Facebook employees were able to access deleted user data and share details with law enforcement agencies, according to allegations included in an explosive lawsuit filed by an ex-employee who said he was ousted for raising concerns about the practice.
Brennan Lawson, a former member of Facebook’s global escalations team, said he became concerned after learning in 2018 about a new tool that allowed content screeners to view data from the social media firm’s Messenger app — even if the user had deleted it.
The lawsuit alleges that the protocol allowed workers “to circumvent Facebook’s normal privacy protocols” in a way that the platform’s users were not aware was possible. The tool was reportedly employed to assist law enforcement officials during investigations into social media activity.
“Law enforcement would ask questions about the suspect’s use of the platform, such as who the suspect was messaging, when messages were sent, and even what those messages contained,” Lawson claims in the suit, according to Bloomberg.
“To keep Facebook in the good graces of the government, the Escalations Team would utilize the back-end protocol to provide answers for the law enforcement agency and then determine how much to share,” Lawson adds.