MySpace used to be a social media leader…in spying on its users too
The bad news keeps on piling up for the once second largest internet site
When the news of the lost data at MySpace broke, it turned out to just be the tip of the iceberg, and Justin Timberlake, who bought the company along with Specific Media in 2011, just might be wondering what he spent $35 million on.
At one time, 2006 to be precise, the platform signed its 100 millionth user, and as Vice reports, was the second most popular site in the US, ranked even higher than Google search. But, now it turns out that it was also a leader in some murky business. The company had an overview tool named ‘Overlord’, which allowed the employees to see users’ passwords, giving them complete access to all their messages as well.
As a former employee told Vice, “it was basically an entire backdoor to the Myspace platform.” As it turns out, at the time of MySpace’s heyday, an unidentified number of employees abused this internal tool to spy on MySpace users.
Hemanshu Nigam, the former MySpace Chief Security Officer, explains that every company has this tool, and other former employees say that the official use of ‘Overlord’ was to gather information in order to respond to law enforcement requests by customer support staff and to enforce copyright takedown requests.
According, to one of the Vice sources, “the tool was used to gain access to a boyfriend/girlfriend’s login credentials,” and the culprits have supposedly been fired. Still, it is not formally known how large this breach was at the time. The contacted Myspace spokesperson added that, today, access is limited to a “very small number of employees,” and that all access is logged and reviewed.