Years before Twitter’s recent major data breach, contractors working for the social media giant used internal tools to spy on celebrities.
Bloomberg reports that the internal tools are usually used to let Twitter employees respond to content violations or reset accounts, but it turns out they could actually be used to hack an account.
The report indicates that at one point, some Twitter contractors had made a game of creating fake inquiries that allowed them to get into celebrity accounts, including Beyonce’s. They reportedly obtained some of her personal data, such as her approximate locations through IP addresses.
This was apparently a recurring issue, and Twitter’s security team in the U.S. had problems trying to keep track of all of the intrusions.
Some of these contractors worked for Cognizant, which still works with Twitter. A spokesperson for the social media giant told Bloomberg that more than 1,500 employees and contractors can access tools to make changes to accounts.
The spokesperson stated that Twitter “has no indication that the partners we work with on customer service and account management played a part” in the data breach from a few weeks ago.
Twitter has already disclosed that its employee tools were compromised in the hack as part of a “coordinated social engineering attack.” Although there are many theories surfacing online, it’s still unknown how hackers got access to internal tools.