Facebook can see deleted user data, says fired employee after sounding the alarm

Facebook fired a content screener for spreading alarm about its latest corporate protocol that allows employees to bring deleted users’ data back to life. Brennan Lawson, the fired employee, on Tuesday announced Meta Platform’s Inc. charged in the US state of California. He claimed that the new protocol, introduced at a staff meeting in late 2018, forced him to question the legal basis.

Lawson is now seeking more than $3 million in damages and compensation for being unemployed for 18 months after Facebook fired him. According to Lawson’s lawsuit, the new corporate policy change gave unrestricted access to users’ deleted messenger data to Facebook’s Global Escalation team, bypassing the network’s standard privacy protocols.

Facebook has access to data from deleted users

The protocol appeared to violate European Union digital privacy rules and a Federal Trade Commission order that required Facebook to accurately inform users about its data retention policies, according to the complaint. The complaint says the latest protocol appeared to violate the European Union’s digital privacy rules and the FTC’s injunction forcing Facebook to update its users on its data-saving policies.

Lawson said he realized he was on “shaky ground” as he questioned the legality of the practice and feared he would be fired if he pushed the matter. He was fired in July 2019 for allegedly misusing a Facebook administrative tool. He claims this was a pretext and retaliation for his complaint.

Lawson was fired in July 2019. Before that, the ex-Facebook employee said he knew he was on “shaky ground” because he raised the alarm about Facebook’s latest policies. According to his company, Lawson was removed from office allegedly for malicious use of Facebook’s administrative tool.

According to Lawson, the Escalation team used the protocol to help police and other law enforcement agencies investigate various users. Facebook’s Escalation team often used backend practices to provide answers to access user posts and then called how many things they wanted to share with law enforcement.