from Facebook may seem like a dream to some, but it’s turned into a nightmare for a band that has found it is the platform they get the best engagement and community. Especially as this is in the lead-up to their next album, AMPM, coming out June 9 on Fallen Tree Records.
The album takes the journey through a day but tackles themes of parental cycle breaking, mental health issues and insomnia. Shortly after the scam attack, they released the single Why Won’t My Brain Stop, now bitterly tainted with the unrelenting frustration that they fell for the scam.
With no updates from Meta on when, or if, the band will ever get back their Facebook page and the ability to communicate with the over 4,000 followers they’d amassed, the band has made the difficult choice to start a new page, and to try to rebuild the following they had achieved.
“I just don’t want any other bands to make the same mistake,” said Austin. “When you think of scams, you think of ransoms or credit card phishing, but the shock of why they were using it – to spread misinformation through ads on our trusted page – is so upsetting. Every time I tell someone what happened I feel heart palpitations; it’s definitely affecting my everyday life.”
The band’s new Facebook page is facebook.com/biglittlelionsmusic