Hired workers working for Twitter through a company abused customer service systems in 2017 and 2018 to track the location of celebrities, including Beyoncé. Twitter would have ignored the warnings from employees.
According to Bloomberg sources, employees are relatively limited in what personal data they can view, although they do have access to IP addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers. According to the employees, this data can serve as a starting point for those who want to follow or hack an account.
According to two former employees, the supervision problem is so great that hired employees ‘turned it into a game’ in 2017 and 2018 to come up with fake helpdesk questions. This allowed them to pretend they had a reason to poke around celebrity accounts. Only Beyoncé is specifically mentioned as a target. With these fake helpdesk questions, the hired workers managed to find out personal data, according to the former employees. This data included the IP address of the celebrities, which can show the approximate location.
The statements from Bloomberg sources come after several large Twitter accounts were briefly taken over almost two weeks ago and with which crypto scams were posted. Twitter later confirmed that the hackers managed to gain access through its employees’ internal systems and tools.
According to Bloomberg sources, the top of Twitter, including CEO Jack Dorsey, has been briefed several times about the surveillance problems since 2015. According to sources, Twitter management would rather improve consumer products and functions in order to increase turnover rather than improve monitoring capabilities. Despite the current surveillance systems, hired workers could still track details about ‘former partners, politicians, favorite brands and celebrities’, the former employees claim.
In a response, Twitter says it does not agree with the surveillance claims from the Bloomberg sources. Twitter is said to be continuously improving its security tools in order to always be able to anticipate potential problems. For example, all Twitter employees would have followed an online security training course in the past week, which included phishing attacks.