From Revealed: Facebook exposed identities of moderators to suspected terrorists, by Olivia Solon:
“Facebook put the safety of its content moderators at risk after inadvertently exposing their personal details to suspected terrorist users of the social network, the Guardian has learned.
A bug in the software, discovered late last year, resulted in the personal profiles of content moderators automatically appearing as notifications in the activity log of the Facebook groups, whose administrators were removed from the platform for breaching the terms of service. The personal details of Facebook moderators were then viewable to the remaining admins of the group.
Of the 1,000 affected workers, around 40 worked in a counter-terrorism unit based at Facebook’s European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. Six of those were assessed to be “high priority” victims of the mistake after Facebook concluded their personal profiles were likely viewed by potential terrorists.”
“In one exchange, before the Facebook investigation was complete, D’Souza sought to reassure the moderators that there was “a good chance” any suspected terrorists notified about their identity would fail to connect the dots.
“Keep in mind that when the person sees your name on the list, it was in their activity log, which contains a lot of information,” D’Souza wrote, “there is a good chance that they associate you with another admin of the group or a hacker …”
“I understand Craig,” replied the moderator who ended up fleeing Ireland, “but this is taking chances. I’m not waiting for a pipe bomb to be mailed to my address until Facebook does something about it.”
“The bug in the software was not fixed for another two weeks, on 16 November 2016. By that point the glitch had been active for a month. However, the bug was also retroactively exposing the personal profiles of moderators who had censored accounts as far back as August 2016.
Facebook offered to install a home alarm monitoring system and provide transport to and from work to those in the high risk group. The company also offered counseling through Facebook’s employee assistance program, over and above counseling offered by the contractor, Cpl.
The moderator who fled Ireland was unsatisfied with the security assurances received from Facebook. In an email to D’Souza, he wrote that the high-risk six had spent weeks “in a state of panic and emergency” and that Facebook needed to do more to “address our pressing concerns for our safety and our families”.
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