During the interview, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg told a story about how he was notified about ethnic cleansing taking place in Myanmar, which was picked up after the messages were sent through its Messenger platform. According to Zuckerberg, “In that case, our systems detect what’s going on. We stop those messages from going through.”
While we can see Facebook’s point of view, it has raised many an eyebrow especially in this particular period in time where the company is under intense scrutiny about how it treats the privacy of its users. Facebook has since defended their practices in a statement made to Bloomberg, where they claim that this scanning technology is used to prevent abusive behavior, such as the sharing of child pornography.
In a statement made by a Facebook Messenger spokeswoman, “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 behavior on our platform.”
Earlier Facebook found themselves in legal trouble after it was revealed that they had collected users’ call and message logs on Android devices, so as you can imagine, this revelation is probably not going down well with users.