WhatsApp has time and again promised its 2 billion users that the messages are end-to-end encrypted, even if one uses a multi-device. No one outside the chat, not even WhatsApp, can lead or listen to them, the messaging app has repeatedly claimed. However, a new report states that it is all a lie. The messages are not end-to-end encrypted, and parent company Facebook can view the content of messages on the platform.
In its report titled "How Facebook Undermines Privacy Protections for Its 2 Billion WhatsApp Users" ProPublica claimed that Facebook had been heavily marketing end-to-end encryption for WhatsApp since 2016, the year when the end-to-end encryption came into effect.
However, Facebook has refuted the claims of the reports saying it is based on a misunderstanding. "WhatsApp provides a way for people to report spam or abuse, including sharing the most recent messages in a chat. This feature is essential for preventing the worst abuse on the internet. We strongly disagree with the notion that accepting reports a user chooses to send us is incompatible with end-to-end encryption," WhatsApp said in a statement to Android Central.
Workers Examine User Content
ProPublica report claimed that WhatsApp has over 1,000 contract workers in Austin, Texas, Dublin, and Singapore that examine millions of user content. It said that these workers have access to special Facebook software that helps them sneak into private messages, images, and videos.
"These contractors pass judgment on whatever flashes on their screen — claims of everything from fraud or spam to child porn and potential terrorist plotting — typically in less than a minute," the report stated.
However, the report said that the chat is accessed by WhatsApp's team of content moderators that are flagged by either or the people involved in the conversation. It also noted that the messaging app only forwards the last five messages to its people after someone reports the content, which means it does not share the whole chat history.
WhatsApp India Responds
"WhatsApp provides a way for people to report spam or abuse, which includes sharing the most recent messages in a chat. This feature is important for preventing the worst abuse on the internet. We strongly disagree with the notion that accepting reports a user chooses to send us is incompatible with end-to-end encryption.
In India, in accordance with the Government's IT Rules 2021, we also publish Monthly Reports that contain details of how WhatsApp keeps users safe and prevents abuse on the platform on the basis of user-reports. WhatsApp remains deeply committed to privacy and user-safety," a WhatsApp spokesperson told The Logical Indian.