Given all the other privacy controversies rocking Facebook, it should come as no surprise that the social media giant is reading your messages, too. Facebook itself confirmed this week that it scans the contents of messages sent through the Messenger platform, looking for what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called “sensational” content.
Facebook considers the actual content of your messages private, but it does keep an eye out using automated systems to find evidence of malware or crimes like child porn.
“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,” a Facebook Messenger spokesperson said in a statement. “Facebook designed these automated tools so we can rapidly stop abusive behavior on our platform.”
Facebook also recently updated its data policy to be more clear about how it gathers information. However, it could prove extremely difficult for the company to recapture public trust following the recent wave of revelations regarding how it handles our private info. In the case of scanning your messages, Facebook was quick to point out that its practices are no different from many other popular websites. But that’s small comfort for users already worried about what Facebook’s doing with their data.