Facebook: Continuous Reality Distortion

September 14, 2021

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated in 2019 that WhatsApp was designed as a “privacy-focused vision” for communication. WhatsApp supposedly offers end-to-end encryption. ProPublica shares that is not true in, “How Facebook Undermines Privacy Protections For Its 2 Billion WhatsApp Users.” Essentially the majority of WhatsApp messages are private, but items users flag are sifted through WhatsApp employees.

These employees monitor the flagged messages for child pornography, terroristic plots, spam, and more. This type of monitoring appears contrary to WhatsApp’s mission, but Carl Woog, the director of communications, did not regard this as content monitoring and saw it as preventing abuse.

WhatsApp reviewers sign NDAs and, if asked, say they work for Accenture. They review over 600 violation tickets a day, leaving less than a minute for each one, then they decide if they should ban the account, put the user on “watch,” or do nothing. Reviewers are required to:

“WhatsApp moderators must make subjective, sensitive and subtle judgments, interviews and documents examined by ProPublica show. They examine a wide range of categories, including “Spam Report,” “Civic Bad Actor” (political hate speech and disinformation), “Terrorism Global Credible Threat,” “CEI” (child exploitative imagery) and “CP” (child pornography). Another set of categories addresses the messaging and conduct of millions of small and large businesses that use WhatsApp to chat with customers and sell their wares. These queues have such titles as “business impersonation prevalence,” “commerce policy probable violators” and “business verification.””

Unlike Facebook’s other platforms, Facebook and Instagram, WhatsApp does not release statistics about what data it collects, because it cites that its an encryption service. Facebook also needs WhatsApp to generate a profit, because the company spent $22 billion on it in 2014. WhatsApp does share data with Facebook, despite its dedication to privacy. Facebook also faced fines for violating user privacy. WhatsApp was used to collect data on criminals and governments want backdoors to access and trace data. It is for user safety, but governments can take observation too far.

Whitney Grace, September 14, 2021


One Response to “Facebook: Continuous Reality Distortion”

  1. Facebook Targets Paginas Amarillas: Never Enough, Zuck? : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search on October 14th, 2021 5:15 am

    […] the company will track neither users’ locations nor the businesses they search for. Have we heard similar promises […]

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