Facebook’s stalker problem

  • 11 May 2018
  • jwoodie
Facebook’s stalker problem

Facebook has faced an enormous amount of criticism for the cavalier way in which it allowed third parties to access users’ personal data. But the company also has an internal data security problem that’s more than a little creepy:

Facebook said it fired a security engineer accused of using his company position to stalk women.

The digital trail lead investigators to the online dating site Tinder, where we pick up the story:

In it, the employee said he was a "security analyst" whose role in trying to identify who hackers were in real life made him a "professional stalker." He then told the person, "so out of habit I have to say you are hard to find lol." Stokes later tweeted that the exchange was only a limited snippet of the overall conversation.

Referring to the person the Facebook analyst was chatting with, Stokes also wrote, "I have a suspicion that her Instagram account which was connected to Tinder was used to identify her. The question is whether he was able to find the information he gave her in chat (which caused her, a software engineer herself, to be terrified) by identifying her on Facebook."

Facebook conducted an internal investigation, found out the allegations were true, and fired the offending employee. It’s not the first time this has happened.

We’ve written in the past about government spy agencies who’ve had similar problems – employees using sensitive data to track down and harass ex-lovers, former employers, and so on.

With so much personal data at their fingertips, it’s easy to see why some would be tempted to abuse it.

The lesson: enjoy social media. But always be aware that your privacy on those sites is only as good as the people who make those sites possible.

Or think of it this way: don’t post anything online you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of your hometown newspaper.