David Blankenstyn has been a practicing glass artist for the last twenty years.
Since 2014, Blankenstyn has run the Okotoks Hot Glass studio, where he has become known for his blown glass and his glass memorials that contain the ashes of loved ones.
Most of the clientele that Blankenstyn sees heard about his business through Facebook.
But recently, his studio's Facebook page was hacked.
"On September 8th, they got into my Facebook account, and they took over the whole thing," explains Blankenstyn. "So, I even had two-factor authentication on there, which is a thing that really blew my mind. You know, that's the thing that they tell us will keep us safe, don't worry, you're going to get a text alert. But it didn't matter. They found a way to bypass that, and they took full access."
"And for me, this Facebook page has been a huge part of my business. I've invested a lot of time and money, as well, to sort of bring awareness for what I do. I have almost 20,000 followers, and they're all local Okotokers and they're from Calgary and they're Canadians. So, they're not fake people. I've worked really hard to build this Facebook page and I had a lot of trust in it."
While Blankenstyn has regained access to his main Facebook page, the hackers still have control of his Ad Account, making it appear as though he is a new business on Facebook.
"With algorithms and things, it's very important that you're consistent and you don't cancel the ad account, and you pay it on time, because when I run ads now, nobody sees them," says Blankenstyn. "With my business, it's super crucial that I am able to reach new people. Because I only see people once. Hopefully every five years or only once, because this in regards for the memorials, where it's somebody passing away, so I don't want to see them often."
Because of this, business has been down by 90 per cent.
Over the eight years that Blankenstyn has run an ad account on Facebook, he estimates he has spent almost $30,000 to help drum up business.
Now Blankenstyn is exploring other ways to use his studio to help bring in business, including teaching classes.
"It's been a nightmare with Facebook. They haven't helped. I have sent, maybe 50 emails and they reply, and they act like they're doing something, but they just don't. It's something on their end that can easily fix it. I just need to get ahold of the right person, but just nobody seems to care, because I am not a big giant corporation. I'm just a small user, I guess."