Facebook and Instagram accounts: how to protect yours

It’s too common to find yourself locked out of a social media account.

Billions of users log on to meta-platforms every day. Meta has announced that it will expand its customer service in the coming years. It often redirects users to guided tools with problems.

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But a new Wall Street Journal report finds that hackers have sometimes changed email addresses, people lost access to certain accounts, and lost their passwords.

To stay hacker-free, there are several steps that you might find helpful, including enabling some basic privacy features.

Enable two-factor authentication

Adding another security measure can make it much more difficult for hackers to take over an account.

In this photo illustration the social networking site Facebook is viewed on a laptop screen on March 25, 2009 in London, England.

In this photo illustration the social networking site Facebook is viewed on a laptop screen on March 25, 2009 in London, England.
((Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images))

Authenticators like Okta Verify or security keys can help deter bad actors.

On Facebook, go to “Security & Sign-in Settings” and scroll down to “Use two-factor authentication.”

Click edit and select the security method you want to add, including an SMS code from your mobile phone.

In the Instagram app for Android and iPhone, go to your profile and tap the three horizontal bars in the top right.

Find “Settings” and click “Security”.

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Under Two-Factor Authentication, click Get Started and select the security method you want to add.

This March 22, 2018 photo illustration shows apps for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks on a smartphone in New Delhi.

This March 22, 2018 photo illustration shows apps for Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks on a smartphone in New Delhi.
((Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images))

There are other instructions for Instagram’s website from a mobile browser and from a computer.

Use a password manager

A password manager can help you keep track of even your trickiest passwords.

However, be careful not to reuse passwords and try to keep them at least 12 characters long.

Check the email associated with the account

Check which email addresses are remembered by Facebook or Instagram.

In this photo illustration the Instagram logo viewed on a smartphone.

In this photo illustration the Instagram logo viewed on a smartphone.
((Photo illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images))

A different email address might make it easier to regain access to an account.

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To add or remove an email address in Facebook, go to settings and click on “Contact” under the “General” tab.

Go to your profile on Instagram, tap the three bars, then tap Settings.

Scroll down to Signups and click Add Account.

“You can only be logged into one Instagram account at a time, but your device can store login information for multiple Instagram accounts. You can add or remove credentials from your Instagram app settings,” the app’s help says.

Removing credentials does not temporarily disable or permanently delete the account.

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