Facebook has restructured its cybersecurity team as it invests more in automation to identify and address cyber breaches on its various platforms, resulting in the displacement of more than 24 people to date.
According to a New York Times report citing current and former Facebook employees, the social networking giant "has dissolved and dispersed its security group over the last two years" at its offices in London, Seattle and Menlo Park (California).
The employees who are responsible for tackling hacking threats have alleged that the Silicon Valley giant is replacing them with machines and is automating its alert response and security teams.
A company spokesperson said: "We are restructuring a portion of our team and helping the people affected by this change find other roles at Facebook".
Top Facebook integrity and cybersecurity executives took to Twitter late Tuesday over the report. "The changes in this report have absolutely nothing to do with the teams fighting foreign meddling. Our security team has continued to grow substantially over the last two years — as automated detection increases, we shift experts to where they can have the most impact,' tweeted Guy Rosen, Facebook's vice-president (Integrity).
Nathaniel Gleicher, who headed cybersecurity policy at Facebook, has joined Rosen. "The shift here is exactly what a security organization should be doing. Focus experts where we need human expertise, and continuously improve automated detection at scale so people can focus where they make the most difference," he tweeted.
After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said Facebook would double its security staff by adding contractors, especially security engineers, from 10,000 to 20,000.
Even as Zuckerberg reiterates that Facebook will be made more "privacy-focused” with a renewed emphasis on encryption and security, he was hauled in front of the US Senate in 2018 over the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the information of 87 million users was "improperly shared" to profile voters.
In this era of growing fake news and misinformation, Facebook has also launched a bug bounty programme that rewards cybersecurity experts for finding and reporting third-party apps that are accessing Facebook user data inappropriately.