Facebook has fired multiple employees over the course of the last 12 months for allegedly accepting bribes in exchange for an abuse of administrative power over the world’s largest social media site, alleges new reports.
The revelation was levied in a Nov. 17 exclusive by the Wall Street Journal, which, as is standard with nearly all modern journalism, simply cited “people familiar with the matter and documents viewed.”
Positions as low as security guards contracted through a company called Allied Universal were somehow given access to an internal administrative tool called “Oops,” which allows parent company Meta’s staff to manually assist users who are locked out of their account or have been hacked, the article stated.
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WSJ explained, “When people are locked out of their accounts, they typically try automated methods for resetting them or try to reach someone at Meta by phone or email, which many users have reported is often fruitless.”
“Some of those people are able to get Meta employees and contractors to fill out a form through the Oops channel as a method of last resort.”
The system, which is an abbreviation for Online Operations, “Is supposed to be fairly limited to special cases, like friends, family, business partners and public figures.”
The article elaborated that Oops was, in theory, limited to requests by people who were associated with Mark Zuckerberg, a personal family member, a celebrity, or a company partner.
But the Journal noted Oops usage has nearly doubled over the course of the last three years, in tandem with a rise in hiring, WSJ stated based on its sources.
According to the Journal, sources showed that “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.”
Both Meta and Allied Universal provided only boilerplate responses to the Journal in response to the allegations.
WSJ stated that a “cottage industry” involving “intermediaries” who claim to have contact with staffers who have access to Oops under their belt has emerged.
The target market is online influencers and businesses, for whom social media campaigning is an indispensable and financially lucrative component of their model that they cannot live without.
In an example, one California model with 650,000 Instagram followers told the outlet that she paid such a group $7,000 to regain access to her account after being locked out of it for strange reasons in December of 2021.
The woman told WSJ she was clear the group was only serving as a middle man, but didn’t care because she just needed her account back.
One Allied Universal security guard, fired in 2021, stated that security guards were given access to the Meta intranet and that the ability to channel requests through Oops was considered a job perk, according to documents.
A briefing viewed by WSJ said the man “denied committing fraud and said he reset about 20 accounts on behalf of friends, family and people he trusted” in comments to a Meta lawyer.
In another more flagrant case, a woman employed with Allied Security was fired after being directly linked to a hacking scheme involving account resets and “receiving thousands of dollars in bitcoin for her services.”
She claimed that at first she also reset 20 some accounts for friends and family, but was later approached by anonymous individuals online to conduct more.
She claimed if she refused she was subject to harassment and intimidation.