Alright, for those of you who give a rat’s ass and want to know what’s going on over here at the blog, I have a follow up about the last post – Authentication frustration. I doubt that many of you really care whether you get an update but just in case you are interested or simply run into the issue yourself, here is the info you might need.
Two-factor authentication is a royal pain in the ass. It is unfortunate that it is even needed, but that is the state of society these days. There’s a whole bunch of really stupid, bad people out there.
While Instagram and Facebook have the ability to set up two factor authentication, I would recommend NOT using it and just having a really, really strong password. The unfortunate truth is that this social media giant has a process that is broken, meaning you may or may not be able to access your account if you ever need to use it. Based on scouring the internet, I would say there are a large number of people who have lost their accounts due to the fact that the text message for the two factor authenticator never gets generated or sent (not sure which, but either way nothing shows up in your messages). Thus, leaving people stuck and locked out of their accounts.
I’ll tell you what, it was a couple of frustrating and worrisome days trying to get back into my accounts.
Yes, you read that right. I WAS able to get back into both of my Instagram accounts. But it wasn’t without a lot of hassle and frustration.
The “help” documentation provided by Instagram is annoying, poorly written, and ultimately doesn’t really help. There is no clear way to contact customer support if none of their suggestions work. It is just a mind numbing maze of FAQs that don’t really point you in a clear direction if you ultimately still need assistance. It would have been especially helpful if along with the “How to set up two factor authentication” FAQ there was also a FAQ for “What do I do if two factor authentication isn’t working as it should?” A “click here” link to fill out a support ticket would have been just awesome.
As it turns out, I somehow stumbled upon a place to submit a “help ticket” in the app and eventually got a response via email. The place I filled out the form said I would receive an email from Instagram. Low and behold, I got a rather suspicious looking email from Facebook. This email was signed by “The Instagram Team” and outlined steps to begin the recovery process. Luckily, I had seen and read a blog post by someone else that outlined the process they went through to recover their account. The email they described sounded very similar to the one I received so I wasn’t as suspicious as I would normally be.
“Please reply to the message and attach a photo of yourself holding a hand-written copy of the code below: XXXXXXXXX”
Then followed other instructions about how to submit the photo. I followed the instructions and replied to the email. About 30 minutes later I got another response with more steps to take for account verification. I followed those steps and then another email arrived. Within two hours I was back into my account and turned off two factor authentication.
What a freaking hassle!
Anyway, after all is said and done, the world has been set right again. I know you might not be all that keen on dealing with social media and whatnot, but truth be told – those that use it have memories stored there and have distant family access there. In the case of one account, I have a huge number of hours in creation and curation of posts there. It’s an investment, whether we like to admit it or not. Losing access to a social media account can be stressful.
I seriously hope you never have to deal with this.