Dear Montanans,

I love using social media, I've been big into it since the MySpace days. I've made friends online and I've also strengthened my real-world friendships through virtual means. Facebook has been a great tool for local performers to get the word out about their shows, and local businesses for their events. There's not a doubt in my mind that social media has been positive for our state in many ways, and though social media has always had its problems, my fear is that it's getting more sinister and dangerous than ever before.

Today I was notified that a friend of mine followed me on Instagram, which is strange because I thought they had followed me a long time ago. I was right, they were following me on a new because their old one had been hacked. Of course this isn't the first time I've seen someone make a new account because of a "hacking" (likely through phishing) situation, what's new-ish is what these hackers are doing with people's accounts once they take over.

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They're completely taking over people's accounts and using them for extended periods of time, which is something I had never seen before this year. These imposters are sharing links to catch others in a phishing scam too, they're also asking for money. Social media companies don't seem to do much about this either, even though me and my friends have reported stolen accounts, I've never seen the situation resolved.

My friend warned me I'd soon be getting a message from the imposter, and sure enough my friend was right. It feels super creepy to see a picture of my friend pop up when I know that it's actually some manipulative freak who will soon be burning in the fiery pits of hell.

My point is, be more careful on social media than you have ever been before. Bare minimum, replacing a social media account is a hassle, and without a cynical eye there's the chance of making a mistake that could be much more costly.


Christian Grant

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