Facebook has fired one of its security engineers who allegedly abused his position to inappropriately access information that was later used to stalk women online. The social media giant said that it’s currently investigating the matter. Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said that it’s very important that user information is kept safe and secure. According to Stamos, this is, in fact, the reason why Facebook has put in place strict data security policies and technical restrictions on its employees.
Facebook employees can only access the data they need to do their job and nothing else. Any employee who abuses these restrictions and overall security policies at Facebook will be fired, said Stamos. Information about the alleged breach came to light through Twitter on Sunday. Jackie Stokes, the founder and CEO of Spyglass Security, alleged in a tweet that she had received copies of text messages on Tinder that appeared to suggest that an engineer who was working at Facebook had accessed and used privileged information to stalk women online.
After that, Stokes cross-referenced the Tinder profile with the engineer’s other online profiles and determined that he must have be working at Facebook. However, she says that she was never a victim of any kind of privacy breach. The copies of the texts are not yet public and we don’t know their content, except a screenshot which is shown below.
Stokes’s tweet immediately attracted Facebook’s attention. She said that there were numerous employees from Facebook who reached out to her immediately after sending out the tweet to try to help her. Facebook also notified Stokes that the engineer in question had been fired. This was a huge relief for the Spyglass founder who said that it was really great to see Facebook investigate the matter and take decisive action against the person involved.
Stokes wrote on her Twitter profile that everybody online deserves to be safe and social media platforms must act fast if user trust is in jeopardy. It’s clear that Facebook reacted to the matter immediately. Even though the termination of the involved engineer will not bring closure to the whole matter, it was a clear indication that Facebook is really prioritizing customer privacy over everything else.
Facebook has been under fire over the last few months for its privacy practices. The Cambridge Analytica scandal was one of the biggest privacy breaches in Facebook’s history. Over 87 million users were affected by the breach. The UK data firm was accused of harvesting user data on Facebook and using it inappropriately for political ads.
Facebook knew that Cambridge Analytica was harvesting data since 2013 but the company did very little to stop this. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress for the first time after the scandal. The last thing Facebook needed now was another privacy scandal. User trust is already weak at the moment and this could explain why this latest incident involving the software engineer was handled swiftly.