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Fears over social media hacking are rising: how to keep your accounts safe

Worried your social media accounts might get hacked? You’re not alone. According to a new NordVPN study, most Americans fear falling victim to social media hacking. So, should you be losing sleep over being hacked? And what can you do to boost your social media account security?

Ema Globytė

Ema Globytė

Fears over social media hacking are rising: how to keep your accounts safe

The fear of getting hacked is real

We all know that social media has many privacy and security issues. From your personal data being exposed to ever-rising social media scams, you have plenty to be concerned about.

And now, a new NordVPN study has shown that 7 in 10 (70%) of Americans worry their social media accounts might get hacked, with nearly a third (30%) saying they’re very concerned.

These fears are not surprising — most of those surveyed reported that they know someone who fell victim to social media hacking.

Nine in 10 surveyed (89%) said they know someone whose profile has been hacked, with 28% saying they know 5 to 10 victims of social media hacking. Fifteen percent of respondents said they know more than ten people who have been hacked on social media.

The fears seem to be growing, with 76% reporting they’re more concerned now compared to the past years.

Social media hacking fears infographic

Nearly 2 in 5 have had their accounts hacked

It’s not just people they know — many Americans have actually experienced social media account hacking firsthand. Thirty-seven percent reported having had their accounts hacked.

Out of those hacked, nearly 8 out of 10 (77%) said their Facebook account was hacked, while 35% reported someone hacked their Instagram account. Twenty-four percent said their Twitter or YouTube account was hacked, and 23% said someone hacked their TikTok account.

Twenty-four percent said their Twitter or YouTube account was hacked, and 23% said someone hacked their TikTok account.

Platforms people are most concerned about

When asked which platform people are most concerned about being hacked on, nearly a third admitted they worry about Facebook.

Facebook was followed by TikTok (26%), then Snapchat (21%).

  • Facebook – 32%
  • TikTok – 26%
  • Snapchat – 21%
  • Instagram – 20%
  • Twitter – 19%
  • YouTube – 18%

Trust in social media apps could be higher

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the anxiety over getting hacked coincides with a general lack of trust in social media.

When asked which app they trust the most with their privacy and data, less than half of respondents chose Facebook (47%).

Apps like Truth Social and Discord received the least amount of trust, with 9% of respondents saying they trust Discord and only 7% saying they trust Truth Social the most.

  • Facebook – 47%
  • YouTube – 43%
  • Instagram – 29%
  • Twitter – 20%
  • TikTok – 20%
  • Snapchat – 19%
  • Pinterest – 17%
  • Reddit – 12%
  • Discord – 9%
  • Truth Social – 7%

The survey also asked respondents which app they trust the least. Facebook was selected the most here, too, confirming the largest social media platform has some work to do when it comes to trust.

  • Facebook – 34%
  • TikTok – 33%
  • Twitter – 23%
  • Snapchat – 22%
  • Instagram – 20%
  • Truth Social – 18%
  • Discord – 17%
  • Pinterest – 15%
  • YouTube – 14%
  • Discord – 9%

How to protect yourself from hackers on social media

The study results are clear — concern is rising over social media hacking. However, the good news is that you can take several steps to keep your accounts safe.

  • Choose a strong password. Don’t make it easy for hackers. A password should contain at least 12 characters and a variety of letters. Never use dictionary words or reuse old passwords because they’re so much easier to guess. If you’re looking for ways to store encrypted passwords, check out NordPass, our next-generation password manager.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (2FA). Two-factor authentication provides an extra layer of security by asking you to verify your identity using two methods when logging in. Many social media sites offer this feature, so enable it to make accessing your account extra complicated for hackers.
  • Enable new device login alerts. New login alerts help protect your account by letting you know someone has logged in. That someone could be you — or a hacker. You’ll usually get notifications by email, text, or the app. Login alerts are easy to set up in your notification settings on most social media platforms.
  • Think twice before clicking on links. If someone has shared a link with you on social media, make sure you know it’s authentic before clicking on it. Hover over it and examine the URL to see where the link is going. If it looks suspicious, don’t risk it.
  • Make your accounts as private as possible. Use this privacy checklist to make your social media accounts more private. Privacy increases your security, so it’s wise to make privacy tweaks that decrease your chances of having your social media accounts hacked.

Methodology: A national online survey of 1,022 U.S. consumers ages 18 and over was conducted by Propeller Insights on behalf of NordVPN in April of 2021. Survey responses were nationally representative of the U.S. population for age, gender, region, and ethnicity.


Ema Globytė
Ema Globytė Ema Globytė
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