All Tennessee Bible College student Derrick Stiles can say for sure is he no longer has access to his Facebook page, nor the page he administered for his church.
“I went to log on, and it appeared my account had been hacked,” Stiles said. “The interesting thing is when I went to recover the account, I was unable to reset the password, my email had been changed, my phone number had been deleted, and my trusted friends who were assigned for the purpose of security had been deleted. I had no way of regaining control of the account.”
Stiles, who preaches at Hebron church of Christ in McMinnville, said the issue seems to have begun in the fall of 2020 while he was doing live-stream sermons on the popular global social networking service.
“As we began a certain series of lessons, the video began to cut off or disconnect mid-sermon or lesson,” Stiles said. “We are not certain the main cause. I am not wanting to point the finger of blame; however, we never experienced trouble with our system before.”
Stiles had started a series of lessons on homosexuality, transgenderism and the gay gene.
“We were live-streaming all sermons from the pulpit and recording sessions for the Wednesday night class,” he said. “During that time we never experienced any trouble. The question then became, are we having trouble with the internet service provider or equipment associated with our computer system? We had our internet service provider check our modem and router here at the building, and all was found to be working properly.”
The series continued for about five weeks.
“As we worked through the lessons, the trouble continued to get worse,” Stiles said. “As I preached from the pulpit through December, we eventually got to a point where the live stream would cut off mid-sermon. By the first of January I was led to believe I had been hacked and the account was lost. Possibly the worst part to the loss of my personal Facebook account is that I was the administrator for the church Facebook page. With the loss of my personal account I no longer have access to the page associated with the church.”
He received no notifications on social media.
“I was very frustrated with the situation,” he said. “However, what could I do about it at that point? There is no customer service number to call at Facebook, and the only communication is through a digital chat room where you speak only to a computer.”
Stiles, who is set to graduate from TBC with a bachelor’s degree in religious education in 2022, said the Hebron church now is planning to implement a new camera system to begin streaming live directly from its website.