Facebook's messaging service WhatsApp is built on privacy. Prior to its Facebook acquisition, the messaging app was touted as a must have for those who respect privacy. Nowadays, that space is occupied by rival services like Telegram, Signal, Wickr and more.
Previously, Facebook has stated that they never read through your WhatsApp messages. Technically, that's true. However, that's only because Facebook is hiring massive teams of external contractors to read them instead.
Facebook hires contractors to read your WhatsApp messages
Reported in a ProPublica investigation, Facebook is currently employing over 1000 contractors to read your messages. Contractors reportedly fill “floors of office buildings in Austin, Texas, Dublin and Singapore” where they sift through millions of messages.
In a statement to Insider, Facebook said that WhatsApp messages are only read if they're reported. While messages are usually scrambled with end-to-end encryption, reported messages are sent to Facebook scramble-free. This allows them to read through information you thought was private.
To some, Facebook sifting through even reported messages is a violation of its agreement to privacy. On the other hand, it does provide more security for users on the platform to be able to report wrongdoers.
Facebook sees no issue with this
In its response to Insider, Facebook revealed that it does not think it’s overreaching in reading select messages. Facebook says the service is built “in a manner that limits the data we collect while providing us the ability to prevent spam, investigate threats, and ban those engaged in the worst kind of abuse”.
They continued: “This feature is important for preventing the worst abuse on the internet. We strongly disagree with the notion that accepting reports a user chooses to send us is incompatible with end-to-end encryption."
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