Nothing on Facebook is private – they know everything about you…
Mark Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook scans the contents of messages that people send each other on its Messenger app and goes to the extent of blocking anything that violates their community standards.
Zuckerberg confirmed the policy of scanning texts during a podcast interview with Vox’s editor at large, Ezra Klein.
Think of all the things you say under the false pretense that it’s private. The many pictures, documents and passwords you send… now imagine a Facebook geek having access to it all and deciding if it meets their ‘community standards.’
The Daily Mail reports:
The news has been met with mixed reactions on social media, with a number of users expressing concern.
Messenger says that it doesn’t use data from messages it has scanned for the purposes of advertising, according to reports in Bloomberg.
The company told the website that it uses the same tools to prevent abuse in messages that are in place across Facebook as a whole.
Messenger says that it doesn’t use data from messages it has scanned for the purposes of advertising, but that is likely to be of little comfort in the current climate, with privacy at the forefront of many Facebook user’s minds (stock image)
This will either cause one of the social network’s community operations team to manually review the content, or automated systems can also make decisions.
‘For example, on Messenger, when you send a photo, our automated systems scan it using photo matching technology to detect known child exploitation imagery or when you send a link, we scan it for malware or viruses,’ a Facebook Messenger spokeswoman said in a statement.
‘Facebook designed these automated tools so we can rapidly stop abusive behaviour on our platform.’
But that is likely to be of little comfort in the current climate, with privacy at the forefront of many Facebook user’s minds.
One Twitter user, Kevin Chastain, claims to have experienced Messenger texts being used to target advertising, tweeting: ‘So I was messaging my wife about dinner tonight mentioned a particular place on Facebook messenger and then opened up Facebook about to see an ad for that restaurant.
‘Tell me they aren’t in on every convo I have. Scary!’
Some people reacted with concern on Twitter: Was Facebook reading messages more generally? Facebook has been under scrutiny in recent weeks over how it handles users’ private data and the revelation struck a nerve. Messenger doesn’t use the data from the scanned messages for advertising, the company said, but the policy may extend beyond what Messenger users expect.
The company told Bloomberg that while Messenger conversations are private, Facebook scans them and uses the same tools to prevent abuse there that it does on the social network more generally. All content must abide by the same “community standards.” People can report posts or messages for violating those standards, which would prompt a review by the company’s “community operations” team. Automated tools can also do the work.
“For example, on Messenger, when you send a photo, our automated systems scan it using photo matching technology to detect known child exploitation imagery or when you send a link, we scan it for malware or viruses,” a Facebook Messenger spokeswoman said in a statement. “Facebook designed these automated tools so we can rapidly stop abusive behavior on our platform.”
Facebook is on the defensive after revelations that private information from about 50 million users wound up in the hands of political ad-data firm Cambridge Analytica without their consent. Zuckerberg has agreed to testify before the House next week and is holding a conference call on Wednesday afternoon to discuss changes to Facebook privacy policies. (Follow the call on the TOPLive blog.)
The company is working to make its privacy policies clearer, but still ends up with gaps between what it says users have agreed to, and what users think they actually agreed to.