Michael had the ‘perfect’ business run by Facebook, but it’s now under siege by hackers

Queenslander Michael Meyrick has spent the past five years building his roof and exterior cleaning business.

He says he quickly found Facebook be the best place to attract new local customers.

Meyrick posted paid advertisements, advertised his services on Facebook groups and regularly sent potential clients to his business page, which has 900 followers. There they could view his reviews and before and after photos showing his work.

Michael Meyrick has been shaken by the impact Facebook hackers have had on his roof and house cleaning business. (Supplied: Michael Meyrick)

“I tried other avenues of marketing like SEO and Google, but I really ‘leaned’ into Facebook; I kind of perfected it,” he said.

It’s a strategy that Meyrick now regrets.

These days, any customer who visits Meyrick’s Facebook page is likely to be confused.

Instead of photos showing clean, freshly cleaned roofs, there’s a deluge of Vietnamese-language ads on the page, all selling – somewhat oddly – ​​nose hair trimmers.

Meyrick’s business page profile picture even shows a photo of a man using one of the metal hair clippers.

The profile picture on Michael Meyrick's business page is now an ad for a tool to trim nose hair.
The profile picture on Michael Meyrick’s business page is now an ad for a tool to trim nose hair. (Facebook)

None of these ads or photos are from Meyrick, who no longer has access to his own company’s page after hackers infiltrated it just over a month ago.

Meyrick said the nightmare began when he awoke one morning in July to see a bank of email notifications from Facebook, starting at 3 a.m.

Within 10 minutes, the hackers had infiltrated his personal and professional Facebook accounts.

The hackers seem to have used a well-known technique, previously reported by 9news.com.auwhich consists of posting child sexual exploitation material on the personal page of the compromised Facebook user.

This triggers an alert for Facebook, which sends a notification to the user that they have violated the social media giant’s “Community Standards” and have been banned.

The Facebook user then no longer has access to his personal account, paving the way for hackers to become the administrator of the user’s professional page.

In Meyrick’s case, the hackers’ target appears to have been the credit card linked to his business account, which they quickly used to purchase $50 and then another $350 worth of Facebook ads.

The hackers made two purchases for Facebook ads on Meyrick's <a class=business credit card before he canceled it.”/>
The hackers made two purchases for Facebook ads on Meyrick’s business credit card before he canceled it. (Supplied: Michael Meyrick)

Meyrick said at first he was confused about what happened, especially when he received a notification from Facebook that he had posted child exploitation material.

“I thought, ‘What is this? “”, did he declare.

“My first thought was maybe Facebook had seen a photo of my little girl and thought there was nudity, if she showed any skin.

“But a few days later, when the credit card charges came up, I realized someone had gone into my account.

“That’s when it snowballed from there.”

About a month after Facebook ads were charged to Meyrick’s credit card, the first ads for nose hair trimming began appearing on his business page.

Meyrick, who has a six-month-old daughter, said losing control of her company's Facebook account has put her family under financial pressure.
Meyrick, who has a six-month-old daughter, said losing control of her company’s Facebook account has put her family under financial pressure. (Supplied: Michael Meyrick)

“It’s both embarrassing and infuriating,” Meyrick said, adding that he was unable to get any help from Facebook owner Meta after filling out numerous online forms to notify the company of the hack. .

“The fact that it’s so egregious and I still can’t do anything on Facebook, it’s just crazy,” Meyrick said.

With between 60 and 80 percent of his company’s revenue coming from Facebook, Meyrick said he suddenly felt anxious about his finances.

“It was a huge stress for the family.

“It’s always there in my mind, how much is it going to affect my business?”

Meyrick said he thinks Meta should offer support on hacking issues to business owners who spend money on the platform and look more like customers than users.

“I can understand that Facebook doesn’t provide chat support for every person, but I think when you’re using them as a business and spending money on ads, you should have some sort of way to communicate with them. “, did he declare.

After being contacted by 9news.com.au, a Meta spokesperson said the company was investigating Meyrick’s hacking case.

Fraudulent advertising charges on his account have now been waived, the spokesperson said.

“We are committed to protecting the integrity of our services and work hard to protect our community from fake accounts and other inauthentic behavior,” the spokesperson said.

“We use a combination of automated systems and people to help review content flagged by our community.

“We are committed to continuing to invest in AI to improve accuracy and strengthen our review and appeal systems.”

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