Home Reports Raise Questions About Who Has Access To Your Facebook Profile

Reports Raise Questions About Who Has Access To Your Facebook Profile

Gawker started a row against Facebook last month by pointing out some of the moderators it outsources work to in Morocco, India and other countries are paid $1 per day.

As Forbes points out, Gawker initially made a non-story into a story: while $1 per day is not great, it does amount to the standard minimum wage in the countries where Facebook is sending work. “One of the problems is that many people don’t quite understand how poor many parts of the world are,” Tim Worstall wrote for the magazine.

The bigger problem for Facebook users, as noted by the Independent, may be what information those moderators can access.

The moderators are charged with dealing with user complaints about content: everything from the use of copyrighted material without permission to offensive images or other content that violates Facebook’s user agreements. When Gawker first raised the charges, Facebook responded by saying in a statement “No user information beyond the content in question and the source of the report is shared.”

That, according to the Independent, is not true. The newspaper claims to have viewed information showing that moderators “are clearly able to see the names of the person who uploaded the ‘offensive’ content, the subject of the image or person tagged in a photo – in addition to the person who has reported the content.”

We’ve asked Facebook to respond to the Independent’s claims and will update as soon as we hear back from them.

The newspaper also notes there is nothing preventing moderators from taking screen shots of the offensive content. One former moderator showed the Independent material he had viewed and saved, and said he later went and looked up more information about those people.

“Some of the photos that people post, which under Facebook’s rules may be deemed inappropriate, such as your children running around naked or a mum breastfeeding, could still end up on the open internet, if a moderator, who is able to copy the images, publishes them,” Graham Cluley, of the British internet security firm Sophos, said.

Creepy? Of course. But not all that surprising. Many regular users of the Internet understand, at least in theory, the idea that what you post online can eventually end up in the hands of someone you don’t want it to. But many still have not adopted practices to protect against that, seemingly taking an approach that believes that kind of thing only happens to other people.

The Independent goes on to line up the same row of security experts who, predictably, make the same demands for Facebook to overhaul its moderation system. Those are great sentiments, but not likely outcomes, as doing so would incur costs ahead of the company’s initial public offering. The security experts should be stressing to Facebook users their need to overhaul their own online practices.

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