Facebook fires employee accused of bragging about his access to private user information

Facebook Inc on 3 May said that it fired an employee accused of bragging on matchmaking app Tinder about his access to private user information.

Facebook. Reuters.

Facebook. Reuters.

The incident comes as Facebook faces global concerns about personal data privacy, including Congressional hearings at which CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified. A Twitter user earlier on 30 April posted screenshots of the Tinder conversation, saying Facebook's security engineer is "likely using privileged access to stalk women online".

In the unverified screenshot, the employee in question writes of being a “professional stalker” searching for hackers. Jackie Stokes, founder of Spyglass Securities, had confirmed from LinkedIn, Tinder and various other profiles that said employee was indeed a Facebook security engineer.

A Facebook spokesperson had reportedly said then that Facebook's security engineers have access to information which they deem to be necessary for dealing with bug reports, account support inquiries and legal requests.

In a statement, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said that the company quickly investigated the situation and immediately fired the person. Access to sensitive data is logged, and the company has automated systems designed to detect and prevent abuse, Stamos said.

“Employees who abuse these controls will be fired — period.” The firing was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

This puts yet another question mark over internet companies' use of user data and the difficulty in preventing misuse.

With inputs from Reuters.

Updated Date: May 03, 2018 09:39 AM