How To Get Your Facebook Account Suspended

I'm sure that people have their Facebook accounts suspended every day because of things they have uploaded or posted. But I actually had myself suspended yesterday by being cautious, conscientious or paranoid.

This is not an anti-Facebook post. It's more an informational post about a good service they offer and how I have had to interact with it.

Since I access Facebook from a variety of locations and from different computers and mobile devices, I decided that I wanted to activate the Login Notifications are an opt-in Facebook security feature that send alerts when your account is being accessed. (You do that from the Account Settings page.)

I know a half dozen friends who have had email, Facebook or other accounts hacked, so I wanted to be safer.

After you set it up, you are prompted to name your "Approved Device" during your next login. So, I named my home laptop, work computer, iPad etc.

Plus, now that Facebook connects to so many other websites and services, you are likely to not even know that you are logged in at times. For example, I have a Facebook toolbar in my Firefox browser and I don't have to formally login to Facebook to see that I have mail or to change my status. Because my blog posts (including those from this blog) are pushed to my Facebook wall, it appears that I am "on Facebook" 24 hours a day.

Now, if I receive a Login Notification and the login was not made by me, I get instructions in the email (or via a text message) on how to reset my password in order to secure my account from being compromised.

That's what happened yesterday. I found this email from the night before in my mailbox.

Your Facebook account was accessed using 'flipboard' (Today at 9:27pm)
Was this you?
If so, you can disregard the rest of this email. If this wasn't you, please follow the link below to protect your account.
To learn how login notifications like this one can help you to protect your account information, visit the Help Center: /help/?topic=loginnotifications.
Please note: Facebook will never request your login information through email.
The Facebook Team
I had used Facebook via the Flipboard app at that time, so that was fine.  But I also had this email in the inbox:

Hi Ken Ronkowitz,

A new device named "a mobile device" was added to your Facebook account (Today at 10:04pm) from Clifton, NJ, US(IP=69.125.XXX.XXX) (Note: This location is based on information from your ISP or wireless provider.)

Was this you? If so, you can disregard the rest of this email.

If this wasn't you, please follow the link below to protect your account:

I had not used a "mobile device" at that time (as far as I could recall) to access Facebook. The location isn't where I was at that time, but I now locations for ISPs and IP addresses are more often inaccurate than accurate.

I was willing to err on the side of caution, so I clicked the link and was hit with this page:


I closed the tab and just went to my usual login page. No go. Suspended.

So, I needed to go through the 6 steps. One of those includes the suggestion that you change the email passwords to all your connected emails (for me that was 4 other accounts) and telling Facebook that you did (they can't really confirm that you did).  That's a good precaution if you have been hacked. If you discover (as a friend of mine did), that you can't get into that email account, chances are THAT is the hacked account that is causing the problem.

Getting the account back took about me about an hour - mostly because I was thorough and I was recording the steps and taking a few screenshots along the way.

Finally, I arrived at a screen that said:

Lessons learned:
Have I turned off the Login Notifications? No. If you access Facebook in different ways, from different places I think it's a good precaution.

Was it necessary to go through the process? Well, you'll have to keep track of when you do use other apps. I still don't know if it was me that used a mobile device (which could be my iPad) at that time. I think not, but perhaps.

Was it necessary to change all my other email passwords? Probably not - but it's not a bad idea to do that occasionally anyway.

Finally, it was an alert to me to be more mindful of how interconnected all the services I use online have become.  For got your passwords? Log in using Facebook (or Twitter or...). We have created a very tangled web by our own clicking and it has implications on privacy and security. If you don't feel comfortable with it, do something about it yourself.


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