If there's one thing that Myspace, a once popular social networking platform, shares in common with the now most popular and widely used social networking platform Facebook, it has to be the fact that both have been haunted by privacy issues.
Recent reports from Vice said that way back when it was still popular and widely used, Myspace employees had been abusing a certain tool known as “Overlord” to spy on Myspace users.
According to multiple employees who used to work in Myspace, the “Overlord” allowed employees to see users' passwords and even their private messages. The tool was developed and implemented by Myspace to help in moderating the platform.
At the same time, it also allowed Myspace to comply with law enforcement requests. Unfortunately, the tool was also used for illegitimate purposes by no less than Myspace employees. Some of these employees accessed Myspace user data without authorization and obviously did so with malicious intent.
According to multiple sources, the abuse of the tool mostly took place almost ten years ago. Back then, Myspace has just registered its 100 millionth user and it was the second most popular website in the U.S. It even ranked higher than Google back then.
This only goes to show that even in the earliest days of social media, the issue on user data was already a problem and subject to malicious intent. It's the same problem encountered by Facebook more recently. It's just that it wasn't something that was talked about back then.
A Myspace spokesperson told Motherboard that an internal Myspace administration tool “allows us to comply with law enforcement/court order subpoenas. It also enables us to protect our users from security and cyber bullying threats.”
“Misuse of user data will result in termination of employment,” the spokesperson said.