Facebook monitors chat for criminal activity

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An interview given to Reuters by Facebook's Chief Security Officer has revealed that the social networking giant actively monitors users and passes on indications of criminal activity to police authorities.

Facebook is said to have deployed software and processes that scan for certain words and phrases with one social media blog referencing examples as being the exchange of personal information or vulgar language.

In particular the scanning system watches for chat between users whose profile information may suggest offences such as grooming in progress - with a cited example being a wide age gap in profiles and users that have previously had little or no social connection.

It's also smart software, looking back on previous conversations from known offenders, obtained through 'chat records'.

Facebook security employees are then automatically notified of the possible threats and make an internal decision as to whether or not to inform police authorities.

It's not known if such activity is deleted or stored after use so there will no doubt be privacy activists wanting to know more about the system, but in our view a system that aids the decrease of criminal activity is a positive step forward.  Yes it'll need be internally policed correctly - we don't think anyone would deny that.

When asked for further comment it is reported that Facebook said:

"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."



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