Community Starts Here
On Christmas Eve, I was trying my best to get home to my children after visiting my father who had been hospitalized in Florida. At the Tampa airport, I switched off my phone for the first of two flights home.
When I landed in Texas, I powered up my phone and noticed right away that I had over 100 text messages, which I can tell you has never happened before in such a short time. I also had over 40 missed calls, so it was quite easy for me to think, “Uh oh, Houston…we have a problem.” (Especially since I had just landed there!) I quickly dialed the first number, which belonged to an LWB team member. She told me that our Facebook page had been hacked and that the people responsible were posting things we definitely wouldn’t want kids to see.
After wondering “Who hacks a charity helping orphaned kids on Christmas Eve?,” my next thought was “How do we stop them from posting more awful things?”
I had several hours of waiting in the airport, so I frantically began searching everything I could find on how to contact Facebook. Not surprisingly, it is impossible to just ring up Mark Zuckerberg and ask him to help fix your charity page. (Mark, if you’re reading this, can you send me your number for the future?) In fact, it is impossible at first glance to ring up anyone at Facebook, as everything is a well-constructed circle of online forms to complete.
I was getting nowhere fast, and as the hackers had removed me as an administrator to the page, I could do nothing but watch as they posted one inappropriate thing after another to our supporters’ news feed. (Quick side note: the most humorous comment someone posted under one of the awful postings was “Wow, that is a charity which truly has no boundaries!”) AAAAHHHH!
That’s when I took our problem straight to all of you. I posted news of what had happened on my personal FB page and said, “If anyone has any ideas, let me know.” The response was just incredible. Hundreds of people took the time to report us as a hacked site to Facebook, which I know had to alert them. Others sent suggestion after suggestion on ways to regain control of our page.
While at the airport, I got a message from a woman named Lindsey, whose husband Brian is an IT specialist. These two incredible people have never met me, but they spent hours and hours trying to figure out a way to stop the postings. Hours on CHRISTMAS EVE. When I told them I felt so terrible they were spending this special day on their computers for LWB, they told me that Christmas Eve was a wonderful day to help a charity. How awesome is that?
Other friends sent names of Facebook employees they knew, and I was struck so strongly by the unselfishness and caring that you showed us. We literally had an entire virtual army of people trying to help, and within 24 hours we were able to regain our Facebook page, which is pretty darn amazing considering it was the holidays. A wonderful woman who works at Facebook even took the time to contact me on Christmas Day to let me know it was all back to normal.
I told my kids that we sure were blessed to see such pure and genuine kindness this holiday season.
I want to take this time to thank everyone who is part of our incredible community to help children in need. You all are a force of nature when it comes to making sure children get the help they need! I know our TVs and internet feeds are often filled with stories of bad news, but I am so blessed EVERY SINGLE DAY to see just how much goodness there is in the world. You humble me with your compassion and generosity, from volunteering to donating to lifting up kids who are hurting.
This is community in action, and all of us at LWB are so blessed to get to work side by side with you to make a difference in the world. Thank you so much!
~Amy Eldridge, Chief Executive Officer