Facebook confirms it scans your conversations in its Messenger app

  • Facebook confirmed that it scans conversations that people have on its Messenger app in order to ensure that the images and links are meeting its “community standards,” Bloomberg reports.
  • The topic first drew scrutiny following an interview with Mark Zuckerberg in Vox, where the Facebook CEO told a story about a call he got regarding people who “were trying to spread sensational messages” about Myanmar through Facebook Messenger.

Facebook confirmed on Wednesday that it scans users’ conversations on its Messenger app in order to ensure that the content is meeting “community standards,” according to a recent report by Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier.

The confirmation from Facebook comes a week after the topic first drew scrutiny from privacy activists following CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s interview with Vox’s Ezra Klein, where he described a situation in which the company intervened to prevent abuse on one of its platforms, Facebook Messenger.

“I remember, one Saturday morning I got a phone call and we detected that people were trying to spread sensational messages through [Facebook Messenger] to each side of the conflict,” Zuckerberg said in response to a question by Klein about Facebook’s alleged role in spreading propaganda during the Rohingya crisis, the “conflict” he was referring to.

Since August 2017, Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee Buddhist-dominated Myanmar because of ethnic cleansing effortsby Myanmar security forces, in what the UN has described as having all the “hallmarks of genocide.” Human rights experts for the U.N. have cited hate speech on Facebook as a means by which people have proliferated anti-Rohingya propaganda, worsening the divide between the two religious groups.

 

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