Senator Slams Facebook’s “Private” Encrypted Messaging

Though Facebook has pledged to begin “pivoting” to stronger privacy practices this year, many prominent critics have raised doubts about how, exactly, that will happen. One of these skeptics, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, wrote a letter to Facebook earlier this month pressing the social media giant for details about how the platform will collect metadata from privatized and encrypted messages. The company responded to Hawley this week with a letter of its own, but the senator was not pleased with its answers — to say the least.

In its letter, Facebook said that there are still “many open questions” about what metadata the company will keep, and also said that this collection is actually a good thing, because it allows Facebook to reduce spam and cooperate with law enforcement. However, Hawley was not impressed by the company’s argument.

“My advice to consumers is simple,” he said. “When Facebook tells you its messaging services are private, you can’t trust them.”

“I am frankly shocked by Facebook’s response,” Hawley continued. “I thought they’d swear off the creepier possibilities I raised. But instead, they doubled down.”

For a long time, Facebook has been able to get away with making vague promises to improve its privacy. But it’s becoming clear that the company has to actually follow through, or face public consequences.

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