META, the parent company of social media giant Facebook, has fired or disciplined more than two dozen employees and contractors over the last year who were accused of improperly taking over user accounts, in some cases allegedly for bribes, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to WSJ, some of those fired were contractors who worked as security guards stationed at Meta facilities and were given access to the Facebook parent’s internal mechanism for employees to help users having trouble with their accounts, according to the documents and people familiar with the matter.

The mechanism, known internally as ‘Oops’ (short for Online Operations), has existed since Facebook’s early years as a means for employees to help users they know who have forgotten their passwords or emails, or had their accounts taken over by hackers.

As part of the alleged abuse of the system, Meta says that in some cases workers accepted thousands of dollars in bribes from outside hackers to access user accounts, the people and documents say. The disciplinary actions are part of a lengthy internal probe led by Meta executives.

“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 spokesman Andy Stone told WSJ.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2022

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