Meta has now banned seven companies offering surveillance-for-hire services which have been used to target politicians, journalists, and human rights workers across more than 100 countries.
The list of companies includes Israel’s Cobwebs Technologies, Black Cube, and Bluehawk, as well as Indian firm BellTroX, North Macedonian firm Cytrox, and a company in China. Since the ban, Meta has closed down roughly 1,500 Facebook and Instagram accounts related to those seven groups and also issued cease-and-desist warnings. More than 50,000 individuals believed to have been targeted were also alerted.
“The ‘surveillance-for-hire’ entities we removed and described in this report violated multiple Community Standards and Terms of Service,” reads a report from the Meta. “Given the severity of their violations, we have banned them from our services.”
The new development comes in the wake of tech giants moving against spyware companies. Back in November, Apple filed a lawsuit against Israel’s NSO Group, which was responsible for creating the spyware Pegasus that targeted iPhone users ranging from government officials to journalists to human rights activists.