Investigation Reveals that 1,000 Facebook Employees Reads WhatsApp Messages that May be Harmful to Others
The privacy promised by WhatsApp, which often proclaims its “end-to-end encrypted” messaging service, may not be as ironclad as the company claims.
New users who sign up for WhatsApp are informed that “your messages and calls are secured so only you and the person you’re communicating with can read or listen to them, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp,” however ProPublica, a non-profit news agency that investigates issues of public interest, reported, “Those assurances are not true.”
The popular chat app often insists that Facebook, WhatsApp’s parent company, cannot read messages sent among users, however, ProPublica, reports that Facebook appears to have a robust monitoring program to watch out for terrorist plotting, fraud, and, G-d forbid, harm to children.
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly said that WhatsApp messages are not seen by anyone the social media giant employs, but in its report, ProPublica said that Facebook pays more than 1,000 contract workers throughout the world to read WhatsApp messages.
Apparently, in office buildings in Austin, Texas, Dublin, and Singapore Facebook workers examine millions of pieces of users’ content.
When Zuckerberg testified before the US Senate in 2018, he said under oath, “We don’t see any of the content in WhatsApp.”
ProPublica, however, reported that Facebook employees not only read WhatsApp messages, the company shares some private data with law enforcement agencies, such as the US Department of Justice.
When confronted with ProPublica’s findings, Facebook acknowledged that those 1,000 plus contractors sift through content that has been flagged to point out abuse and harm to others.
“WhatsApp provides a way for people to report spam or abuse, which includes sharing the most recent messages in a chat,” a WhatsApp spokeswoman told The New York Post. “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.”