Meta says banned 7 ‘surveillance-for-hire’ firms spying on 50,000 users

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Facebook’s parent company Meta said it took down accounts linked to seven “surveillance-for-hire” entities that targeted thousands of users across the world to manipulate them into disclosing sensitive information that would compromise their devices.

Facebook is already taking legal action against the owners of Pegasus – NSO Group – over the alleged spreading of software via WhatsApp. The US government blacklisted the firm and others last month, accusing them of providing spyware for foreign governments to “maliciously target” individuals.

Meta’s investigation found that an unidentified, Beijing-based company was responsible for developing surveillanceware that was used by domestic law enforcement in China against minority groups in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Xinjiang region of China, Myanmar, and Hong Kong.

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