A number of former Facebook workers, who reportedly spoke to CNBC, said that Facebook keeps a lookout on users and their location, in case they are deemed to represent a credible threat. An example of the policy was when Facebook reported a user, who made a veiled threat online in 2018. The company referred the person to its security officers, after finding his location.
"He made a veiled threat that 'Tomorrow everyone is going to pay' or something to that effect," a former Facebook security employee told CNBC.
While the company insists that's its security team merely exists to keep Facebook employees safe, concerns that the corporation oversteps a privacy line may still emerge.
"They use industry-standard measures to assess and address credible threats of violence against our employees and our company, and refer these threats to law enforcement when necessary. We have strict processes designed to protect people's privacy and adhere to all data privacy laws and Facebook's terms of service. Any suggestion our onsite physical security team has overstepped is absolutely false," a Facebook spokesperson said.
The list gets constantly updated with details on a user's name, photo, their general location and a short description of why they were added.
the creepiest part of the BOLO story is that FB used the same surveillance system to spy on interns who were pretending to work from home but were actually on a camping trip pic.twitter.com/OCwbRgEg7y— Olivia Solon (@oliviasolon) February 14, 2019
They have no class!— Soppy (@sophopitop) February 14, 2019
Sounds like a toxic workplace. Many people on the watchlist are former Facebook employees and contractors "whose colleagues ask to add them [to the watchlist] when they leave the company."— Kim Zetter (@KimZetter) February 15, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg's social network fended off any allegations it was crossing a line, arguing that Facebook security team merely uses publicly available data and industry practices to determine how close someone behind a threat is to the worker or company offices.
Concerns over misuse of personal data and breaches of privacy by Facebook have risen on various occasions in the past, including lawsuits by government bodies and activists alike, both in the US and Europe.