Facebook fired a content screener for spreading alarm over the latest company protocol that allows employees to resurrect deleted users’ data. Brennan Lawson, the fired employee, sued Meta Platform’s Inc. in the US state of California on Tuesday. He claimed that the new protocol, introduced during a staff meeting in late 2018, forced him to question its legal basis. 

Lawson is now seeking more than $3 million in damages and compensation as he remained unemployed for 18 months after Facebook fired him. As per Lawson’s suit, the new company policy change gave unrestricted access to users’ deleted messenger data to Facebook’s Global Escalation team, bypassing the network’s default privacy protocols.


Facebook Can Access Deleted Users’ Data

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 that the latest protocol appeared to violate European Union digital privacy rules and the FTC’s order that forces Facebook to keep its users informed about its data-saving policies.

Lawson said he realized he was on “shaky ground” for questioning the legality of the practice and was fearful he’d be fired if he pressed the issue. He was fired in July 2019, for allegedly improper use of a Facebook administrative tool. He claims that was pretextual and an act of retaliation for his complaint.

Lawson was fired in July 2019. Prior to that, the ex-Facebook employee said that he knew he was on “shaky ground” for raising an alarm over Facebook’s latest policy. As per his company, Lawson was removed from his position allegedly over the malicious use of the Facebook administrative tool.

According to Lawson, the Escalation team used the protocol to help the police and other law enforcement agencies in investigations of several users. Facebook’s Escalation team would often use back-end practices to provide answers to gain access to user messages and then made the call over how much stuff they wished to share with the law enforcement agencies.

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