Facebook Bans ‘Surveillance-for-Hire’ Companies that Spied on 50K Users
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, banned seven “surveillance-for-hire” companies it says used its platforms to spy on roughly 50,000 users, including activists, government critics, celebrities, journalists, and pedestrians in more than 100 countries.
These firms were linked to roughly 1,500 accounts on the platforms, which they used to gather information and attempted to trick users into providing sensitive personal information.
According to Meta (formerly known as Facebook), the goal was to install spyware on their devices.
“Each of these actors rely on networks of fake accounts on our platforms that are used to deceive users and mislead them,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Meta’s head of security policy.
Gleicher said the goal of these companies is to “spy on people or snoop on them without them knowing about it.”
“The surveillance-for-hire industry is broader than a lot of people have realized,” Gleicher said. He said that’s why Meta is going public about its actions and why it’s calling for a collective response from big tech, governments, and civil society groups.