Facebook is investigating whether or not an employee used internal tools to stalk women online, the social network confirmed to TheWrap on Monday.
“Although we can’t comment on any individual personnel matters, we are aware of the situation and investigating,” a Facebook spokesperson told TheWrap. “We maintain strict technical controls and policies to restrict employee access to user data. Access is scoped by job function, and designated employees are only allowed to access the amount of information that’s necessary to carry out their job responsibilities, such as responding to bug reports, account support inquiries, or valid legal requests. We have a zero-tolerance approach to abuse, and improper behavior results in termination.”
The accusation was brought to public attention by Spyglass Security founder Jackie Stokes on Sunday. Stokes herself does not appear to have interacted with the employee
“I’ve been made aware that a security engineer currently employed at Facebook is likely using privileged access to stalk women online,” tweeted Stokes. “I have Tinder logs. What should I do with this information?”
Stokes included a screenshot of a text conversation she says was held with the unnamed employee. “You’re a security analyst? I think that’s really cool,” one of the parties wrote.
“Haha more than that.. but based off that.. I also try to figure out who hackers are in real life.. so professional stalker,” the unnamed Facebook employee replied, adding an emoji widely used to convey joking tone, though the intent in this instance is unclear. “So out of habit I have to say you are hard to find lol,” the unnamed employee continued.
“Wow lol Is that what you’re currently doing? Trying to Internet stalk me?” the other unnamed party replies.
Stokes said in a follow up tweet that she possessed copies of additional communication between the two people that was more concerning.
Stokes also said she confirmed it was a Facebook employee by cross referencing his Tinder and LinkedIn accounts.
— Jackie Stokes ???????? (@find_evil) April 30, 2018
Facebook has not stated whether or not the person in question is an employee.
The accusation comes amid intense public and private sector criticism of Facebook for its handling of user privacy, following the revelation up to 87 million users were hit by the Cambridge Analytica data leak.