WhatsApp ultimately doesn’t seem like the impenetrable private messaging service Facebook likes to claim. According to ProPublica, WhatsApp moderators can read some of your messages when someone reports to you.
WhatsApp, an application not so impenetrable and respectful of confidentiality? According to a report provided by ProPublica, the messaging app may read some of your messages in case the recipient points them out.
News that once again leads to a lot of confusion on what the company means when it talks about “end-to-end encryption”. A phrase which means, by definition, that only the recipient and the sender have digital tokens that allow a message to become readable.
WhatsApp moderators have access to some of your messages
In its report, ProPublica notes than at least 1,000 moderators employed by Facebook’s moderation contract company, Accenture, review content reported by users (or by its machine learning system). They monitor spam, disinformation, hate speech, potential terrorist threats, child pornography material (CSAM) or “sex businesses”.
Depending on the content, moderators can close the WhatsApp account or put the user under surveillance. A slight difference from Facebook and Instagram, which allow moderators to delete individual posts if something goes wrong.
See also: WhatsApp will stop working on many smartphones in November
While moderating such violent content is a good thing, a handful of WhatsApp moderators told ProPublica that the app’s AI is sending them a disproportionate number of harmless messages, like children in bathtubs. Once the reported content reaches them, ProPublica indicates that moderators can see the last five posts of a thread. This is where the shoe pinches.
WhatsApp specifies, in its T & Cs, that moderators receive ” the most recent messages ” and ” information about your recent interactions with the reported user When an account is flagged. This does not specify that this information, visible to moderators, could include phone numbers, profile photos, linked Facebook and Instagram accounts or their IP addresses, ProPublica says.