Facebook and privacy are new water and oil. Regardless of how much the company says they will do better on the privacy front, the last two years have just proved that privacy is not a core concern for the social media giant.
Most recently, Bloomberg has reported that the company paid contractors to transcribe users’ audio chats. The contract workers reportedly had no idea where the audios were from or how they were obtained. According to Bloomberg the workers are “rattled” which doesn’t come as a surprise when you consider these are private and intimate conversations.
Facebook confirmed that they had been doing so and said they would no longer do it:
Much like Apple and Google, we paused human review of audio more than a week agoFacebook
I’m not sure if likening this to Apple and Google is exactly the same. Those two were gathering information from Siri and Google Assistant, not private conversations. That’s not to say what Google and Apple did wasn’t bad but it seems Facebook believes they are no different from those two and therefore that’s alright.
These questionable practices leave me wondering just how private WhatsApp conversations will remain as Facebook further integrates the chat application with Instagram and Facebook as part of Facebook Portal.
With advertising coming to WhatsApp status next year, there will obviously be tracking of adverts within the application – lowering privacy within the app. It’s not yet clear how deep the integration will be or what exactly it will allow Facebook to access but I wouldn’t put it beyond Facebook to go and do something that’s not in the best interests of our privacy.