Facebook uses data from people’s accounts to maintain a list, which includes ex-employees, who have made threats against the social media giant or any of its employees.
As per a report by CNBC, Facebook uses its security team to put down markers on individuals and their accounts and subsequently tracks their location. However, the biggest problem with this is that there doesn’t appear to be any rules as to who determines what is a credible enough threat and what nature of the action is to be deemed as a threat.
Facebook tracks location data provided by its app on the user’s phone and also keeps a check on IP addresses when the user logs in to use the app. One of the tools Facebook uses to monitor threats is a “be on lookout” or “BOLO” list, which is updated approximately once a week. As mentioned in the report, Facebook only tracks down location data once a user’s name is placed on the BOLO list.
A Facebook spokesman speaking to the publication confirmed the fact that the social media giant does indeed keep a list of people who might pose a threat, but mentioned that the practice is “standard in terms of corporate security.” He refused to comment on how many people are on this list, but CNBC did state that there are hundreds.
But how easily do you make it to Facebook’s BOLO list? As per a former employee at the company who worked with the executive protection team, the bar set by Facebook can be pretty low. While certain users end up on the list after repeated appearances on company property or long email threats, others might find themselves on the BOLO list for saying something like, “Fuck you, Mark,” “Fuck Facebook” or “I’m gonna go kick your ass.”
In a statement to CNET, a Facebook spokesperson added, “In cases where there is a credible threat of physical violence against a Facebook employee, we use a combination of publicly available data and industry-standard practices to assess their physical proximity to an at-risk employee or Facebook location.”
Facebook certainly is not the first platform to have a list of possible threats to the company, but other firms typically do not have access to real-time location data and other key specifics.
The verdict, on whether this is at all ethical, is divided at the moment. While some question Facebook’s morality given past instances, others are of the opinion that it’s just a move to safeguard its employees.