Surprise! Facebook Scans Your Private Messenger Conversations

Facebook Messenger with open padlock

If you’re worried that Facebook isn’t stripping away every last shred of your privacy, don’t be. The company has confirmed it scans the conversations you have in its Messenger private messaging platform.

Facebook Messenger with open padlock
Facebook scans your private Messenger conversations

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed your Messenger conversations aren’t as private as you might have thought when Vox’s Ezra Klein interviewed him. Zuckerberg mentioned an incident where his staff told him ethnic cleansing images from Myanmar had been blocked from a Messenger conversation.

Zuckerberg added, “In that case, our systems detect what’s going on. We stop those messages from going through.”

In other words, Facebook is scanning all of your Messenger conversations and deciding what should—or shouldn’t—get passed on to the recipient. Facebook says your Messenger conversations aren’t used in your advertising profile, but good luck getting privacy-concerned users to believe that.

This revelation follows a big publicity black eye for the social network platform. Recently, Facebook found itself on the defensive when news that Cambridge Analytica got ahold of millions of user profiles and used the data to help with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign strategy.

Facebook said it changed its policies to prevent companies from doing doing the same in the future, and will make it easier for users to see which apps have access to their profile.

How to Stop Facebook from Reading Your Messages

If you don’t like the idea of Facebook reading your Messenger conversations, the only real solution is to stop using Messenger. In fact, Apple should send Facebook a fruit basket as thanks for making its own iMessage platform’s true end-to-end encryption even more appealing.

If giving up Messenger isn’t an option for you, limit what you say in your chats and use the service as little as possible.

You can improve your overall privacy on Facebook by managing your privacy settings. The Mac Observer has several other tips for helping to keep Facebook out of your personal life.

If you want to listen to everything Zuckerberg had to say about Facebook, privacy, and Cambridge Analytica, check out the Vox interview.

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