Facebook's perilous fumble

Software error causes identity exposure of 1,000 Facebook content managers responsible for deleting terrorist accounts.

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Mordechai Sones,

Security breach
Security breach

A software error endangered the lives of one thousand Facebook employees, with at least one case of a person being forced to live in hiding to this day.

The software "bug" caused public personal detail disclosure of over a thousand Facebook content managers, responsible for locating and deleting accounts of terrorists or terrorist supporters.

The British Guardian reports that as a result of the breach, content managers' personal profiles appeared in the activity logs of Facebook groups that were shut down because of terror encouragement or activity contrary to social network rules, such as encouraging rape or crime.

Of the thousand employees whose identity was exposed, 40 of them worked in a Facebook counter-terrorism unit in Ireland. Six of them were placed under guard after their identity was revealed to potential terrorists whose accounts they erased from the social network.

One of them, an Iraqi-born Irish citizen in his twenties, said he was forced to flee Ireland and hide after at least seven people suspected of terrorism who were managing a Facebook account he blocked, discovered his personal details due to the software failure and threatened his life.

In an interview with the Guardian, the Facebook content manager who immigrated to Ireland from Iraq as a child, said that he lives in hiding to this day and fears for his life and his family's life after his details were exposed to people who ran Facebook accounts linked to ISIS and Hezbollah. "It was too dangerous to stay in Ireland. The entire reason we came to Ireland was to escape the terror and the dangers. ISIS' punishment for a person who worked in the anti-terror unit is decapitation, and all they need to do is report me to an extremist living in Ireland," said the spooked content manager.

Facebook confirmed the details and said it was working to prevent similar breaches in the future, which could put employees' lives at risk. "We are very concerned about keeping everyone who works for Facebook safe. The moment we learned about the case, we corrected it and launched a comprehensive investigation to learn as much as possible about what happened," a Facebook spokesman said.