Facebook Monitors Chats for Criminal Activity, Reports Users to Police

| by Michael Allen

Facebook is watching users’ chats for criminal activity and notifying police over suspicious behavior, according to a report by Reuters.

Facebook uses scanning software that monitors chats for words or phrases that signal suspicious activity, such as exchanging of personal information or vulgar language.

The software pays more attention to chats between users who don’t have a well-established relationship and whose profile data indicates a wide age gap, which might mean a pedophile is prowling.

The scanning program also keeps an eye out for certain phrases found in chat records from criminals [including sexual predators].

If the software finds a suspicious chat exchange, it notifies Facebook security employees, who decide if the police should be notified.

These new details about Facebook’s scanning system came from a Reuters interview with the company’s Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan.

Facebook, later, gave this statement to Reuters: “We’ve never wanted to set up an environment where we have employees looking at private communications, so it’s really important that we use technology that has a very low false-positive rate.”

According to a page on its site, Facebook works with law enforcement “where appropriate and to the extent required by law to ensure the safety of the people who use Facebook.”