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Facebook Engineer Abused Access To User Data To Track Woman That Left Him After a Fight, New Book Says

Published by Slashdot on Fri, 16 Jul 2021


A Facebook engineer abused employee access to user data to track down a woman who had left him after they fought, a new book said. Business Insider reports: Between January 2014 and August 2015, the company fired 52 employees over exploiting user data for personal means, said an advance copy of "An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination" that Insider obtained. The engineer, who is unnamed, tapped into the data to "confront" a woman with whom he had been vacationing in Europe after she left the hotel room they had been sharing, the book said. He was able to figure out her location at a different hotel. Another Facebook engineer used his employee access to dig up information on a woman with whom he had gone on a date after she stopped responding to his messages. In the company's systems, he had access to "years of private conversations with friends over Facebook messenger, events attended, photographs uploaded (including those she had deleted), and posts she had commented or clicked on," the book said. Through the Facebook app the woman had installed on her phone, the book said, the engineer was also able to see her location in real time. Facebook employees were granted user data access in order to "cut away the red tape that slowed down engineers," the book said. "There was nothing but the goodwill of the employees themselves to stop them from abusing their access to users' private information," wrote Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, the book's authors. They added that most of the employees who abused their employee privileges to access user data only looked up information, although a few didn't stop there. Most of the engineers who took advantage of access to user data were "men who looked up the Facebook profiles of women they were interested in," the book said. Facebook told Insider it fired employees found to have accessed user data for nonbusiness purposes.Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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