If you spend any amount of time on facebook then you have probably seen when a friend has been "hacked" on their facebook account. What they usually mean is someone has created a fake account that looks identical and is trying to friend all their friends. As someone who has truly experienced being hacked, this is not being hacked, this is being impersonated. I would like to explain the difference and what to do about each if it happens along with some other misnomers and some preventative tips.
When someone creates an identical facebook page to yours it does not mean you are hacked. It means that someone with wrong intentions has access to your photos and/or personal information and you probably gave it to them. They usually create identical profiles and try to friend your friends for one of two reasons. They are in sales and figure that your friends will be more likely to purchase things from "you" or they want to scam your friends out of money pretending to be you.
If you are being impersonated then it is probably by someone who has access to your information on facebook. It can be a random person who friended you, another impersonated account you are friends with or you are showing too much info on your facebook account. If someone impersonates you then your friends will likely let you know about it. If it happens just simply report it to facebook. They will probably not let you know much but they usually quietly take care of the impersonated account. It is also a good idea to change your profile picture to something updated, change your password and let your friends know in a post that someone is impersonating you.
To prevent impersonation from happening you can manage the settings on your facebook account. The first thing to do is keep your friends list private. You can do this by clicking on your name in the blue bar. Next scroll down to friends section. Click on little arrow to the right side of friends box. Click "Edit Privacy". Where it asks who can see your friends list click "friends" or "only me". Click "done". If you choose "friends" then be aware that any random people who you friend will have access to this information but it will give you an idea who may be impersonating (someone on your friend list).
One more little change can help with impersonation problems. Click on Arrow in blue bar. Click "settings". Click "Public Posts" (left column). To the right of Who Can Follow Me, Click on little world. Change to Friends. This eliminates complete strangers from seeing your posts without adding you as their friend.
Being hacked means they have access to your account and they can change your password and then have full control of your facebook account. This is a different monster all the way around. Many times people will have someone posting spam or smut on their facebook page that they can't even see the posts themselves but it is posted in their name for all their friends to see. This may or may not mean they have been hacked. Usually not and I will explain how and why.
Remember those quizzes on facebook? You know those that supposedly tell you something about yourself if you take it? Some of those quizzes and other apps you click on while scrolling through facebook will ask for permission to post the results on your facebook page and many times we click right through these permissions without thinking. We do it on apps on our phones and computers and on facebook because apps have become a way of life and who wants to spend the time reading all those permissions when we can move on to the good stuff with just a click. That is how you probably gave access to the spammers. They haven't truly hacked you in this case, they just have permission to post things to your account and that one thoughtless click of yours gave them access.
Because we often give permissions this way it is a good idea to review your permissions often and delete any that we don't know or remember. You can do this by clicking on the little arrow in the blue bar (to the right side). Click "Settings". Click "Apps"(left column). A list of all apps with permissions on your facebook will pop up. Click "Show All". If you don't remember or know an app then remove their permission by clicking "X" when you hover over the app with your mouse. You can also edit permissions on apps by clicking on the little pencil. You can also scroll down and click "Apps Others Use" and change the information on your profile available to the apps that your friends or others use. Simply uncheck any boxes you don't want them to access and then click "save". Remember to go back and take away permission from any questionable app or quiz immediately after using any and that will help keep your account secure.
If your account is actually hacked by someone where they have complete access and control and can even change your password then you will need to get into your facebook account as soon as possible and change the password. If they have already locked you out then you will need to contact facebook. There are some safety measures that you can have in place that will help if someone actually hacks into your account. Click on arrow on right side of blue bar. Click "Settings". Next click "Security" (left Column). Click on each of these items and review them. Change anything you desire to improve your security and alert you in event of a breach. DO NOT DEACTIVATE your account! This will make it go away (Unless you want it to go away)! You can also click "Mobile" from list on left and review these as well. It is actually a great idea to review all the items in the list to the left and make sure that every setting is as you desire. You might be surprised how many settings you can personalize.
If your facebook account was compromised and actually hacked then it is a really good idea to make sure that your other social media accounts are secure as well as your email. Many times our social media was compromised because we inadvertently clicked a link in our email that gave crooks access to our email. It is so quick too. This happened to me once.
I was checking email on my phone and clicked a link in an email without thinking (Don't do this! Go to the website from an app or browser instead!!!) It immediately took me to a page that was African in origin and then went black. The link gave the crooks access to my email. They immediately changed my email password to lock me out and even accessed and changed my backup email account! Because, I did not have the proper safeguards, they had possibility of access to my bank accounts, social media, website, etc.
It was a pretty horrendous day. The first email account was with a little known company and I lost that email account completely and it took the company weeks to even get it shut down (no more accounts with them!) I was quickly able to get back control of my Gmail because I did have safeguards in place there (a text message when password is changed and because I use Google chrome they ask me if access was ok when I log on the net again in Chrome). I spent the day systematically going to every online account (Thank God, I had them listed in a book). I changed passwords and log in information. Some had to be called on the phone to take care of. It took about 2 days to get everything safe again.
It was hard but it was possible, so if the worst happens to you just act quickly. Take care of the most important accounts first such as anything tied to your money. Next work in order of importance from there until everything is safe again. Also, it is a good idea to have all your accounts, numbers, log in info, passwords and any other pertinent information listed in a book. An address book will work for this or any smallish notebook, or spiral bound will work. Be sure to keep this book in a safe location.
If possible it is a good idea to access from a different device than what you clicked the link (Just in case it gave the hacker access to see everything you type in that device). It happened on my phone so, they didn't have access to that but I did switch to my laptop to change my information just in case.
Hopefully, you will never have a hacker but now you will know what to do and you have some tips for preventing it.