facebook secret police
(LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images)
Money-Advice-Trust

Social networking giant Facebook on Thursday said it has fired an employee who bragged on Tinder about having access to private user information.

On April 30, Twitter user Jackie Stokes posted online screenshots of a conversation on matchmaking app Tinder, saying Facebook’s security engineer was “likely using privileged access to stalk women online.”

Stokes said she was not the recipient of the messages, and she later tweeted that “many Facebook employees” had reached out to her asking how they could help her. She also praised them for “deft handling of a dicey issue during a time when words and actions matter more than ever”.

“It’s everyone’s issue when someone uses … possible privileged access to the biggest social media network of our time, and privilege of working in infosec [information security] … to lord it over potential partners,” Stokes tweeted.

In a statement, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos said the company fired the person after conducting an investigation. Stamos added that access to sensitive data is logged and that Facebook has automated systems designed to detect and prevent abuse.

“Employees who abuse these controls will be fired — period.”

“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,” Stamos said.

This incident comes as Facebook is dealing with global concerns about personal data privacy.

Last month, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg apologised to US lawmakers for the leak of personal data on tens of millions of users.

“It was my mistake, and I’m sorry,” Zuckerberg said in prepared testimony. “I started Facebook, I run it, and I’m responsible for what happens here.”

“It’s clear now that we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm,” he said. “That goes for fake news, foreign interference in elections, and hate speech, as well as developers and data privacy.”