If, like us at Grow Traffic, you use Hootsuite to manage social media account you may have found yourself reading the slightly irritating, some would say smug, little Hootsuite owl telling you that one or more of your social media accounts has become disconnected.
So, we thought we’d put on our detective hats (put the kettle on), get out our detective notebook (turn the laptop on) and do some investigating (do some investigating) to find out why is Hootsuite disconnecting social media accounts?
What Is Hootsuite?
Hootsuite is our social media management application of choice. Just in case you haven’t heard of it or don’t know how it works, we will give you a little bit of background.
Hootsuite is the Jools Holland New Year’s Eve progra…oh wait sorry that’s Hootenanny.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that allows you to schedule and post to several social media platforms using a virtual dashboard.
So, for example, you could schedule a weeks’ worth of social media posts to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Which is great and very useful but of late, we have noticed that is disconnecting social media accounts more and more and we think we have a theory as to why…
Data Breaches And Security
There isn’t a day that goes by these days of a data breach on the news. Indeed, just today there is news of yet another Facebook data breach and it appears that the holiday company Truly Travels exposed over 200,000 customer phone calls and data files for three, yes you read that right, three years.
So, it is only natural that companies are fighting back and trying to tighten up their security arrangements and policies.
We already know that LinkedIn requires you to re-enter your credentials annually and we also already know that if you log into Facebook or Google from a new device they usually issue a security notification.
So logically, social media companies will be looking at ways to prevent accounts from being hacked.
Now, this may look like we have got distracted and changed the subject but bear with us for a moment.
Have you ever ordered your coffee and bap, or if you are really posh, a medium de-caff spiced pumpkin latte with extra caramel but skimmed free- range squirrel milk from a small village in Bolivia and bap, pulled out your contactless card, waved it over the payment point and seen the dreaded words “payment declined”?
If you have you will know the panic that follows as you enter your pin number, like they did during the war, and have a sigh of relief when the payment is accepted.
That may seem like a software fault and sometimes it is. But sometimes it’s a way of the card issuer making sure that the person using the card is the authorised person.
For example, you can see that it must have happened with such regularity that Transport For London actually mentions this on their website here.
By having to enter your pin number it provides an extra level of security and the card issuer is happy that everything is hunky-dory and then the contactless payment is re-authorised for the next batch of transactions.
It’s a bit like when you tried to use your bank card when you were on holiday and the card would be declined and the bank would phone you. Imagine that, people actually used their phones to make phone calls?!
So, what if social media companies are using the same logic?
Hootsuite And Shared Passwords
One of the benefits (some say this in itself is a security issue, but that is a blog for another day) of using Hootsuite is that you have one username and password that allows access to all of the social media accounts for one company.
Along with only having to remember one password, it means that if any authorised person, for example, several members of a marketing or social media team, can access that account.
The accounts can be used by more than one person and by more than one person in more than one location.
Which is great, flexible working is increasingly being seen as a normal way of working and this ties into that perfectly.
But imagine if you were the data security team at LinkedIn and you check the data logs of one account.
You see that a LinkedIn account of a plumber in Belfast has been accessed by 5 different devices in 5 different locations, in London, Bacup, Norwich, Devon and Ashby De La Zouch (The only reason I typed Ashby De La Zouch because I like saying it out loud, go on, try it).
So, from a security point of view, this is looking just a little bit suspicious yes? I mean this is what happens when a bank card is stolen and the thieves use it in different locations in order to spend as much money as possible before getting caught.
The LinkedIn security team, either by a member of staff or it may be automated, would want the next step in the security process to kick in.
In fact, it’s for security reasons that LinkedIn disconnects every 365 days.
An email may be sent to the user, but the user knows that the account is being used by different people so the email is ignored.
So, the next logical thing to do is to stop Hootsuite having access to the account and to ask for the login credentials.
Hence the annoying message from the irritating owl telling you the account is disconnected.
Now, it may be a huge coincidence that as data breaches increase and social media companies try out new and stricter security verifications, that we are having to log in with passwords more and more.
Or it may mean the words of flexible working and data security sort of clashing and they are trying to find out new ways to get along…
Reasons Social Networks May Revoke Access According To Hootsuite
Hootsuite has identified a number of reasons why social networks may disconnect. These are the main ones:
- Spamming; social networks may identify the same post being sent more than once as spam.
- The same profile being accessed by multiple users in different locations; access may be revoked for security reasons.
What To Do About It
When a social media disconnects you’re going to get a notification and then there will be a popup every 24 hours, just click on the reconnect button and as long as you’re signed in you’ll be able to connect up.
But you need to review the way you are using Hootsuite. May sure you use the same computer, preferably in the same location. And review the posts you’re putting out there to make sure you’re getting engagement on the different platforms and that you’re not just spamming.
Ultimately, it’s a pain, but it’s something it seems we have to live with.