Patreon, a membership monetization platform, has laid off its entire cybersecurity team as a part of a strategic shift. The company’s U.S. policy head, Ellen Satterwhite, said in an e-mailed statement; “As part of a strategic shift of a portion of our security program, we have parted ways with five employees.”
Patreon Layoffs Sparked Cyber Security Concerns
The layoff issue came to light when a privacy lawyer, Whitney Merrill, tweeted a LinkedIn post from former Patreon privacy engineer Emily Metcalfe. The post reads; “So for better or worse, I and the rest of the Patreon Security Team are no longer with the company.” Another former security employee, who wished to remain anonymous, said that the team had already been understaffed prior to layoffs. “There is no qualified security personnel, there is no one there to utilize the tools that we had in place,” said the employee.
It is pertinent to mention here that in 2015, Patreon has suffered a massive data breach when hackers broke into the company’s user database and released several gigabytes of internal data including usernames, email addresses and mail addresses. The company confirmed the breach in a statement, saying; “There was an unauthorized access to registered names, email addresses, posts, and some shipping addresses. Additionally, some billing addresses that were added prior to 2014 were also accessed.”
Content Creators Retaliated
Patreon is a popular platform among content creators and their fans. The users of the website or “patrons” can sign up to support their favourite creator in exchange for exclusive content or other rewards. The content creators on Patreon have threatened to leave the platform citing security issues. An artist, Suzanne Forbes, wrote to the company; “My Patreon has always been supported primarily by computer security professionals. Guess what they’re doing now? Deleting their accounts.”
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