Following the revelations about Cambridge Analytica’s allegedly-illegal data-mining practices, privacy of user-data has become a touchy subject, especially for Facebook. The company is believed to have nixed earlier plans of announcing its ‘always-on’ smart speakers at its F8 Developer Conference because of the increased scrutiny on the company following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which meant that announcing a device with always-listening functionality was out of the question.
Now, in an effort to show that it is serious about the privacy of its users, Facebook says it has fired an employee who reportedly bragged on Tinder about having access to Facebook user data. Facebook is believed to have started investigating the employee after the incident was reported publicly by Jackie Stokes, a cyber-security consultant and the founder of Spyglass Security.
“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”, the company’s Chief Security Officer Alex Stamos reportedly said in a statement in the lead-up to the firing. Stamos had earlier said that employees can only access the data they need to do their jobs, and anyone found abusing their power “will be fired. Period”.
According to the The Wall Street Journal, the woman who corresponded with the unnamed Facebook security analyst, approached a Spyglass employee on April 20th, complaining that she was ‘terrified’ about being stalked by him following their Tinder interaction. The woman herself is a software engineer, and was concerned that the man had already found out many details about her past projects.
While it’s not entirely clear whether the now-former Facebook employee ever had access to the woman’s Facebook account, Stokes says she believes that the company would not have fired somebody if their investigations hadn’t shown some anomaly somewhere. According to her, “I do not believe that Facebook would have had a knee-jerk reaction and fired an employee without cause”.