WhatsApp Moderators Can View Users’ Private Messages

WhatsApp has the hidden ability to read user messages – the company uses this system to handle complaints. In fact, more than a thousand moderators view users’ personal correspondence.

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What is the problem?

The WhatsApp messenger uses special moderators to check messages that users have complained about. To enable them to do this, the company refuses end-to-end encryption, allowing an outsider to read part of the correspondence. This is reported in an investigation by the non-profit organization ProPublica.

The article says that WhatsApp, despite assurances that a third party can’t participate in the correspondence, can read the messages of its users.

WhatsApp security problem

For this, the company uses the services of Accenture and over a thousand moderators who regularly check complaints from users. In addition, employees use a particular Facebook program that allows scanning of messages, images, and videos that users of the messenger have complained about.

Moderators review such appeals from users and make a decision. On average, they spend less than a minute per issue. Typically, the content is evaluated for the presence of spam, signs of fraud, calls to terrorism, and child porn.

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How the tech bug works

After clicking the “Complain” button, a different algorithm starts working, according to which specific messages will be made available to moderators. As a result, it is the user who files a complaint who actually violates the privacy of correspondence and not the service itself.

WhatsApp assures privacy

Karl Vug, WhatsApp Communications director, has confirmed that contractors are working to check messages. However, according to him, the company does not consider these employees moderators. 

We usually do not use this term concerning WhatsApp,”Vug stressed.

Facebook is quite openly talking about the moderation of content on other company platforms – the social network of the same name and Instagram. According to the tech giant, about 15,000 moderators have been hired for these purposes. 

Facebook privacy rules

At the same time, there is no encryption in the personal messages of these services. A similar content verification system in WhatsApp has never been publicly mentioned.

However, it is worth remembering that back in March 2019, the head of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, introduced a new approach to privacy. For example, he has cited WhatsApp messenger and its central feature – end-to-end encryption – which turns messages into an unreadable format that can only be viewed by their intended recipients.

Did you hear about Facebook’s data leakage? Find out all details in the article.

As Zuckerberg assured at the time, no one else could read them, not even the company itself. However, all these assurances do not quite correspond to reality, according to new material ProPublica uncovered through its investigative journalism.

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