If You Use Facebook Messenger For Sexy Chats, Be Worried

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Facebook has confirmed that it actively scans conversations that people have on its Messenger app to ensure that the images and links shared are meeting its “community standards”. Say what?

It really is two steps forward and one step back for Facebook. After being smashed over the Cambridge Analytica affair - which we now know impacted almost 90 million people and not the mere 50 million first thought - it's been revealed, and confirmed by Facebook, that user conversations in Messenger might not be as private we all thought.

Cambridge Analytica Scandal: This Time, Facebook Really Screwed Up

'.It's becoming increasingly clear that Facebook has never faced a scandal like the one it's currently fighting through. Revelations over the weekend about its reckless sharing of user data sent its stock price plunging on Monday, and fresh calls for regulations on the social media network are looking more real than ever..'

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Having become a ubiquitous communications action service, Messenger is widely used by lots of people and businesses. But many probably aren't explicitly aware that Facebook uses automated tools to scan messages for anything that breaches the social media company's community standards.

And while the data gleaned from that scanning isn't used for advertising, there are occasions where messages are blocked or, if they are flagged by automated systems, checked by humans to see if they are in violation of community guidelines.

But when it comes to sharing intimate moments over Messenger, the guidelines aren't exactly helpful.

Facebook's Community Standards regarding nudity say "We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks".

And "Explicit images of sexual intercourse are prohibited. Descriptions of sexual acts that go into vivid detail may also be removed".

But, while that's clear in public feeds and groups, it's less clear if that applies to private chats.

Unlike other messaging services such as iMessage, Signal and WhatsApp, Messenger doesn't encrypt messages by default. But you can enable encryption though a feature called "Secret Conversations". But, while they are end-to-end encrypted, you need to make the conversations Secret after that is enabled. In other words, it's not quite as easy or seamless to maintain a higher level of privacy as other services.

TLDR; Unless you've been using Messenger's Secret Conversations feature, your messages aren't as private as you thought. So, those intimate images and messages you may have sent might be in the hands of the censors at Facebook if their systems have flagged them.


Comments

    Should we be worried about other tech giants like Google, Amazon, etc.?

    During the whole recent Facebook debacle I haven't really seen any articles indicating that data collection privacy issues are widespread amongst the other tech companies, but surely this problem could be more widespread than just Facebook?

      Short answer - Yes. We should be concerned about any entity holding personal data

        My friend tapes up the camera on their phone. Another the camera on their laptop. If the NSA wants to watch me naked, more power to them.

        Having said that, the way FB and others handle user's data is insane, and is only going to get worse as an overall problem. If Cambridge Analytica should teach us anything, it's that flybuys was just the beginning. Social engineering is real, and will bite us hard.

          If your friend tapes thr cameras, might as well plug 'em mics too...

          Unless you're paying for a subscription to email, ie: G Suite, Office 365, etc..., you're lightly to be data mined.

          Even then, what's there to say you're not being profiled by your bank, ISP, closed-sourced OS', etc...

          It's somewhat mind boggling...

            True. Even the microwaves can spy on us apparently...

    Can’t blame fb for metadata sales, every time u sign up to membership of shop, gyms, access an app or hotel accom, flights n credit /debit cards etc u sign away ur private info. Gr8 distraction but ppl Nd to get real. F u want to blame anyone, blame the internet. If u want to whinge, make it real n about kids n access to porn or the cost of living or racism!

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