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Facebook keeps a track of users that it considers a threat with its apps

The list is updated every week and it was initially created back in 2008. According to reports from 2016, it contains “hundreds of people”.

  • Published: February 15, 2019 6:30 PM IST
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Facebook is not having a good month or a rather good last couple of years. A new report has emerged indicating that the company uses its platform and different apps to keep a track of users that it considers a threat. As part of keeping a track, the company continuously monitors the location of the users. Facebook constantly monitors its platform for threats against the company, its workers and offices and then tracks users who present themselves as a threat after putting threatening messages against the company.

The former security employees who worked at the company added that the tracking only happens if the users are put in the “Be On the Lookout” (BOLO) list. According to a report by CNBC which was later picked up by The Verge, Facebook uses its own infrastructure to take real-time location data and the IP addresses accessed by the accounts of the user in question. It is worth noting that other companies also do that same but they don’t really deal in real-time location and other pieces of data to track threats.

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According to the report, some of the former employees termed such strategies “very Big Brother-esque” while others agree with the strategy. They state that with 2.7 billion users across different services, even 0.0.1 percent users posing threat would mean about 270,000 potential risks. The report points out at the ethical side of gathering data to track such treats as well as the responsibility of the company to provide a working environment that is free of dangers that may cause serious physical harm or death.

The BOLO list is updated every week and it was initially created back in 2008 and contains “hundreds of people”. The company sends a report to its security professionals about each new person that is added with data including name, general location, photo, and a small description of why they are on the BOLO list. It also points out that there is no specific guideline about adding a user to the list of credible threats as the list has people who have simply posted “F*** you, Mark” or event “F*** Facebook” according to former Facebook workers. However, the company states that it reviews the cases rigorously to check the “validity of the threat”.

The report also indicated that the company adds employees to the list that have been fired and the process is “really subjective”. Sometimes employees ask the team to add former employees to the list without any particular reason though the company refuted such claims. It also added that the security team and the company can call extra guards or even call local law enforcement to deal with any serious situation.

  • Published Date: February 15, 2019 6:30 PM IST