More than two dozen Meta employees and contractors have faced disciplinary measures, including termination, for allegedly taking bribes to give hackers access to users’ accounts, among other inappropriate actions, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing anonymous sources and documents obtained by the outlet.
In some cases, bribes exceeded thousands of dollars and gave hackers access to the very system that was intended to help users recover accounts from them, known as “Oops,” according to the WSJ.
In addition to Meta’s own employees, contracted security guards at their buildings also took advantage of their access to users’ accounts and Oops.
Oops, which also handles cases of users forgetting their login credentials, is accessible only by Meta employees and contractors, the WSJ reported. It is relatively rare for a user to successfully initiate an Oops form, since it requires them contacting a Meta employee directly by phone or email, and the process is supposed to be limited to friends and family of Meta employees as well as business partners and public figures.
Typically, the system requires that you specifically name who an Oops request is being made on behalf of, and the request is forwarded to the company’s community support staff, the WSJ reported. However, due to the importance of social media in some business circles, stolen accounts can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars and some third-party intermediaries with connections to Meta staffers have emerged, offering to reset accounts for thousands of dollars if an error arises.
It is a violation of Meta’s terms of service to buy or sell accounts, or recover accounts for a fee, a Meta spokesman told the WSJ. Meta is continuing an internal probe to crack down on this activity, according to documents obtained by the WSJ.
Meta is currently undergoing significant belt-tightening, with the first ever mass layoffs in company history occurring Nov. 8. The move cut roughly 10,000 of the company’s 87,000 staff, primarily in business and recruiting, and comes as the broader tech industry is making large cuts in those areas in anticipation of an upcoming economic downturn.
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