A developer made big waves this week when he claimed on a Hacker News message board that a third party is scanning private Facebook messages for information. The company, online risk assessment firm Recorded Future, also has financial ties to the CIA’s investment arm. However, both Facebook and the company have denied snooping on messages.
The developer said he tested his claim by posting a link to an unreleased app inside of a private Facebook message and then monitoring who opened the link. First Facebook’s own IP address looked into it, though this is not unusual. However, several minutes after that, he claimed that Recorded Future checked out the link as well.
Though the developer may not be lying, it does seem like he got the exact details of his story mixed up. Both Facebook and Recorded Future have flatly denied his accusation, and Facebook said that it has no relationship with Recorded Future at all.
“Our systems followed this URL after it was posted on a public site. Our system constantly explores links published on the web,” Recorded Future told Business Insider. “We’ve checked our logs and confirmed that this is what happened in this specific case. It’s not related to any Facebook chat messages containing this link. Our system doesn’t access that information.”
Even though it seems this would-be whistleblower was mistaken, it goes to show just how little some users trust Facebook that they were so quick to believe him.
The moral of this story is that Facebook Messenger should not be considered a secure platform and should not be used to send confidential or private information.