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Is Facebook Censoring Private Messages? – Security Measures

Facebook

In the tech-savvy age we live in, whispers have emerged about Facebook possibly peeking into our private messages. It’s a concern that has many users on edge. Is our personal space being invaded, or is there a misunderstood rationale behind it?

This piece aims to shed light on the matter, offering a balanced perspective. Curious about the truth behind these claims? Let’s journey through the facts together.

Does Facebook Censor Messages?

Vox published an interview with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on April 2nd, 2018. During this, he revealed that Facebook does monitor messages.

Facebook Messenger’s automated systems scan your private messages for any sign of child pornography or malware-infected links.

Zuckerberg claimed that the company does this to identify and stop abusive behavior where possible. 

Users can also report any messages which violate community guidelines. After which, the company’s moderators review content that users flag.

They take it down when they confirm any content has violated community standards.

Are Facebook Messages Monitored?

Facebook

After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook users panicked. Eventually, they demanded answers. In an interview a few weeks later, Zuckerberg confirmed that their A.I. systems monitor and scan Facebook messages to detect dangerous or abusive content. 

He also said that when you send a photo on Messenger, their automated systems scan it. They use photo-matching technology to try to detect known child exploitation imagery. Similarly, when you send a link, they scan it for malware or viruses.

This statement seems to imply that although Facebook scans our messages, human moderators are not the ones monitoring them. 

In another interview, Mark Zuckerberg also recalled a phone call he once got. Facebook had detected that people were trying to spread sensational messages through Messenger to each side of the conflict.

Perhaps this contributed to the escalation of violence. The corporation acknowledges that content analysis is a component of its strategy to combat abuse and identify questionable activity.

There could be no more apparent admission that Facebook monitors messages. They claimed it was only to prevent warring factions from breaking out in violence – a noble reason.

However, people still question Facebook’s concerns, considering its worldwide power – are they genuine?

The interview occurred a few weeks after Facebook came under fire for being at the center of a scandal involving Cambridge Analytica (C.A.), a British consulting firm.

The scandal involved C.A. collecting personal data belonging to about 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

Cambridge Analytica

The company had locations in London, New York, and Washington, DC. The company originated in 2013 as a breakaway branch of the private spy agency SCL.

On blended data mining, analysis, brokerage, and strategic communication as a political consulting firm.

These were its tactics of choice to control elections. The parent company has been using similar tactics since the 1990s.

However, while the parent company focused on manipulating developing countries, C.A. worked on Western countries such as the USA and U.K.

The Privacy Infringement Issue

In March 2018, an app used a personality quiz to collect personal information from 270,000 willing participants.

The app “This Is Your Life” used the data it obtained to build a psychological profile for the users.

They intended to use the data for academic purposes. At least, that was what they claimed.

Using Facebook’s Open Graphs platform, the app also collected the personal data of the Facebook friends of the initial users. The friends of the users did not consent to this.

Using the data they had illegally obtained, C.A. then targeted the users with bespoke political ads based on the psych profiles they had built.

The real issue is that Facebook allowed them to overstep the boundaries of users’ consent.

Facebook managed to avoid severe backlash when the public discovered what had happened. They claimed that C.A. violated their data agreements. Within a few months, the company and its parent filed for insolvency.

Does Facebook Read Your Private Messages?

Facebook

According to former Facebook moderators, they can view your messages if they want to. Their immense workload is the only thing stopping the human moderators from spending their office hours scrolling through the endless tomes of messages sent on their platform.

However, the moderators can and do view and review messages that users report to confirm whether or not they violate community guidelines.

They also spend their days reviewing hours and hours of content. The company’s A.I. systems also scan your messages for certain illegal content.

Facebook does not take action on irrelevant messages like mild personal experiences. Their systems target extreme stuff like child sexual exploitation and attempts at stirring up violence. 

A Facebook envoy has stated that the company values your privacy. They emphasized the significance of maintaining the confidentiality of your conversations.

The group aims to protect the public using A.I. algorithms that can spot exploitative content and hazardous malware.

Humans don’t act in this way. They won’t even listen to your voice or view your video calls. They don’t listen in on your phone calls, either.

Is Messenger Safe for Private Conversation?

It would be unwise for you to trust Facebook with your confidential conversations. They emphasized the significance of maintaining the privacy of your conversations.

The group aims to protect the public using A.I. algorithms that can spot exploitative content and hazardous malware.

Humans don’t act in this way. They won’t even listen to your voice or view your video calls. They don’t listen in on your phone calls, either.

Unlike ordinary Messenger chats, secret discussions use end-to-end encryption to protect your discussions from all third parties. Your Private Messenger conversations disappear from all devices after you sign in.

Data from Secret Conversations are kept confidential on every gadget you use.

You may recover all your conversations and photos if someone hacks Facebook’s servers or your accountThis occurs because Facebook stores your chats word for word on their servers.

So, if Facebook wanted to, they could go through all your discussions or turn them over to law enforcement or the government.

Facebook admits that its bots scan through Messenger chats looking for explicit content. They say they do this to identify and prevent abuse and violence from breaking out. In his interview with Vox, Mark Zuckerberg cited the ethnic cleansing crisis in Myanmar as an example of when Facebook intervenes by censoring messages.

How to Open Secret Conversations on Messenger

 Facebook

There are two methods to switch to secret chats on Facebook Messenger. Either you:

  • Open Facebook Messenger on the app or your browser.
  • start a new conversation by clicking the pencil icon in the top right corner.
  • After that, ensure the lock symbol in the top right of the New Message screen is active. The difference between when it was on and off should be noticeable.
  • Lastly, select the user you want to have a secret chat with. You can now chat in peace without worrying that anyone else might be reading your messages.

Alternatively, you can decide to:

  1. Open Messenger, either on the app or on your browser.
  2. Secondly, open the chat with the person you want to begin a secret discussion with.
  3. Next, tap on their name or profile picture to bring up their list of options.
  4. Search for and select “Go to Secret Conversation.” It’s the option with a padlock icon beside it.
  5. Begin your chat in private.

Conclusion

In summary, many people have reason to distrust Facebook and its approach to their users’ privacy. The tech titan admits to scanning through the messages sent on Messenger and censoring some as they see fit. 

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