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Small businesses that rely on social media giants like Facebook and Instagram for customer engagement and growth are at risk of cyberattacks by hackers leveraging phishing scams and cyber extortion techniques.

Entrepreneurs such as Pat Bennett, who drove half of her granola business’s sales through Instagram, found herself ensnared in a cyberattack. Through what seemed like a harmless message from a known contact, Bennett lost access to her Instagram and Facebook accounts. She remains locked out despite her best efforts using Meta’s recommended channels. Her ordeal exemplifies the heightened risk small businesses face, especially when a large chunk of their sales relies on these platforms.

Recent surveys by CNBC reveal a worrying trend. Many small business owners are not adequately assessing the cyber risks they face. Yet, in 2021 alone, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received 847,376 complaints concerning cyberattacks, with small businesses suffering the brunt and almost $7 billion in losses.

However, the response from tech behemoths like Meta seems underwhelming. Though Meta cites its ongoing efforts to combat malware and “threat actors,” small businesses argue they’ve not received adequate assistance in tackling the issue.

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