A report by the Wall Street Journal has claimed that Meta fired or disciplined more than two dozen employees and contractors over the last year who allegedly hijacked accounts and in some cases demanded bribes.
The bombshell report says that some of those fired were security guards stationed at Meta’s facilities who had access to Meta’s internal mechanism for helping users having trouble with their accounts.
The WSJ also interviewed companies who claim to charge social media users for access to insiders willing to retrieve accounts despite company policy.
Facebook and Instagram users locked out of their accounts and unable to contact Meta resorted to seeking outside sources with contacts inside Meta who were willing to unlock accounts for them.
The WSJ says that it has viewed documents where Meta staff accepted thousands of dollars in bribes from hackers to compromise or access users’ accounts.
Offenders are said to have accessed Meta’s recovery tool “Oops,” a shorthand for Online Operations.
As noted by Engadget, the Oops tool allows workers to file reports about inaccessible accounts and there is a mechanism which allows them to take back control.
The tool was designed by Meta to only be used by public personalities or family members. However, the use of the tool has reportedly climbed in recent years.
“Individuals selling fraudulent services are always targeting online platforms, including ours, and adapting their tactics in response to the detection methods that are commonly used across the industry,” Meta communications director Andy Stone tells CNBC.
The terminations and disciplinary action came about as a result of an internal investigation led by Meta executives into the abuse of the internal Oops system.
Trouble in the Valley
Last week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg sent a 06:00 email laying off 11,000 staff, equivalent to 13 percent of its workforce.
In a message to employees, Zuckerberg took “accountability” for the job cuts and admitted that the situation at Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, was far worse than he expected.
Zuckerberg has continued to pump money into Reality Labs, the company’s metaverse division even though it has made a $3.7 billion loss over the past three months, with no end to losses in immediate sight.
Zuckerberg says he is confident that the company’s spending on the metaverse will pay off — but not for another decade.