Facebook Engineer Fired for Creepy Tinder Messages

  • Thursday, May 10 2018 @ 11:30 am
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A Facebook engineer was fired for exploiting his position and access to personal information of Facebook users, according to website Tech Crunch. It’s reported that the firing resulted after the engineer’s messages with a match on Tinder were shared with company executives.

Over Twitter, Spyglass Security Founder Jackie Stokes revealed that someone she knew received “creepy messages” over Tinder, and she had confirmed it was an engineer employed by Facebook.

Stokes then posted a screenshot of the offender’s message, where he called himself a “professional stalker” and claimed to have access to the user’s personal data. He also shared private information about the user via their messages, information that she hadn’t shared publicly on social media.

Jackie Tweeted: I should mention that I confirmed this individual works at FB through cross reference of his Tinder profile pic and LinkedIn
Jackie Tweeted: I should mention that I confirmed this individual works at FB through cross reference of his Tinder profile pic and LinkedIn

Facebook then reached out to Stokes for more information. Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, gave the following statement:

“We are investigating this as a matter of urgency. It’s important that people’s information is kept secure and private when they use Facebook. It’s why we have strict policy controls and technical restrictions so employees only access the data they need to do their jobs – for example to fix bugs, manage customer support issues or respond to valid legal requests. Employees who abuse these controls will be fired.”

According to Facebook, there are automated controls in place for when employees are accessing data outside of their scope of work, such as permission authorizations, but this did not seem to be the case for the offending engineer. Once Facebook looked into it, he was promptly fired.

Website Motherboard also reported that there were multiple employees at Facebook who have been accessing user data for their own purposes, such as to stalk an ex. Facebook has not responded to this accusation.

Facebook has been in the news a lot recently for privacy concerns. Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of Congress over issues surrounding the 2016 U.S. election, where research firm Cambridge Analytica stole data from over 87 million of the company’s users. In early May, a few weeks after Zuckerberg’s hearing, the social media giant announced it is moving into the online dating industry, which is not such great timing with privacy and security concerns looming.

The engineer’s story and subsequent firing surfaced shortly after Facebook made its big online dating announcement, making the issue of data security front and center once again for the company. Some experts have been scratching their heads not only at the security issue, but at the viability of Facebook’s move into an already-saturated market.

One thing is certain: Facebook has to make a case that users can trust their personal information is being protected, which remains to be seen.