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Alberta glass blower's business in jeopardy after Facebook account hacked, disabled

The owner of Okotoks Hot Glass estimates his sales are down 95 per cent after he lost access to his Facebook ad account.

The owner of a unique Okotoks-area small business is reeling after hackers nearly decimated his operation. 

David Blankenstyn operates Okotoks Hot Glass that specializes in glass memorials incorporating cremation ashes in their design.

Business was good until hackers got past his two-factor authentication and accessed his Facebook account in September, leaving him unable to access his ad account and severely impacting his business, Blankenstyn said. 

“It's completely disabled, and I've been messaging Facebook, (saying) I need to get that ad account back,” he said.

Most of his clients came from Facebook and sales are down 95 per cent since he lost his account, he said.

“I put all my effort into this Facebook page, which has 20,000 followers," he said. 

Blankenstyn said he’s paid $30,000 for ads on the social media platform over the years, but multiple requests to the company for help have gone nowhere. He said the experience makes him regret being so reliant on one social media platform. 

“You have no recourse,” he said. “You can't go down to the Facebook store.

“This was working for me, and it was good, but I completely regret it.” 

Although he can still boost posts, it’s to a new ad account that has no history, he said.

“It's like I don't exist again, so that's the real problem," he said. “Any customer that you paid to get, once that ad account is blocked, now they don't see you anymore." 

Blankenstyn has been glass blowing for 20 years. His memorial pieces proved to be popular, and he formed a deep connection with many of his customers, but the situation has put his business in limbo, he said. 

“Being an entrepreneur, there's always ups and downs,” he said. "But you think if you get to a certain plateau that you're safe.

“I put so much effort into this, and just to think it can go that quickly is ridiculous.” 

With furnaces in the glass studio on around the clock, Blankenstyn said he is considering teaching classes to help meet overhead costs, although he is hopeful the problem can be resolved and business can return to normal.

“I need to get (the account) back, because I have big plans,” he said. 

The Western Wheel reached out the Meta, the parent company of Facebook, for comment but did not get a response.

Robert Korotyszyn

About the Author: Robert Korotyszyn

Robert Korotyszyn covers Okotoks and Foothills County news for and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact [email protected]
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