Social media giant Facebook uses its own technology to track people on its “naughty” list, according to a new report.
The report by CNBC paints a harrowing picture of a “be on the lookout,” or BOLO list, to which admission can be as little as obscenities directed against the company, though CNBC also said the list contained only “hundreds” of names.
The report said Facebook uses its technology to trace the phones of users who make threats against the company and its top employees.
The report is chiefly based on sources, mainly former Facebook employees, who CNBC did not name.
Facebook strongly rejected the notion that being placed on the list is a haphazard process or that the company does anything wrong in how it identifies and responds to threats.
“Our physical security team exists to keep Facebook employees safe,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNBC. “They use industry-standard measures to assess and address credible threats of violence against our employees and our company, and refer these threats to law enforcement when necessary.”
Facebook said it respects privacy even amid threats.
“We have strict processes designed to protect people’s privacy and adhere to all data privacy laws and Facebook’s terms of service. Any suggestion our onsite physical security team has overstepped is absolutely false,” the spokesperson said.
The CNBC report discussed how individuals are added to the list.
Some can be fired employees who are unhappy about losing their jobs, or contractors who vent their disappointment when their contracts run out, the outlet claimed.
“The bar can be pretty low,” the report said, “While some users end up on the list after repeated appearances on company property or long email threats, others might find themselves on the BOLO list for saying something as simple as ‘f— you, Mark,’ ‘f— Facebook’ or ‘I’m gonna go kick your a–,’ according to a former employee who worked with the executive protection team.”
Facebook, however, disputed any allegations that names were added to the list in a subjective manner.
Facebook said names were only added after a “rigorous review to determine the validity of the threat.”
The company also said that not all names were placed on the bad list.
“Former employees are only added under very specific circumstances, after review by legal and HR, including threats of violence or harassment,” the Facebook spokesperson said
Facebook can use a phone’s location data to track BOLO list members who are making threats, the report said, though one source told CNBC that this step is only applied to credible threats.
The proximity of the individual to the location threatened could determine whether Facebook’s security teams — and ultimately law enforcement — are alerted.
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