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Rahul Thadani
Do You Know Select Facebook Employees Can Access Your Account?
March 4, 2015

In case you missed it, a very thought provoking and rather intriguing question came to the fore recently with regards to Facebook privacy and what it really means for individual users. If you have heard of the UK trance group Above & Beyond, then you must be familiar with a certain Paavo Siljamäki who is one of the members of this group and also the Director at the record label, Anjunabeats. When he visited the Facebook office in Los Angeles recently, he noticed something very interesting and posted his experience on a Facebook post on his wall.

facebook privacy

So once he gave permission to a Facebook engineer to ‘look’ at his profile, the said engineer simply accessed his account without even entering a password. He then proceeded to view all the private contents of Siljamäki’s account, and this raises several questions about how many engineers at Facebook actually have this master access to user accounts. Facebook has more than 9,000 employees across the world and it’s a rather sinister thought that these 9,000 people can access any user’s account at any time without a password.

Several other questions which ultimately come to my mind are as follows:

  • What rules govern the circumstances around which Facebook employees can access user accounts?
  • How can we know when someone has accessed our account in this manner?
  • What guarantees that Facebook employees will not misuse this information and access for their own motivations?
  • Do the teams of other social media accounts and personal services also have the same master access to user accounts?

VentureBeat, a tech news site reached out to Facebook for comment on this issue and received a somewhat reassuring comment. However, the jury still remains out on how much we should actually trust our Facebook security and privacy when we voluntarily divulge personal information to these online platforms. Here’s what the Facebook spokesperson had to say:

facebook privacy quote

So Facebook has confirmed that they do have such a tool to access user accounts at will. However, job functions determine who has such access and misuse of this access results in immediate termination. Moreover, this tool is closely monitored and regulated and also requires user consent to be used. So we can assume that only if a user is facing a particular issue and approaches Facebook for assistance, will this tool actually be put to use.

We would like to know what you think. Are you comfortable knowing that Facebook employees have ‘master’ access to your account? And do you think this access can be misused?

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Rahul Thadani
About Rahul Thadani
Rahul is a web enthusiast and blogger, and has been writing about the computer security industry for the last three years. Following the latest technology trends,...
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3 Comments

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  1. proditi kumduMarch 7, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    thanks

    Reply
  2. Devesh K PatelMarch 9, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    i want to know that can someone access my mobile call, contact and sms detail when i allow him to access my facebook account. because some apps asks “login as Facebook” like 3patti and other game application. it it dengerous to me. if yes then how?

    Reply
    • Hi Devesh,

      Doing so will not allow an attacker to access your calls, contacts or text messages. However, it will give sites such as these your Facebook username and password. It is impossible to say how secure the storage of passwords can be on such sites. So it is recommended that you do not sign in via Facebook.

      Regards.

      Reply