Facebook Leaked Content Moderators’ Identities to Suspected Terrorists

The bug in the company’s system has since been fixed

The identities of several Facebook content moderators were accidentally leaked to suspected terrorist groups using the social media network.

Last fall, Facebook groups with connections to ISIS, Hezbollah, and other terrorist organizations were notified when moderators viewed their pages. The administrators of the groups were then able to click on the personal profiles of the Facebook employees. The bug lasted for a month before the company was able to fix it in November.

40 workers on Facebook’s counter-terrorism watch, based in Ireland, had their information compromised — with six of them being flagged as “high priority” victims for having terrorist groups see their profiles. Altogether, more than 1,000 employees, checking for sexual material, hate speech and terrorist propaganda, had their profiles mistakenly shared.

“We care deeply about keeping everyone who works for Facebook safe,” a Facebook spokesman said in a statement to TheWrap. “As soon as we learned about the issue, we fixed it and began a thorough investigation to learn as much as possible about what happened. This included determining exactly which names were possibly viewed and by whom, as well as an assessment of the risk to the affected person.”

Still, at least one of the affected moderators had to quit his job and flee to Eastern Europe to seek cover, according to The Guardian. The man came to Ireland as an Iraqi-refugee as a child, but said it was too dangerous for his family to stay in Dublin after the leaks.

“When you come from a war zone and you have people like that knowing your family name you know that people get butchered for that,” the former moderator told the paper. “The only reason we’re in Ireland was to escape terrorism and threats.”

Facebook offered to pay for security systems for its high-risk moderators, as well as provide transportation to-and-from work. But the former moderator feels the company didn’t go far enough in its efforts. He opened a legal claim against Facebook and his recruitment company this month, seeking compensation for psychological damage.