Mark Zuckerberg Admits Facebook Scans Private Messages

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Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed Facebook check in on the messages you send to people, scanning images and links sent, while also reading messages in some circumstances.

The founder of the social networking site – in the midst of the Cambridge Analytica storm – confirmed Facebook scans images and texts to ensure they’re in line with community standards.

He made the revelation during a podcast interview with Vox’s editor at large, Ezra Klein.

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Zuckerberg recalled a time when he received a phone call from his staff at Facebook’s Mountain View firm – he was told their systems had blocked attempts to send scandalous Messenger instant messages about ethnic cleansing in Myanmar, reports the Mail Online.

Quizzed about the topic, he said:

In that case, our systems detect what’s going on.

We stop those messages from going through.

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According to Bloomberg, Messenger doesn’t use data from messages, it scans images and links to find advertising and suspected abuse. Messages are reportedly only read when they’re ‘flagged to moderators’.

A spokeswoman for Facebook Messenger clarified in a statement:

For example, on Messenger, when you send a photo, our automated systems scan it using photo matching technology to detect known child exploitation imagery or when you send a link, we scan it for malware or viruses.

Facebook designed these automated tools so we can rapidly stop abusive behaviour on our platform.

Keeping your messages private is the priority for us, we protect the community with automated systems that detect things like known images of child exploitation and malware. This is not done by humans. We do not listen to your voice and video calls.

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Things are seemingly going from worse to worse for the billionaire – last month, it was reported his net worth had dropped $5.1 billion in mere hours.

The Zuck was hit hardest by the company’s stock dropping almost seven per cent on Monday, March 19.

Zuckerberg’s net worth now stands at around $69.5 billion following the erasure of $37 billion in market value.

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In January, the Zuck was reported to have lost $3.3 billion thanks to changes to how Facebook operates.

He explained:

We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us.

But recently we’ve gotten feedback that public content – posts from businesses, brands and media – is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

Based on this I’m changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

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Facebook is said to be facing a phenomenon known as ‘context collapse’ which basically means, as users share less about themselves online, the data Facebook sells to advertisers becomes less valuable.

By encouraging people to once again share personal information on the site they may be able to increase Facebook’s commercial value.