Get this crazy coincidence, guys!
On the same day that Mark Zuckerberg is headed to Capitol Hill to meet with lawmakers ahead of his congressional testimony, Facebook announced a new initiative for rooting out external abusers of the Facebook platform and users’ data. Whoa!
Facebook introduced a “Data Abuse Bounty” program on Monday. It will offer up to $40,000 to vigilante Facebook sleuths who find “a company that violates our Terms of Services in a manner that creates a privacy risk.” Essentially, Facebook is harnessing the power of its users to find the next Cambridge Analytica — before it blows up into a month-long, Congressional testimony-prompting, #DeleteFacebook-inspiring mess. What a commitment to data privacy Facebook’s showing these days!
There are plenty of specifics for the bounty. An abuser has to affect more than 10,000 users, it has to “abuse” — not just collect — the data (because collecting is fine, remember?!), and it has to be something Facebook didn’t know about previously. A whole $500 – $40,000 buckaroos to let Facebook know about a crisis in the making before it explodes? Count us in!
The scenarios that Facebook is specifically looking for are “any situation where data that was legitimately collected from users via a Facebook platform app that they downloaded was then sold, stolen, or transferred to another company without authorization from Facebook,” according to the program’s FAQ page. That excludes data scraping, malware, social engineering, and abuse on Instagram.
Facebook will vet and review the submissions before determining the proper reward. CNBC reports that it’s planning to add more employees to its “bug bounty team” to review data abuse submissions. So, to a question someone (say, a congressman) might ask about who’s responsible for catching user data abusers, Facebook can now say, “these guys!”
So for those of you getting to work STAT on supplementing your income by looking for data abusers, might we suggest a program to have on in the background?
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