Facebook has fired a security engineer who allegedly took advantage of his position to access information he then used to stalk women online, the social media giant confirmed to NBC News Tuesday.
“We are investigating this as a matter of urgency," Alex Stamos, Chief Security Officer at Facebook, said in a statement to NBC News.
"It’s important that people’s information is kept secure and private when they use Facebook," he said. "It’s why we have strict policy controls and technical restrictions so employees only access the data they need to do their jobs – for example to fix bugs, manage customer support issues or respond to valid legal requests. Employees who abuse these controls will be fired.”
The claim surfaced in a tweet Sunday by Jackie Stokes, a cyber-security consultant, who alleged she received copies of a text conversation on the dating app Tinder that showed "a security engineer currently employed at Facebook is likely using privileged access to stalk women online."
Stokes said she determined the person was probably employed by Facebook by cross-referencing his online profiles. She also added that she was not the subject of any invasion of privacy by the person.
NBC News has not received or reviewed the chat messages Stokes referenced, but a screenshot of a text message she added to the Twitter thread showed one participant saying that their job responsibilities involved being "more than" a security analyst. The user said their role involves trying to "figure out who hackers are in real life," o, in other words, being a "professional stalker."
"I have to say that you are hard to find," the user added, "lol."