👮‍♀️ Why Facebook execs and others in tech are getting ‘swatted’

Silicon Valley is experiencing growth in a category it wants nothing to do with: Visits by the SWAT team. More and more pranksters are calling in emergency hoaxes to bring SWAT units to the homes of executives of major tech companies, including Instagram’s Adam Mosseri. Facebook, Google, and Twitter have all had discussions with employees about swatting, according to The New York Times.     

  • Swatting started with online gamers: Internet trolls would call the police with a fake emergency, such as a hostage situation, to get a SWAT team to arrive at the home of another gamer. That gamer would often have a live stream, allowing the trolls to watch the situation unfold.

These calls are likely a revenge tactic against tech

It’s unclear exactly how many tech employees have been swatted, but police told The New York Times that Facebook, in particular, has been a target. The company has recently been cracking down on users who use abusive and threatening language. 

  • Online forums feature names and addresses of thousands of tech employees, where internet users discuss potential swatting techniques. Some users have suggested a motive, complained on the forums that they have been thrown off Facebook and Instagram. 

The Verdict

Swatting cannot be prosecuted federally, despite numerous attempts to codify it. To catch swatters, municipalities with a high concentration of tech employees will need to be more like Seattle. Seattle allows people who believe they are at risk of being swatted to enter their information in a database the police department can check when an emergency call arises.