Facebook is under many criticisms regarding the security and privacy of users’ personal information. Therefore, the company, especially through its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has stated more than once that it is trying to improve the use experience in this regard. Especially within the WhatsApp application.
has stated Mark Zuckerberg in 2019 that the company is interested in making the communication experience as secure as possible, especially with features such as end-to-end encryption that WhatsApp currently supports, and the company plans to provide on Instagram and Messenger.
This feature converts messages into an encrypted image that can only be read by the recipient. Even the company itself can’t read it. WhatsApp takes great care in reminding users that it provides this feature on any possible occasion.
But it seems that the company’s claims are not true. The company employs more than a thousand employees in its offices in the United States of America, Ireland and Singapore. They are contract workers rather than formal employees.
Using a customized program from Facebook, these employees – or workers – are able to see the content of millions of messages, whether text messages, photos, or videos, specifically the content that other users have reported.
Read also: Facebook denies undermining privacy of WhatsApp users
WhatsApp users privacy
These workers make many decisions about dealing with WhatsApp users. From deception and fraud content, to sexual or terrorist content that is circulated through the application.
WhatsApp’s director of communications, Carl Woog, stated that what these workers are doing is not “content censorship” and that WhatsApp does not. In general, the company denies that WhatsApp is subject to any content censorship. Unlike Instagram and Facebook platforms.
The company employs more than 15,000 content moderators on Facebook and Instagram. She is already doing publish transparency reports Quarterly. It shows the number of accounts that have been dealt with or closed on both Instagram and Facebook. While there are no such reports for WhatsApp.
Employing an army of content moderators for an app like WhatsApp has jeopardized the privacy and security of digital users. Especially with the application’s constant claims that it is completely secure, and the situation becomes more dangerous in light of the fact that WhatsApp has more than two billion users.
WhatsApp has faced a large number of lawsuits because of what it does about users’ data and private messages. From relying on these workers to review content, to using artificial intelligence systems to extract data from users’ messages.
Read also: WhatsApp fined $267 million in Europe
And Facebook can access a large amount of data through the application. Whereas, WhatsApp allows sharing of metadata without encrypting it. It is data that reveals a lot about how the application is used and what data is shared through it.
WhatsApp helps government agencies with this data, and a group of prosecutors was able to build an integrated case against an employee in the Treasury Department, relying on this metadata. This is after this employee leaked sensitive data to BuzzFeed News.
Profit from the app
Facebook acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $22 billion. Since then, the company has been thinking about how to use the application to make profits, despite its freeness. That is why the company made its decision in 2016 to share WhatsApp user data with Facebook.
However, the company failed to do so. She stated that it is technically impossible. The company later considered showing ads via the app. However, she also backtracked.
Read also: What is the View Once feature in WhatsApp and does it preserve your privacy?
Content censorship remained the biggest and most prominent privacy problem. Dozens of people who worked in this profession within the company were interviewed.
And then it was known that they were working in simple jobs before that. Some of them were workers in some shops. Others worked in vegetable shops or small coffee shops.
The company pays them $16.5 per hour. Each employee reviews 600 pieces of content daily. While the company has refused to disclose the number of workers in this field. However, their number reaches a thousand workers, as mentioned above.
Read also: What is end-to-end encryption and why should you use it
Since the messages on the application are encrypted, artificial intelligence techniques and special software are used to determine their contents. The messages appear to the company’s employees only when the “Report” button is pressed on them.
AI systems also rely on checking other user data that is not encrypted. This constitutes a clear breach of the privacy and security of these users without a doubt. Along with key information such as language. Time zone, IP address and other data.
These workers have the ability to block accounts when they suspect them, or put them under surveillance.
Read also: What data does WhatsApp send to Facebook?