Meta cracks down on rogue employees exploiting "Oops" and taking bribes

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According to Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Meta has fired or penalized over two dozen workers for misusing Facebook and Instagram accounts. The perpetrators exploited the social media giant's account recovery tool, Oops or Online Operations.

This account recovery channel acts as an alternative to Facebook and Instagram's account recovery process. It allows employees to file reports regarding inaccessible accounts so the control can be restored for Meta employee acquaintances. The tool saw a peak in its use between 2017 and 2020 when the processed tasks jumped from 22,000 to 50,270.

Among the fired workers, there are those who took thousands of dollars in bribes in the form of Bitcoin. These bribes were made by users locked out of their accounts and hackers who wanted access to the accounts on the two social media platforms. The fired employees include Allied Universal's contracted security guards stationed at Meta facilities.

Meta's Policy Communication Director, Andy Stone, told WSJ:

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.

People should never buy or sell accounts or pay for an account recovery service because doing so violates our Terms. We also regularly update our security measures to address this kind of activity and will keep taking appropriate action against those involved in these kinds of schemes.

Apart from those on the inside directly involved in unauthorized activities, there are also businesses that offer paid account recovery services through them. According to an operator of one such business, "you really have to have someone on the inside who will actually do it." This also indicates Meta's failure at providing personalized customer service to its users who then seek help from potentially malicious sources.

The crackdown on rogue employees began following an internal probe that revealed the inappropriate use of Meta's internal mechanisms. The latest news has also arrived amid Meta's plans of laying off over 13% of its workforce.

Source: Wall Street Journal via The Verge

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