Former Twitter security employees have alleged that some of the company’s contractors have used tricks to spy on some of the social media giant’s biggest users, including Beyoncé. That’s according to a report from Bloomberg, which spoke with four former Twitter security employees. The allegations come just weeks after Twitter suffered a major security breach that saw dozens of high-profile accounts taken over by scammers.
According to Bloomberg, two of the former Twitter security employees revealed that in 2017 and 2018 some Twitter contractors “made a kind of game out of creating bogus help-desk inquiries” that enabled them to spy on the accounts of celebrities. By doing this, the contractors were able to access the celebrities’ personal data, including their approximate location. One of the celebrity accounts that were reportedly accessed was of superstar Beyoncé.
The former Twitter security employees told Bloomberg that contractors found workarounds using Twitter’s internal tools and processes to glean information about politicians, brands, and even former lovers, in addition to celebrities. The former employees allege that Twitter’s board of directors was informed about the unauthorized insider access to accounts repeatedly between 2015 to 2019, yet their concerns were “deferred for other priorities,” Bloomberg says.
It’s unknown what personal data was gleaned by the rogue contractors other than approximate location data. A Twitter spokesperson challenged the former employees’ accounts of the alleged contractor security breaches, saying the company has tools that allow it to “stay ahead of threats as they evolve.”