Would you spend hundreds on a high-tech VR headset just to restore your hacked Facebook account?
That’s a method some Facebook users are resorting to, after becoming frustrated by the social media platform’s seemingly unresponsive complaints system and attempting to gain access to their locked accounts by other means – namely, by buying an Oculus Quest VR headset.
The news comes from NPR, which spoke to a man with a hacked Facebook account unable to reach customer service via the company’s standard complaints channels. Brandon Sherman, of California, then purchased an Oculus Quest 2 headset – which costs in the region of $299 / £299 / AU$479 – quoted its serial number, and “heard back right away.”
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That’s because the Facebook-owned VR company has its own customer support system, but one which ultimately remains tied to the larger Facebook infrastructure. After contacting Facebook customer service via Oculus Support, Sherman was able to restore his locked social media account.
He plans to return the unopened Quest 2 device, NPR says, but the loophole – which surfaced on a Reddit forum – doesn’t seem to have worked for everyone, so that’s worth bearing in mind before you, too, shell out big money for the sake of a dastardly Facebook hacker.
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The fact that some Facebook users are forced to take such desperate – and expensive – measures speaks to the inadequacy of the platform's automated complaints procedure, and reflects similarly-impersonal assistance systems in place within other large corporations.
At present, should Facebook users wish to regain access to a locked account, they’re asked to upload a copy of their driver's license or passport to prove their identity. But after doing so multiple times, “nobody got back” to Sherman and multiple other NPR interviewees.
What’s more, Facebook doesn’t offer phone support, so users seeking help with issues like hacked accounts are left with few options.
On its own support site, Facebook claims the Covid-19 pandemic has played a part in its poor response rate of late. “We have fewer people available to review IDs because of the coronavirus pandemic,” it says, adding that those reviews “may take longer than usual” as a result.
But that’s not the only issue at play here. Why are so many people in need of Facebook support in the first place, and why are there so many hackers?
Though Facebook doesn’t publish figures on the issue, it’s thought that hackers have increased in the years following recent US elections and the global pandemic, with individuals attempting to steal Facebook accounts to spread disinformation.
How the company deals with the growing issue remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Facebook’s current complaints procedure isn’t fit for purpose – even if we are big fans of the Oculus Quest 2.
Via The Verge