Meta alerts 50,000 users to targeting by ‘surveillance-for-hire’ companies

Meta alerts 50,000 users to targeting by ‘surveillance-for-hire’ companies


Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Facebook’s parent company Meta has alerted 50,000 users of Facebook and Instagram that their accounts were spied on by commercial “surveillance-for-hire” schemes around the globe.

The users were targeted by seven entities and located in more than 100 countries, according to an update posted on Meta’s news page today.

Targets included journalists, dissidents, critics of authoritarian regimes, families of opposition, and human rights activists, the post said. The surveillance was uncovered in a monthslong investigation in which Meta identified spying groups and removed them from the platform.

“These companies are part of a sprawling industry that provides intrusive software tools and surveillance services indiscriminately to any customer —…

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