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Call Kurtis Investigates: California AG demands Facebook better protect users from account lockouts

California AG cracking down on Facebook lockouts
California AG cracking down on Facebook lockouts 02:27

LINCOLN — California's attorney general is putting pressure on Facebook over an issue Call Kurtis first exposed more than a year ago.

So many Facebook users across the country reached out to me after our investigation. They were locked out of their accounts, losing access to their photos and their memories.

"I've really begun to rely on Facebook to refresh my memory," Sallie Snyder of Lincoln said.  

Snyder said her Facebook memories help her remember her life before 2017, when she suffered a brain injury.

"I have a lot of gaps in my memory where I just don't recall things anymore," she said.

In November, Facebook disabled the account she's had since 2008, saying it did not follow our community standards. But she can't get ahold of anyone at Facebook to explain what she supposedly did wrong.

Meadow Vista's Stacie McNally discovered she, too, was locked out of her account on the day she expected to see a Facebook memory: the ninth anniversary of her leukemia diagnosis.

"I like reading where my mind was at to remind myself of just how far I've come," McNally said.

In each case, Facebook's message stated that if you think your account was disabled by mistake, you have 30 days to submit more information, including a picture ID, for review.

The message warns that your account will be permanently deleted after that.

Each sent in the information but said they quit hearing back and never regained access to their accounts.

"You're one person in millions of billions that have a problem and that can make fixing it really hard,"

We've heard from dozens of viewers about this. CNET's Joan Solsman confirms Facebook has no number for users to call.

Now, California Attorney General Rob Bonta is joining 39 other attorneys general in saying the company can and must do better to protect its users

"Facebook and Instagram users spend years building their personal and professional lives on these platforms.....Having an account taken over by a bad actor can be a traumatizing, expensive, and time-consuming event for users."

After we got involved, Facebook restored Snyder and McNally's accounts.

"The hackers are winning, and it's people like me and everyone else who's been affected by this that are losing," McNally said.

The attorneys general pointed out that Meta laid off 11,000 workers around the time we started reporting on these issues. Many of these workers were focused on security.

The states want a formal meeting with Meta over the issue.

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