Facebook removes Surveillance-For-Hire companies from its platform

Facebook Company’s parent company Meta has issued a press update last week that it has removed over 50,000 accounts from its platform as they were found breaching its data privacy guidelines.

Meta mentioned in its press statement that the said companies operating from China, Israel, India and North Macedonia were indulging in ‘Surveillance-for-hire’ service business and so were removed from seeking its platform services any more.

Although, not much is known about the banned companies from China, India and North Macedonia; FB’s owner stated that Cobwebs Technologies, Cognyte, Black Cube and BlueHawk- all based in Israel; were banned from using its services anymore. As they were found spying on journalists, politicians, families of opposition, human rights activists and military personnel.

Earlier in October 2021, based on the executive order of US President Joe Biden, the DHS imposed a trade ban on NSO Group that was involved in the development of notorious Pegasus spying software; used by a Saudi Prince to spy on several dignitaries that includes Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.

Precisely following the same order, Facebook issued a press update stating that the removal of over 50K accounts was done as the accounts behavior on its platform violated Community Standards and Terms of Service stated by Meta.

The details were being passed to other security researchers, business platforms, and policy makers so they can take action.

Note- Surveillance for hire industry is filled with cyber mercenaries who use leased out software tools to collect intelligence, manipulate and compromise devices without the knowledge of the service/device users. Often companies involved in such business claim to be linked to governments and screech to be working to protect the personal interests of the public in the name of National Integrity.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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