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Facebook investigating claims that employee used "privileged access" to stalk women

By midian182
May 1, 2018
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  1. While today marks the start of Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, the company is also busy dealing with a number of other recent issues. First, there was WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum’s announcement that he is leaving, reportedly due to clashes with Facebook over privacy concerns. Now, the social network is investigating allegations that one of its engineers used the firm’s data to stalk women online.

    The accusations arrived yesterday in the form of a tweet from Spyglass Security founder Jackie Stokes. "I've been made aware that a security engineer currently employed at Facebook is likely using privileged access to stalk women online," she wrote. "I have Tinder logs. What should I do with this information?"

    Facebook confirmed it was aware of Stokes’ allegations and was investigating, but said it couldn’t comment on any individual personal matters.

    "We maintain strict technical controls and policies to restrict employee access to user data," Facebook said, in a statement. "Access is scoped by job function, and designated employees are only allowed to access the amount of information that's necessary to carry out their job responsibilities, such as responding to bug reports, account support inquiries, or valid legal requests.”

    "We have a zero-tolerance approach to abuse, and improper behavior results in termination," the company added.

    While we don't know all the details, the situation comes at a time when Facebook’s approach to how it handles user information is being put under a microscope. The Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw Mark Zuckerberg appear before Congress is still fresh in people’s minds, and Koum’s decision to leave the company he co-founded was partly a result of Facebook's privacy policies, though it was made before the current data harvesting crisis.

    Accusations that a Facebook worker was using their access to company data to stalk women mirrors similar allegations made against Uber in 2016. A lawsuit from one of the ride-hailing firm’s former workers claimed some employees monitored the accounts of “high profile politicians, celebrities, and even personal acquaintances,” including ex-partners.

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  2. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 638   +311

    I once worked in a telecom operator where a guy working there used to read all text messages sent to/from his girlfriend to see if she was cheating on him.
    This story on Facebook is nothing special - the same abuses of power are happening in hundreds of companies every day.
    At least FB appears to be taking the accusation seriously.
     
  3. VBKing

    VBKing TS Enthusiast Posts: 49   +24

    "We maintain strict technical controls and policies to restrict employee access to user data," Facebook said, in a statement. "Access is scoped by job function, and designated employees are only allowed to access the amount of information that's necessary to carry out their job responsibilities, such as responding to bug reports, account support inquiries, or valid legal requests.”

    Wait... What? Am I missing something here?
    If I'm reading this correctly, it took someone from some OTHER company to notice / find / snoop this out? If so, then Facebook's statement that they have policies and controls in place to prevent this problem is just a lie.
     
  4. commanderasus

    commanderasus TS Addict Posts: 224   +95

    FaceMash, Facebook’s predecessor, opened in 2003. Developed by Mark Zuckerborg, he wrote the software for the Facemash website when he was in his second year of college. The website was set up as a type of "hot or not" game for Harvard students. The website allowed visitors to compare two female student pictures side-by-side and let them decide who was hot or not.

    While writing the software, Mark Zuckerborg wrote the following blog entries:

    I'm a little intoxicated, not gonna lie. So what if it's not even 10 pm and it's a Tuesday night? What? The Kirkland dormitory facebook is open on my desktop and some of these people have pretty horrendiedous facebook pics. I almost want to put some of these faces next to pictures of some farm animals and have people vote on which is more attractive. —2:49 pm

    Yea, it's on. I'm not exactly sure how the farm animals are going to fit into this whole thing (you can't really ever be sure with farm animals...), but I like the idea of comparing two people together. —11:10 am

    Same same as before nothing changes when your a Borg
     

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