Have you ever been so enraged at Facebook that you’ve messaged CEO Mark Zuckerberg and told him to f— off? …or maybe you simply left that type of comment in a post somewhere on Facebook or one of its apps?If so, you might well have been inducted into what CNBC reports is the company’s BOLO watch list. That’s an acronym for Be On Lookout: a list of hundreds of people who have threatened Facebook or its staff, sulked over losing a contract, or gotten fired, be it with or without sulking or emotional outbursts.
Keeping a list like that is not, in itself, unusual. Lots of companies keep similar lists, according to CNBC’s sources, which include former security staff from Facebook who are familiar with its program and at least one expert from the physical security field: Tim Bradley, senior consultant with Incident Management Group, a corporate security consulting firm that deals with employee safety issues. What’s unique about Facebook’s approach to BOLOs is that it doesn’t just disseminate a list of names to security staff. Facebook also mines its platform for threatening posts. Sometimes, Facebook goes so far as to use its apps to discern the whereabouts of people whom it finds threatening, to determine whether they pose a credible threat. CNBC talked to more than a dozen former Facebook security employees, some of whom questioned the ethics of Facebook’s security strategies. One former security staffer called the tactics “very Big Brother-esque.” CNBC reported on a number of examples of when Facebook uses its own geolocation tracking or knowledge about a user’s location to figure out how much of a threat the person might be.