Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp touts privacy as its core feature.
Facebook-owned WhatsApp, a messaging service used by billions of people around the world, isn’t as private as Facebook says it is.
The service touts privacy at its core, and Facebook says it can’t read messages sent between users. But Facebook is reportedly paying teams of contractors around the world to read through WhatsApp messages and moderate the content therein – reading and moderating their supposedly private messages.
As a new ProPublica investigation highlights, Facebook employs, “more than 1,000 contract workers filling floors of office buildings in Austin, Texas, Dublin and Singapore, where they examine millions of pieces of users’ content.”
Those contractors, which Facebook acknowledges, reportedly spend their days sifting through content that WhatsApp users and the service’s own algorithms flag.
A Facebook representative told Insider that it allows users to report abuse, and those reports are then reviewed by contractors. When a user reports abuse, WhatsApp moderators are sent “the most recent messages sent to you by the reported user or group,” according to WhatsApp’s FAQ .
Facebook is still unable to listen to personal calls or read messages sent through WhatsApp, according to Facebook, due to the service’s use of encryption.