Meta fired dozens of employees after accusing them of using an internal tool to gain unauthorized access to Facebook user accounts.

According to a Wall Street Journal report on Thursday, November 17, some of the activity is allegedly taking place in exchange for bribes.

Some of those fired were security guards from Meta’s security contractor Allie Universal at Meta’s facilities who allegedly used an internal Facebook tool called ‘Oops.’

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This tool assists users who have forgotten their passwords or emails.

Employees are only permitted to use Oops, which stands for Online Operations, on a case-by-case basis to assist friends, family, business partners, and public figures in recovering their Facebook accounts by filling out a form.

However, the number of tasks handled by Oops increased by 56 percent from 28,270 in 2017 to 50,270 in 2020, which raised suspicion amongst Meta’s executives.

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An internal investigation alleges some Meta employees were abusing Oops by collaborating with third parties to gain unauthorized access to accounts in exchange for tens of thousands of dollars.

Reva Mandelowitz, a security guard from Meta’s security contractor Allied Universal, was fired in February after the company discovered she had allegedly received thousands of dollars in bitcoin for resetting a handful of user accounts for hackers.

In an interview, she told The Journal the accusations were not true and claimed she requested 20 account resets for loved ones and was coerced by an unknown person to request more.

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In July 2021, Meta fired Kendel Melbourne, another Allied Universal contractor, on fraud charges after he allegedly assisted third parties in gaining control of Instagram accounts while he was still employed by the company and even after he left.

Mandelowitz denied the allegations, claiming that he was not informed about how to use the Oops system.

According to an Allied Universal spokesperson, “it takes all reports of violations of our standards of conduct seriously.”

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According to Andy Stone, a Meta spokesperson, hackers constantly target online platforms like Meta and that “people should never buy or sell accounts or pay for an account recovery service because doing so violates our Terms.”

Stone emphasized that Meta employees who choose to access Oops are warned to be on the lookout for phishing scams and to avoid engaging with strangers who contact them to access their accounts.

Still, he said that Meta regularly updates their security measures and “will keep taking appropriate action against those involved in these kinds of schemes.”

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The firings were conveyed at a time when Meta laid off 11,000 employees across the company to cut costs.

Source: Business Insider

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