On Monday, Motherboard reported that Facebook was investigating a claim that one of its employees used access to data granted by their job to stalk women online. Facebook has since terminated the employee, Facebook confirmed to Motherboard on Tuesday, coincidentally shortly after the social media giant announced its upcoming dating service. NBC News was the first to report the termination.
“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,” Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief information security officer, told Motherboard in a statement.
The stalking incident was first flagged by Jackie Stokes, founder of Spyglass Security, in a tweet posted Monday.
“I’ve been aware that a security engineer currently employed at Facebook is likely using privileged access to stalk women online. I have Tinder logs. What should I do with this information?” Stokes’ tweet read. Shortly after, Stokes told Motherboard in a Twitter direct message that she provided the relevant details to Stamos.
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Stokes also tweeted a chat message screenshot, in which the Facebook employee apparently jokingly describes themselves as a “professional stalker,” due to their work position.
“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,” Stamos’ statement continued.
On Tuesday at the Facebook developers conference F8, the company announced users will soon be able to opt-in to create a dating profile on Facebook. Facebook explained that “potential matches will be recommended based on dating preferences, things in common, and mutual friends. They’ll have the option to discover others with similar interests through their Groups or Events,” TechCrunch reported.