Call this a precursor to privacy issues or a strong and effective step towards desisting wicked criminal minds from exploiting the under aged. Facebook has recently admitted to checking and scanning messages, posts and updates for suspected criminal activities on its platform.
It is well known that Facebook has a tremendous data mining capability, being one of the basics on which their business operates and the economics that drives their business, but they are also collaborating with law enforcement agencies to ensure that no one uses their platform for any unlawful activities.
Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan recently gave an interview to Reuters and disclosed this fact. However, neither he nor Facebook has revealed the tools that they use to scan data from user accounts and how do they do it. Facebook, as a social media platform, has to comply with the guidelines set by law enforcement companies towards monitoring their platform used by users.
Their data mining capabilities and the fact that they do scan their platform was put to good use recently when a man in his early 30’s was caught asking for sexual favors from a 13-year-old school girl from South Florida. They were about to meet the next day after middle school classes. Facebook intervened and reported the matter to the police who picked up the man the next day after getting possession of the girl’s computer.
Apparently, Facebook scourges for specific words or phrases that are used in previous known sexual predators and then puts special emphasis on conversation among users who are not related, have recently met, are geographically far from each other and have a considerable age difference. Once all the parameters match, a Facebook employee steps in and looks into the conversations.
Admitting that this could also throw up important privacy concerns from its strong 900 million user base, Sullivan also added that they wanted a system that would be fail proof as they don’t want to be monitoring private conversations carried by their users.