Facebook uses algorithms to monitor chat conversations for criminal activity. If something suspicious pops up, Facebook notifies the authorities. Facebook’s security team is notified when certain words or phrases are uttered in the Chat rooms. This could include an exchange of personal information or vulgar language.
Facebook also monitors Chat between people that have a wide age gap to ensure sexual predators are apprehended. It is unknown whether the scanned chats are deleted or stored permanently. At least one child predator has been brought to trial because of their interactions on Facebook Chat according to an interview that Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan gave to Reuters.
?We?ve never wanted to set up an environment where we have employees looking at private communications, so it?s really important that we use technology that has a very low false-positive rate,? said Sullivan in the interview. Below is a terms of service portion from Facebook’s Security Page.
?We may disclose information pursuant to subpoenas, court orders, or other requests (including criminal and civil matters) if we have a good faith belief that the response is required by law. This may include respecting requests from jurisdictions outside of the United States where we have a good faith belief that the response is required by law under the local laws in that jurisdiction, apply to users from that jurisdiction, and are consistent with generally accepted international standards.
?We may also share information when we have a good faith belief it is necessary to prevent fraud or other illegal activity, to prevent imminent bodily harm, or to protect ourselves and you from people violating our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This may include sharing information with other companies, lawyers, courts or other government entities.?
You may also remember that this past April, Facebook complied with a subpoena from the Boston Police Department.