My Facebook Account Was Compromised and Suspended—I Thought I Would Die

By the time I saw the emails from Facebook it was too late. A scummy, low-life scoundrel in Germany had made his way into my Facebook account, changing my password and email to wreak havoc on my FB friends, damage my strong standing in the community, and among other evil acts against humanity, leave me feeling helpless in the greater world of social media.

I had two-factor ID verification (I thought I did?), but it did not matter. I was locked away from my baseball friends, writing groups, media feeds, all of my sister’s coffee photos, and more. There was some kinda good news—Facebook suspended my account almost immediately, which meant while I couldn’t get back in, neither could the perpetrating POS hacker. But there was also more bad news: all of my friends could no longer see my account, effectively leaving me in the sorry wasteland of FB outsiders—horrors!

I was a man without.

After my wife talked me down from severe overreaction anxiety and I started to breathe again, I looked at my minimal reconnection options and tried to figure out a way back and rescue my account. I began googling “FB hacked” articles, looking at FB’s help pages, and searching for alternate social media apps. I found that the prospect of getting back in wasn’t good.

Almost everything I read told me that I would not be able to get my account back; Facebook just didn’t care. I did find a couple of pieces that had a hint of hope—with a little magic, moxie, and luck, maybe I could get the account back in 6 weeks.


One article I read, this one, offered the most hope, however small the dose might have been. But after looking over the Facebook help options, I landed on this FB page, which was minimally highlighted in the hacker article. I sent several notes through that page three days in a row. I was finally given the chance to upload my ID and provide a different email address, which four day later lead me to submit more duplicate info through the same page. But then, without notice, I was given a chance to change my password, find an authenticator code (Google it, I’m still confused at what I did), and after a little luck, BOOM!

I was back.

It took 8 days, a lot of heavy breathing, some reassurance from my wife (“You’ll survive”), but most importantly, Facebook’s security staff. How many hacked accounts do they look at each week, each day, every hour? My persistence paid off for me, but I know Facebook had to have stepped up their service, albeit in a silent way. They use AI to look at IDs, and I know that was a major factor in getting my account back.

After a week of no likes, loves, reading funny quips, stupid notions, overthinking whether I should post or not, and perusing over political news, I came to the mild realization that I could survive, even if I didn’t think would without FB. I also learned I would never again take my sister’s coffee pics for granted.

So, to the German hack who decided he wanted to be me, I say, “Ha! Hack this, dude!” I have no idea how or why my account was chosen, nor do I care. To Facebook, I extend a humble and most grateful thanks—many, many kudos to the security team for pulling me back from the dark abyss of no social media.

And to my FB friends, I simply say, “I’m back!” even if you never knew I was gone.

The Ailment of Actually

THE NEXT TIME you actually have a conversation with someone—anyone—actually count how many times they use the word actually. Or if you’re watching a show, listening to a sound bite, even talking on the phone, actually count the number of times you actually hear “actually.”

You’ll actually be surprised.

That word—actually—has become this incredibly overused, lazy crutch of a modifier for almost everyone; from second graders to grandparents, TV news reporters to teachers, corporate CEOs to sales clerks, coaches, college students, parents, engineers, car washers, bank tellers, and—gasp!—even the president. It’s like having actually diarrhea. Which, believe it or not, is actually true.

Okay, word check time. Here’s the definition of the word, courtesy of Merriam-Webster:


Simple enough, and nothing about the main definition of the word lends itself to excessive use. So I checked out the Urban Dictionary, and one of the main definitions says that actually is the “most overused adverb I’ve ever heard. Used by those whose vocabularies lack adverbs.”

For me, nothing about the actually ailment is about a lack of adverbs—I kind of stumbled onto its overuse epidemic by accident. Sadly, this is actually about a family problem. My oldest son became afflicted with the awful ailment, falling far down the actually hole before my wife or I noticed. And we weren’t sure we’d be able to save him. He was speaking confidently, and completely, but he was also talking “actually.”

“Dad! He actually scored a touchdown!

“I actually did my homework last night.

“Well, actually, Pete was actually going to be gone tomorrow, but he’s actually home.”

I think you get it.

When I actually noticed his extreme overuse of the word, I thought breaking the habit would be difficult. I explained to him, many times, how he wasn’t using the word properly, and that it was not needed to communicate his thoughts.

“Pretend it’s a bad word,” I told him, “a word you’re not allowed to say.” He nodded, fought me a little, but then agreed to try and stop. My son agreeing with me is a rare thing of beauty that I always appreciate, and we started to pretend it was a bad word. And then we pretended some more.

“Hey,” I was saying to him several times a day, “you actually just said it.”

“You just said it, too, Dad,” and he would actually laugh hysterically.

After about a week, he surprised me and started to catch himself saying it. Within three weeks, he had almost completely dropped the word from his usual sentence-speaking habits.

Hooray! I was very happy—the kid had self-actualized himself.

But. And there’s always a but, isn’t there? As I was congratulating my oldest son for beating the actually ailment, I quickly discovered just how contagious and toxic “actually” can be—my youngest son was now saying stuff like “Actually, I’m pretty good at that game” and “I actually don’t need to look at my spelling words.” The wife also started throwing the word into her sentences as casually as she did when using “a” or “the”.

And sadly, I am actually using it a lot now, too.

* * * * *

Remember School House Rock? “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here”? Take a look again at this little gem of education brilliance—not one mention of “actually.”

This is where I could jump up on a soapy box and talk for hours (minutes?) about how stupid overusing actually—or any word—sounds, let alone how bad overusing a word looks in print (see some of the above paragraphs). I’m not a grammar snob, and I won’t pretend to be one now. I’m not worried about adverbs and never will be. Instead, I’m going to start working on a self cure for this verbal affliction—everyone else is actually on their own.