AfterDawn: Tech news

Facebook admits: Yes, we read through your Messenger messages

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 05 Apr 2018 6:20 User comments (16)

Facebook admits: Yes, we read through your Messenger messages Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has admitted in an interview with VOX that company scans through all private messages people send through Facebook Messenger.
Company tells that all the private messages are being scanned by automated systems to detect contents that violate Facebook's Terms of Service. Furthermore, some of the messages detected - or reported by users to Facebook - will be read by human moderators in order to see if the message violates Facebook's TOS.

According to Facebook, the very same tools and methods are used to monitor both, public Facebook posts and seemingly private Messenger discussions.

Previous Next  

16 user comments

15.4.2018 7:34

The headline here is a bit sensationalist. Google/GMail did this for years for targetted ads, and still do to detect viruses and phishing.
Your employer probably does the same with your work email.

25.4.2018 8:47

I have always said PM's are not PRIVATE. But, the I don't have to worry as I fired Facebook and the rest of that trash years ago. I actually talk to people face to face or call the on the phone.

35.4.2018 8:51

Originally posted by ChikaraNZ:
The headline here is a bit sensationalist. Google/GMail did this for years for targetted ads, and still do to detect viruses and phishing.
Your employer probably does the same with your work email.

Messenger is not email. Although yes, anyone who thought it was actually "private" is terminally silly.

45.4.2018 14:40

I never had any idea that FB or anybody could get into our private messages or e-mails for that matter without a court order, I still think when it comes to e-mails a court order has to be issued, when it comes to messenger maybe it works differently don't know regardless this absolutely sucks, I never post anything on FB or even with messenger that might affect my private life in a negative way but still for them to have the right to surf threw our mails that's a big no no to me, if FB was and is actually doing this they can kiss my ass goodbye.

55.4.2018 15:47

Originally posted by FredBun:
I never had any idea that FB or anybody could get into our private messages or e-mails for that matter without a court order, I still think when it comes to e-mails a court order has to be issued, when it comes to messenger maybe it works differently don't know regardless this absolutely sucks, I never post anything on FB or even with messenger that might affect my private life in a negative way but still for them to have the right to surf threw our mails that's a big no no to me, if FB was and is actually doing this they can kiss my ass goodbye.

Nope. Your emails cross MANY servers in the clear, point of fact, and can be easily (and legally) read.

65.4.2018 22:33

Email, Phone, Servers, Internet, Legal or Illegal they do it which baffles me when the judicial branch keeps saying wee need more power and less need to get a judge to permit them to snoop on you, now that's Government. Private organizations can pretty much do whatever they want, at least until the nail is in the coffin and the public finds out then and only then is when they feel the consensuses of there acts.

Now using social media like Facebook is really dumb, that's my opinion, as you are just opening up yourself to all sorts of problems, information is control, power corrupts absolutely roughly quoted of course.

People don't learn and this will blow over soon and everyone will forget about it. Mark Suckerberg had the right idea only he should have stayed hidden/silent until this all blew over.

Nice to see out here again Fred it's been awhile, hope all is going well for you.

76.4.2018 3:48

Thanks for the reply appreciate it, yeah been kinda busy but not away, glad to see some of the old regulars still around always get best opinions from the old heads LOL, yes all is well so far hope the same for you, anyway good advise and still shocking how these corporations and the government get away with this crap.

86.4.2018 17:03

Yeah they do. They also delete shared links which they don't agree with... in your PMs!

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Apr 2018 @ 17:03

912.4.2018 0:13

Nothing is free, at least nothing that has to run on a server run by a for-profit company. If a service claims to be free, expect this kind of stuff. If a TOS says they can do something, expect them to do it...and the TOS will probably say they can change the TOS any time in any way...so expect them to do as much as somewhat-legally possible with anything you feed into a data collection-advertising server.

Frankly, the only thing that surprises me is that they dedicated the resources to do this. It sounds like they are not making much money by reading private messages...or at least not much more than they make from the automated readers. A concern other than money seems so out of character for Facebook.

1012.4.2018 1:38

If you don't want your communications to be intercepted by rando IT folks along the transmission chain, much less skeevy 3rd parties and/or the government, encrypt them with a decent algorithm. It really is that simple.

1114.4.2018 10:56

Originally posted by Bozobub:
encrypt them with a decent algorithm. It really is that simple.
That's a good general rule all around...although I don't know how much I would trust included encryption. FB claims that messages sent by their 'secret' mode were not read because they are end-to-end encrypted. However, that's a closed-source program so there very well could be a back door. Still, there are lots of ways of sending fully encrypted messages and files...enough of them that even if your particular method is broken it's unlikely that anyone will try that particular attack on your messages unless you are someone in politics or something like that.

1214.4.2018 11:24

It also can't be used under all applications so you're very limited when and where you use it.

1314.4.2018 12:30

Originally posted by Mr-Movies:
It also can't be used under all applications so you're very limited when and where you use it.
If an application doesn't support fully-encrypted transfers, don't use it if you care if someone reads those messages besides the intended recipient(s). Any other option is essentially not an option, if it's THAT important to THAT given data/communication. If not? Well then, remember you're at the mercy of a chain of providers you likely know little about ^^'.

1414.4.2018 12:57

The problem is you don't always have a choice. I don't use Facebook, never have, because of the serious issues behind its usage but the fact is there are things we use that you have no choice over, unless you want to move out to an isolationist remote site and not live in the real world. This is why the US should get back to our initial Privacy rights and recreate common sense rules for ALL situations to protect our privacy regardless of what some lawyers TOS may try to state.

154.5.2018 9:25

There was a company in the UK that as a joke put in that they could have your first born child. The TOS have become redundant. No one reads them, and if you don't like them, what can you do. Its agree if you want to use the service.

You should be able to show objections to TOS but still be allowed entry. The objections should go to a government regulatory body that sensor TOS and the unfair clauses that are sometimes in them.


Jonathan AJ Maydwell

1613.5.2018 22:11

Originally posted by Ripped1968:
There was a company in the UK that as a joke put in that they could have your first born child. The TOS have become redundant. No one reads them, and if you don't like them, what can you do. Its agree if you want to use the service.

You should be able to show objections to TOS but still be allowed entry. The objections should go to a government regulatory body that sensor TOS and the unfair clauses that are sometimes in them.
It isn't even just free services. Buy a program and there is a TOS...agree or don't use the software...and you can't return the software either. A while back Autodesk moved one of their programs to cloud-only, charging a monthly fee for use, and increasing processing times from a few minutes to about 20 hours. Everyone who had paid for it agreed to a TOS that basically said they could do whatever they liked...so they were left with software that was completely useless without additional fees and virtually useless even with them. John Deer will sue you if you try to repair your own tractor by bypassing their defective tire pressure sensors...because of a TOS that you don't even see until after you pay them $200K or more. Basically everyone now has a TOS that is 50 pages long...but even ignoring the basic content, they usually have a clause saying they can change the terms at any point. You might hope that this would be combated by people avoiding brands that do this...but T-Mobile did something like this years ago; they changed their TOS to say that they could turn off 80% of their towers, completely dropping service to entire regions of the country, and that by paying your bill (which you had to do because you were on contract) you agreed to this change. People still use T-Mobile, and even tech journalists don't mention this when talking about their 'new plans' that have the same clauses.

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive