The new details about Facebook's monitoring system came from an interview which the company's Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan gave to Reuters.
At least one alleged child predator has been brought to trial directly as a result of Facebook's chat scanning, according to Reuters' report.
Is Facebook doing a public service by monitoring chats for criminal behavior?
If the scanning software flags a suspicious chat exchange, it notifies Facebook security employees, who can then determine if police should be notified.
Keeping most of the scanned chats out of the eyes of Facebook employees may help Facebook deflect criticism from privacy advocates, but whether the scanned chats are deleted or stored permanently is yet unknown.
When asked for a comment, Facebook only repeated the remarks given by Sullivan 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." "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.