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Facebook’s been spying on your Messenger chats

Facebook Messenger App

Facebook has been in turmoil for the past weeks, and it doesn’t look like the increased scrutiny on the social networking site is going to let up anytime soon. The latest shocking revelation is something which many have suspected for years namely that the firm reads your private Messenger conversations.

The road to this discovery started with an interview given by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Vox. He talked about a call he received while the Rohingya ethnic cleansing crisis was going in Myanmar. The company had detected that users were trying to send sensationalist messages through Messenger.

Zuckerberg says that Facebook then stopped those missives from going through. This naturally raised some concerns from people on sites like Twitter who began wondering if the firm was reading all messages which passed through the platform. It’s now confirmed this to Bloomberg, but added plenty of caveats.

Also Read: Facebook’s been collecting your call and text logs for years

First of all, Facebook asserts that it doesn’t use scanned messages for advertising. However, it does look through them for potential abuses of its community standard rules. This includes links and images for the most part, but could also translate to reading chats if it’s flagged down by moderators.

Facebook basically uses the same tools it uses on its main site for Messenger. As the site puts it, if you send a photo to someone, its system uses image matching tech to find out if it has anything to do with child exploitation. If you send a link, it’ll scan the URL for malware and viruses.

While this sounds acceptable on the surface, there’s no way of knowing for sure whether Facebook restricted its scrutiny to just security threats and abuse. Messenger does in fact have an end-to-end encryption option so even Facebook can’t snoop on your conversations, but it has to be activated on the user’s end.